From an e-mail sent to the Rock Content sales team on August 9, 2017.
This month we are all working on estabilishing and maintaining urgency with every client we are looking to sign. Urgency begins from the very first interaction (Connect) and is carried all the way through Kickoff and on each subsequent communication. thereafter. Once we have identified that our patient (the business) is not healthy and is a good fit to improve with the remedy we are recommending it is, our duty to urge the parents (the decision makers for the business) to move quickly to get their kid well again.
If you fail at creating urgency throughout your sales process you risk:
– Losing potential good fit clients for not drawing their attention to the gravity of situation they are in.
– Losing the attention of good fit clients who are aware of the gravity of the situation, but go back to living with the problem as they already have been for some time.
– Sending a short-term, low-value message based on superficial benefits and price rather than real value. This not only hurts our brand, but also the long-term value message we need to keep clients engaged in the work we do together, long after signing. (Remember we do not have a quick fix solution and clients need to be bought in for the long-term value we deliver. Value has a grater life expectancy than price.)
– Signing most of your clients at the end of a month or quarter with push rather than pull tactics which is not only stressfull for both you and the client, but also puts a strain on the implentation team with clients coming in bunches rather than a consistent, steady flow.
Creating Urgency Throughout Your Sales Process
1. Understand the Problem with TODAY. Why can the prospective client not simply continue running the business exactly the same way? What is the loss the business will incurr if things continue as is? What is the personal discomfort that individual will feel if the situation does not improve? (People will not see value in a solution or have the will to change for our reasons. You must do your job and understand the reasoning important to them, both professionally and personally.)
2. Express DEEP CONCERN over the problem and the consequences of not fixing the situation. Again, if the problem is ocurring today they should be motivated to solve it immediately. Nobody wants to let their kid stay sick for even one more day. Your responsibility as a trusted advisor is to care about helping them. Help them help themselves. Is it forward and assertive? Yes!!! Would you want a doctor who is not forward and assertive and deeply concerned about helping your kid get well?
3. Maintain the tone of this urgency, specifically the loss being incurred by the business and potential future loss to them persoanlly each day they continue to live with the problem. People can easily slip back into their daily routines of living with a problem a forgetting the importance of what prompted them to start a conversation with us. It is our responsibility to remind, reenforce and reconfirm the priority of changing the status quo. Remember, we do not focus on the future dream of the post-change world but rather the current reality of the prospective client’s world as it is now and why it needs to improve.
4. Remind and reconfirm the client of consequences of not changing discovered on the assessment call. Every day there is a delay, we get closer to the consequence. Every day, the probability of the consequences becoming reality increases a little more. The situation worsens and success becomes more distant.
In the face of this urgency, you will still encounter discomfort with potential clients uneasy about the idea of accepting change. This is natural and it is your job to understand not just the nuts and bolts of a business decsion (process), but also the emotional stress (people) tied into a import decison like the one we are recommending. Remember our Objection Handling Process. Repeat their objection to let them know you have heard them and empathize. Slow things down. ”It’s ok to feel uncomfortable making this decision, but would you rather make the uncomfortable decision you believe is right or the temporarily-easier decision to stay unchanged, though you’ve rationally detirmined that the status quo is hurting your business?”
Creating urgency throughout your sales process is incumbent on you, the consultant. It would be unethical of you to know the dangers of a client’s situation and not shine an unfiltered light on it. And keep the light there. The realization that a client had which caused them to take the first steps in solving a problem or implementing a change can dim quickly. Keep that intial thought buring bright throughout your process.