1. Do I want to buy this?
2. And do I want to buy this now?
The second question is often overlooked—and we lose business as a result.
Have you ever worked with a prospect, and eventually heard those magic words: “We want to move ahead with this,” but somehow never gotten the agreement signed? You probably called back, and invented reasons to go to visit the prospect, and sent e-mail—whatever you could do to keep in touch.
In fact, your mistake probably was that you failed to think about urgency before you went in to obtain his commitment to buy.
If you don’t know why your prospect should buy this today before you walk in to obtain his commitment for you to do billable work (or his commitment to allow you to deliver your equipment, or whatever you’re selling), don’t be surprised if you end up in the “endless follow-up/no agreement” loop!
There must be a compelling reason for the prospect to buy now, or his natural reluctance to commit and be “locked into” anything will take over.
Many things can contribute to urgency. Here are a few examples:
• the Pain’s bad, and it’s costing them more money with every day that goes by without fixing it
• they want to see improved results by the end of the month, end of the quarter, end of the year, whatever, so that’s why they have to sign up
• their business is seasonal, and we’re heading into their busy season
• it’s nearly the holidays, when it will be quieter and easier to focus on this new purchase
• the price is going up
• we can commit to personally being there to deliver the service now; if they wait to decide, the person who will come in to work with them will be whoever is available to do the work at that time
• they’re in violation of the law and have to get this fixed to avoid liability
• there’s momentum—their people are excited about this now
• his performance appraisal is coming up, and his acting to address a problem will reflect favorably on the decision about whether to raise his pay (I like this one best—a personal rather than just a corporate reason to buy now!)
You may think of dozens more. The point is that before you go in for the ultimate close—the commitment to spend money—you must know both why the prospect should buy this and why he should buy this now. If you don’t know, don’t be surprised that he hasn’t thought it through.
And in those circumstances, people’s normal reluctance to commit to spending money takes over, and you lose. Know the urgency and talk about it!