These days you can’t afford to have your salespeople let too many prospects slip away. One key to reducing the number of missed deals is to train your sales reps how to build a sense of urgency for the customer to buy today. The trick is to do so without resorting to high-pressure tactics that will only alienate your prospects.
In How to Deal With Difficult Customers, sales trainer Dave Anderson suggests teaching your salespeople the following tactics to create a sense of urgency:
- Take the fear out of buying now: A prospect may be reluctant to make a purchase because he’s afraid of making a mistake. Yet he likely won’t admit to that without prompting. Unless you identify his fears and meet them head-on, they’ll fester until he backs off from a deal. To uncover his fears in a diplomatic manner, use a question such as, “Is there any additional information you need, or anything you need clarified, before we move forward?” Another effective tactic is to say, “Part of my job is to help you make the best decision so you avoid making a mistake. Do you have any concerns that we should address now before moving forward?”
- Don’t wait until you’re trying to close the deal to create a sense of urgency: By then, you’ll sound desperate and insincere. Instead, build credibility about the need to buy now by planting seeds of urgency early on, then reinforcing them throughout the sale process.
- Believe that the customer will buy today: Your own expectations will show up in your words, deeds and attitude towards the customer’s purchase. Many salespeople avoid the pain of rejection by quickly agreeing with the customer’s excuses, such as “I think I should wait for a better time” or “I’ve just started looking.” But these statements are a natural defence mechanism, not a sign that she isn’t interested in what you’re selling. Remember that every time you’re in front of a customer, a sale is made. Either you’ll sell the prospect on why it makes sense to move forward with the purchase now, or she’ll sell you on the fact that she’s still just looking.
- Use “similar situation” stories to show how others have benefited from acting now: Create a mental picture for your prospects of other people who have faced the same choice they’re now facing. Use these stories to make it clear to your prospect what these other people gained—or avoided losing—by opting to go ahead with a purchase.
- Focus on the cost of doing nothing: Redirect the prospect’s attention from the cost of moving forward to the multiple costs of procrastinating. These might include that prices will go up, the value of his trade-in will go down, the model he wants will no longer be available, he’ll fail to drive traffic to his business or he’ll lose out on the best days or time slots. But don’t unload all these points at once; instead, sprinkle them throughout the process.