Does this scenario ring a bell?
You have been working closely with a prospect for longer than normal. They are engaged, interested, and yet always have a reason as to why they cannot proceed. You hold on because of their initial enthusiasm, but as time elapses, you find your emails and calls are answered less and less. Then flatline…
Of course, this can happen despite even the top salesperson’s best efforts, but it happens much less to those who are skilled at urgency creation. Here are some tips for you to try yourself:
1. Problem and need payoff
Applying undue pressure to your prospect is likely to reduce your credibility and the customer experience. But by asking certain questions, we can guide urgency rather than force it.
Try to develop some questions which uncover your prospect’s organizational problems while also provoking them to provide you lots of information that you can leverage in future questions or propositions.
Once you have the problem, you can target this with questions about how those problems can be alleviated. How can your product or service help?
If you have made it to the later stages with a prospect, it shows they see value in your product. But at this stage, does the customer feel they are getting more value than they are paying for? If you feel them slipping away, perhaps not…
How can you inject more value into your offering without sacrificing on cost?
What information do you have that can reinforce the gravity of their problem and the impact your solution can deliver?
Are there any additional features you can incorporate in your proposal?
3. Get to the root of the delay, bridge the gap
“I love it, but I have to talk to X first.”
“It’s _____ season, so we have been too busy to get together and discuss.”
“I am about to board a flight, lets talk in three weeks.”
So often in sales, we are waiting for that internal discussion, the committee meeting, the boss getting time to review. By the time this happens, we could have lost their attention, or your champion might have lost everyone else’s. That is why it is so important to do your research and discover who the key decision makers are, be sure to engage with as many as possible to build value, gain more insight into why a delay might be happening and to ensure the discussion about your product is prioritized in that meeting.
If you are finding it hard to schedule a conversation or if your efforts are going unanswered, do not be afraid to put something in their calendar or try sending an email to the group.
4. Pricing Strategies
If your product is such that you have the autonomy to tailor pricing, an effective technique could be to set a time-sensitive pricing deadline.
“Our standard pricing is X, but if you were able to come back to me by the end of the week/ month, I would be able to offer Y.”
If the customer really is engaged, those discounts might just tip the scales.
5. Close the sale
A no brainer, right? But over 40% of salespeople find this part the most challenging.
There is no shame in asking for the sale.
Be persistent, not pushy. Respect their time but respect your own too, set out the expectation of the next meeting, if your intention is to close the sale, then make that clear.
What objections do you typically receive on these calls? Prepare some answers in advance.
Hit that target.
Summing it up
Our advice, take a couple of hours out of your week to apply some thought to the strategies and questions that you could deploy to best drive success in these five areas, use your understanding of your product and ideal customer.
Think about the best way to order your questions so as to guide a customer through the narrative of the problem and highlight the value of your solution, and be sure to do so with as many individuals as you can.
Agnes Lan, P.Eng., MBA
VP, Business Development at Change Connect
Described as influential and inspirational by her clients and peers, Agnes Lan helps organizations grow through change. She has a knack for breaking down complex strategies into tangible business tactics. Leading the way in Sales Transformation for SMBs and Enterprises alike.
Agnes has considerable experience on the assessment, strategy, design and implementation of business transformations in various industries with a focus on Sales - customer focused business strategies, organization design, sales efficiency and transformation. Agnes has consulted for clients in Broadcast and Media, Advertising and Marketing, Distribution and Warehousing, Education, Manufacturing, Professional Services and Construction.
With degrees from the University of Toronto, Indiana University Kelley School of Business, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and Harvard Business School, her passion for learning contributes to numerous professional designations as a Professional Engineer, Lean Black Belt Professional and ADKAR Change Management Practitioner.