One of the easiest and most frustrating things for a consumer to do is put off buying your product or service until later. It could be that they’ll buy when they have more money, when they are more established, when they feel they are ready for it, after they compare what else is out there, or any number of justifications - often based around procrastination, fear or refusing to leave their comfort zone, that stops them from taking action with you now.

It can be frustrating, and not just because you haven’t closed the sale, but also because you know that your product or service could really help them, if only they would let it. So how do you create a sense of urgency to move them past their justifications? Here are three ways to drive your potential customers to act.

1. Scarcity

Scarcity marketing appeals to your potential customer's fear of missing out, and refers to any limitation placed on a product or service in order to increase sales by applying pressure to act immediately. It could be due to limited availability or a time based deadline that is linked to a discount or bonus for acting within a short window of time. 

The whole reason scarcity works well is because it forces action, especially when there is significant value offered. If you really want it you need to act immediately, how can you afford to wait if the reduced price, bonus, product, service or package will no longer be offered?

2. Competition

Within all of us is a healthy sense of competition. We want to be the first, to win, to be the leader, to be part of the ‘exclusive group’, to achieve our goals faster and receive the recognition and status that brings. Often appealing to the desire to be the best, the first and get in when others miss out can be quite effective in the sales process. 

Of course this sense of competition comes from a place of ego, so the effectiveness can depend on how much your potential customer needs recognition, how driven they are by status and how competitive they are to what you are comparing them to. Competition can also be accentuated by scarcity. By offering limited places, you are giving them the chance to win over someone else.

3. Taking the sale away

As the old saying goes, "people want what they can’t have”. With this in mind if you take the sale away by mirroring their justifications, taking out desired features to make it cheaper or making it appear that your customer base is an exclusive group where customers are chosen like an interview process (where you make the decision not them), can actually make them want your product or service more. 

Often when a potential customer senses that you won’t sell them what they want or need they will become more proactive in their pursuit and not only sell themselves on why they want it, but also sell you on why you should have them as a customer. 

A word of warning though...

While all of these motivators work, they also tend to be what we despise most in salespeople - right? That is why they need to be handled with care and done with the right approach. You need to be focused on what is best for your customer, what they want and need, as opposed to just closing the sale, and sometimes that can mean walking away. This is the key difference between the annoying, arrogant pushy salesperson and the friend that is gently guiding because they want what is best for you. 

"But isn’t this manipulative?” you might ask. It can be yes, especially when it is used in a pushy, sales driven way. Perhaps it is just the marketer in me, but I strongly believe that if you have a product or service that could genuinely help someone, whether it makes their lives easier, saves or makes them money, gives them more time, helps them grow their business, or gets them to achieve their goals faster, you have a responsibility to share that in a way your potential customers understand, see the value and are compelled to act - don’t you?

Amanda

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