It's not enough to have your prospects want to buy from you. They also have to want to buy from you now.
Anyone who's ever gone through any sort of sales training as been told they need to create urgency. They need to create a reason to buy now. It's something many people who need to sell don't do very well (or at all). And that costs your business a lot of sales.
Let's take a look at a few different ways you can create urgency for your prospects.
The two kinds of urgency
First, we need to recognize there are two types of urgency:
- Natural urgency
- Manufactured urgency
What are you doing to get your prospects to buy now?
Natural urgency is something that is an intrinsic characteristic of what you're selling, or of the buyer. I prefer to use this type of urgency when selling because it's unlikely to be perceived as a high-pressure sales tactic.
There are 3 basic types of natural urgency you can use when making a sale.
- A deadline
- Limited quantity
- Cost of inaction
A deadline creates urgency because a prospect has to act by a certain time or miss out. Examples of natural urgency based on a deadline include:
- An event that takes place on a certain day.
- Something (like a class or a trip) that starts on a certain day and requires people be there from the beginning.
- Outside deadlines that are relevant to what you are selling (tax filing deadlines, the end of a reporting period (like Dec 31), a holiday, etc.)
A limited quantity creates urgency because when they're gone, they're gone. And if a prospect wants it, they need to act before someone else does. Examples of natural urgency based on limited quantities include:
- Capacity limitation (fixed number of seats, largest number of people who can fit in a venue, limited ability to serve within available time)
- Limited number of units. You have only so many of X, so can't sell more than that.
The last type of natural urgency is the cost of inaction. This is the most complicated, and also the most powerful. Simply put, the cost of inaction is the price a prospect pays for not purchasing. Examples include:
- Continuing to incur actual monetary costs that would stop once they started working with you. This would be used if your product or service will save the prospect money.
- Continuing to suffer from an undesirable condition (pain, anxiety, stress, overwork, etc)
- Not completing a goal or staying stuck where they are
Manufactured urgency is trickier to use. Often, people earn the reputation of "high-pressure" or "sleazy" because of their ham-fisted attempts to use this type of urgency.
To be clear, manufactured urgency isn't bad. But it has the potential to be bad if poorly implemented.
Manufactured urgency is almost always based on deadlines. Manufactured urgency deadlines are different from natural urgency deadlines in one respect. Natural urgency deadlines are real (the ship sails Monday at noon). Manufactured urgency deadlines are arbitrary (early registration pricing ends Friday).
Some examples of manufactured urgency include:
- Early or fast-action discounts (early registration pricing, discounted price expires at midnight, etc)
- Pre-order discounts
- Buy by deadline to get some extra deliverable or benefit
- Offer expiration date
How to use urgency in your business
You must have something in your offer to create urgency. I recommend you have 2 to 3 different things.
What should they be?
The cost of inaction should always be the first urgency-inducing item you include.
After that, it depends on the specifics of what you're selling. If there are natural deadlines or quantity limits, then use them. If not, then move on to manufactured urgency.
Use extra deliverables or benefits to induce quick purchase first, then discounts. Use that order because why give away revenue if you don't have to.
I recommend using an offer expiration only if you can also provide a reasonable justification for why it will expire. An expiring offer with no plausible reason (esp. if the expiration is quick) will be seen as a high-pressure sales tactic.
So, how will you create urgency around your offers? Let me know in the comments.