How do you create urgency?

June 6, 2012

I’ve been in several conversations with clients and other business owners of late all surrounding the issue of creating urgency in potential buyers.

You’ve probably found yourself in the same situation. You know your product or service has incredible value but no one seems in a big hurry to buy it.

How do you move someone from “that might be nice” to “I need to have it now?”  Especially if you don’t consider yourself a sales person.

The canned sales training answer to this question would be to create an artificial incentive or fear that can be relieved by making a purchase.  These might include:

Limited quantity — Hurry, because we only have 20 of these left in the warehouse and once they’re gone…. they’re gone!

Limited time — These grand opening prices will never be seen again so get in here before Sunday or say goodbye to these incredible savings!

The bonus — If you buy the cookware set today, you’ll also get the matching knife set and a year’s subscription to Foodies Magazine.

Each of those techniques can and does work.  But…you have to be careful.  Your customers and prospects are:

  • Pretty jaded
  • Pretty smart
  • Pretty onto the tricks

If the limited quantity, time or bonus items are legit — then give it a whirl.  But recognize that your audience is still going to smell promotional trickery, even if it isn’t there.  (Remember, pretty jaded).

If people just aren’t buying as quickly — maybe you’re talking about the wrong things.  Are you still talking features rather than benefits?  Or have you dug deeply enough to get at the real “why they’d buy?”

I think in many cases…we get a little lazy here.  We think that people want to come to a home show because they like looking at new ideas for re-decorating their home.  But if you dig a little deeper and push through another couple “whys” you might take this path:

  • I’m thinking about going to the home show because it’s fun to get re-decorating ideas.
  • I’ve been in my house for 10+ years now and things are feeling boring/stale.
  • We can’t afford to move to something newer/bigger because we’re upside down on our mortgage.
  • I feel stuck in our house and it’s making me notice everything that’s wrong, dated and old about it.
  • By investing in some paint and elbow grease, my old house will feel new again and I’ll  fall back in love with living there.  I’ll go from feeling like I have no choice to being happier with the choice I do have.

This is a simplistic example…but you can see I drilled down about 4 “why” levels to get to a very human truth. If I were writing ad copy or blog posts about the home show — rather than just pointing out all the booths that were touting re-decorating ideas, I’d focus on the idea that everyone’s home could use a little help here and there…and the result is that you’ll fall back in love with your home.

My point — before you create an urgency gimmick, drill down a few more ‘why” layers and see if you can find a human truth that will serve as a much better urgency creator.


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