Urgency + Impending Events: A salesperson’s best friends
Creating your own timeline
My first sales manager was a fanatic on impending events. What is the impending event?
of an event regarded as threatening or significant) about to happen; forthcoming.(dictionary.com)
Why is the prospect going to buy at this time? What is the compelling need or reason for the purchase? If you don’t have the answer to this question for each and every deal, you are mainlining hope and dreams. And your forecasting will be faulty at best.
So, what are impending events? They can be a variety of items:
- Deadline for project start
- End of budget period
- Compliance/reporting requirement
- CEO initiative deadline
- Grant funds required usage date
- Audit deadline
- Etc., etc.
Now this list is coming from my SaaS enterprise app perspective, but in your industry, or product type, there may be some other event that is creating pressure and establishing that required date or line in the sand. Knowing this gives you leverage, and also helps you build your BANT and sequence of events.
But what happens if there is no impending event? No impetus to buy? You have two options:
- Shout “Next” and move on. What you are selling is a nice to have and will not be a focus or priority.
- Create your own impending event.
As salespeople, we have a variety of tools available to us to build our own line in the sand and introduce a sense of urgency. That we help create to control the deal and close on our timeline. Here are some ways to build that impending event for your prospect or strengthen one that already exists.
- Find one. If you have a specialized offering, or one that targets regulated or high visibility problems (for me its cyber security), be an expert in your field and understand the market and requirements for your prospects. Is there a new regulation coming down the line? Do you have something that will simplify life for your prospect’s organization in the coming year? Are you seeing things that other prospects and customers are focusing on that your prospect is not? Find that nugget and share. “Many of my customers are buying now to get ahead of the new regulation. What is your plan?” Ask thought provoking questions that create that sense of urgency and a new impending event.
- Get others to work for you. If your product can span departments and use cases in your target organization, create the “gotta get onboard” scenario. “I have several other departments with interest that are moving down the track. It would be pretty easy to get you onboard now, so we only have to go through the legal and procurement headache once.” Have them talk internally and leverage some peer pressure to stir the pot and create some sense of urgency.
- Create one. We always have an impending event at our fingertips in sales: the end of month, end of quarter or end of year tool. We’ve all used it, but I would suggest you use it in a certain way: with an unsolicited proposal. Unsolicited proposals provide you a great framework for specifying price, terms, and the setting of a line in the sand through the use of an expiration date. It brings those key things into clear view and helps move your deals down the track and create a sense of urgency in prospects.
Just some tips to help close. Let me know how those unsolicited proposals work out.