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What is the best way create urgency on a deal?

I've got a prospect, they need to do something this year and I need them to do it in Q2. They aren't in a rush, so I'm looking for advice on the best way to create a level of urgency? There are a number of ways I have looked at, such as creating a plan for them to agree to, making out we have a bunch of projects starting in H2 and they want to get in early etc. But I want to put something in place that lights a fire under their ass and gets this deal done in Q2! Any help from fellow sales savages is welcome

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43
Le
Lejajo
Praised Answer
Account Executive
Urgency can come from the challenges your product is solving. Start with a hypothetical date and walk them through the process of what it will take to complete the process. So if I'm selling software that takes time to develop or train people on before it's officially launched, I will walk them through the steps it takes before it gets launched. The point of using a more specific date is you can work backwards from that date to show them how much earlier they need to sign to hit that goal. Remember that they want what you're selling, you're just driving the point home on the timing. 

So here's an example. They say they need to do something this year which is very vague and doesn't work with your timeline. After acknowledging it I would then say, let's use this summer as an example. When you sign with us we'll have to do yadda, yadda, yadda which takes X number of time and then we'll have you ready by the summer. 



This doesn't sound very salesy. It sounds like you're just simply giving them an idea of what it will take to get started which they will appreciate but also create the thought that they need to come up with a more firm date. Now your conversation is more specific to timing where you can then remind them of their challenges and how your product is the solution. 
jefe
Old School Bravo
Sales Director
This is a great strategy I've used, though I think it's definitely underutilized.

Glad you're bringing out to the fore a little more.
southernfriedsales
Catalyst
+6
Senior Director of New Business
i.e. Tell a story

great point Lejajo
uklegalsales
Catalyst
+3
Business Development Director
Thanks Lejajo, all of this has been really helpful...thanks Sales Savages!
BeUnderstood
Old School Bravo
+1
Brand Strategist
I think this answer just made me money. Thank you.
goose
Opinionated
+5
Sales Executive
Agree with this but I'd use a real event or date instead of a hypothetical.  If the prospect doesn't have a real event or date then you might not have a real deal.

"What's the cost to the business of not making this change?"
Sh
SheCloser
Staring down at you from the top of the stack rankings
I have that conversation in almost all of my opportunities.  Depending on who you are working with may not realize the time it will take to complete X project, so it’s always best to set expectations as well.
Lambda
Opinionated
+2
Sales Consultant
I could not agree with this more!
VKN_Salespreuner
Politicker
+6
Regional Sales Manager
superb strategy, loved this one! great point made here!
StringerBell
Opinionated
+5
Account Executive
I don’t have a ton to offer because I really do believe most people buy at their own pace 90% of the time regardless of some of the bullshit your manager might tell you. I sell a saas product that actually requires no professional service 95% of the time so it’s not like there’s some window they need to hit. People will say on an intro call “oh this is a Q2 project” but unless it’s tied to some event those timelines are meaningless to the company. They might even miss their arbitrary timeline then decide to put the project off for a year. 

I guess that would be my advice - try and find an event to tie the launching of this product to and work back from that date. 
uklegalsales
Catalyst
+3
Business Development Director
Thanks, they have recently gone through a merger and have the challenge of bringing over the new business. So now is the best time as they aren't doing it all on the old system to then switch it over to ours
NarcoticsAnonymous
Influencer
+1
Executive Sales Rep
Anchors ;)
softwarebro
Politicker
+4
Director of Sales
Before I take a shot at giving some feedback, I have some questions.. Have you asked your decision-maker what it would take to do a deal in H1? Does your decision maker need executive sign-off to do the deal? You want a H1 close but when did the customer say they wanted to buy? 
uklegalsales
Catalyst
+3
Business Development Director
You've raised some good points, I haven't asked what it would take to do it in H1 and that's a great place to start. I know who needs to be involved to sign it from their side, so its motivating all of them which is the challenge. The customer indicated before the end of the year as they have recently gone through a merger
softwarebro
Politicker
+4
Director of Sales
 I see a lot of "create urgency" comments and that's good advice... What I would do in this instance is speak with your contact and ask if it can be done. Go into that meeting prepared with a business case: Problems your solutions solves, ROI, and my favorite - "what happens if you fail to act". Since it sounds like your decision-maker is a mid-level manager you need to tailor your business case to both his level and the executive level - remember different things are important to them. Good luck!
Show 1 more replies
DaveyDimes
Acclaimed Answer
+2
Account Executive
Great question, the results will help build a business case for your leadership team to get special terms approved. Often times they'll just need a specific price, delayed billing, or delayed implementation. 
HarryCaray
Notorious Answer
+13
Regional VP
I've used the tactics you've described here, so I don't have much else to offer, but I'm interested to see the feedback.  Great topic!

I was going to say something about discounts, but that's the easy way out.  Looking forward to hearing more creative strategies from Savages.
ARRisLife
Opinionated
+2
Account Executive
How long does your product/solution take to get up and running? Is there an implementation that takes time?

I use this joint project plan where I can map out several parts of a project- I usually start backwards from when they'd ideally like to be live, or have something adopted.

I can then work backwards to create additional steps and processses that take time and from there can start to get some mutual alignment on when we need to get contracts done by.

This might not apply as easily if you have a quick start to your solution that doesn't have many outside factors but just an idea.

Good Luck!
uklegalsales
Catalyst
+3
Business Development Director
Our software can take up to 18 months to implement, we are replacing their finance system. Thanks for the feedback, I was thinking of this route and that's been helpful
sales7
Politicker
+4
Sales Enablement Manager
Totally agree with the backwards approach, making them realise how long it's realistic to get up and running and then they realise sooner is better
MrBravado
WR Officer
+2
VP of Marketing
Can you calculate, with your client, the cost of waiting?

That is, if your solution will save them time and money - how much time? How much money? What's the business case?

What impact does saving this time and money have towards helping your prospect make her/his personal and departmental goals?  If there's real value, then waiting 3 or 6 months has a real cost.
Bb
Bbq_Memphis30
VP Cross Border e-Commerce
I believe strongly in two things:  creating an agreed upon deadline and calculating the cost of inaction. Too many companies spend their time measuring the risk of taking action. Rarely is the cost of inaction taken into account. 
marebears007
Catalyst
+3
Sr. Account Executive
Big fan of this idea! Showing them how much it is costing the organization if they do nothing
uklegalsales
Catalyst
+3
Business Development Director
Thanks, this plays into the value selling model nicely as I can look at both business and personal value, e.g. how does it help the FD (my main contact) personally? And how does that make her look to the business by improving x, y, z?
bigpicturemaverickstuff
Good Citizen
Senior Manager, Sales Development
Often your biggest competitor is the decision to simply do nothing.  Its an option in every deal no matter how much they have articulated the need for change.  

My advice, quantify the cost of doing nothing and make sure the biggest costs are tied to your product's differentiators.  Then ask your prospect how they would justify those costs to their leadership team if they can't eliminate or reduce them.

Sounds like you need to quantify it in terms of each quarter you lose X amount of $ to no decision.
MMMGood
Celebrated Contributor
+9
Senior Account Executive
Know any good hackers? 😋

Having a MAP is good for maintaining a timeline. 

If you have services integrated, you can tell them the lead time for being assigned a PM is ____ weeks and growing, etc. 

If you’re not done negotiating, you could use a give/get situation to commit to a shorter timeline by attaching it to the request for better price, SLAs, special terms, etc. 
uklegalsales
Catalyst
+3
Business Development Director
Thanks, I can build this into my plan
beerisforclosers
Arsonist
+7
Account Manager
Tough with software because you don't have the lead times to bring up, but you can bring up implementation timelines! I also utilize financing options for customers frequently to help make deals appealing and easier to consume. I'm not sure if that's an option available to you?
uklegalsales
Catalyst
+3
Business Development Director
We don't offer financing directly through us, but we do have partners who can help with this. It's one to have in my back pocket in case I need it, thanks
poweredbycaffeine
Opinionated
+2
Director of Sales Development
FUD raises all ships...did I get that right? Anyways, employ some fear, uncertainty, and doubt. "If you don't sign by end of the month we risk missing XYZ milestone in your rollout plan, putting your entire project at risk of failure." This then creates an implication of failure if they don't move forward, which should light a fire under their ass. Discounting is not a tactic worth employing unless you can hold hard to the word "no" when they ask if you'll honor it on May 1st.
uklegalsales
Catalyst
+3
Business Development Director
Thanks, discounting is my last option to be fair, this is more about getting them to commit now. So using FUD in my plan would certainly help, thanks!
Ace
Arsonist
+6
CEO
The biggest urgency will come from helping them see a different perspective on how much they'll be losing with every day lost in taking a decision to get to yes
uklegalsales
Catalyst
+3
Business Development Director
Thanks, that will also be built into my plan as a 'lack of return for non investment'
Ace
Arsonist
+6
CEO
Yes, checkout the book "Science of Selling" it has exact words and statements you can use to create urgency
Show 1 more replies
thesalesdocrx
Opinionated
+4
SDR Manager
Create some "seasonality" behind your product based on "competitor's buying habits".

Whether it exists or not, it will get them thinking about the implication of stagnation vs their competitors.

We have a lull of people asking to open evaluations in May, and we have been talking about how it makes more sense to evaluate now, in case you fall in love with the company and product then we already have availability to implement in June.  Due to the fact that a lot of similar operations to theirs implement in June.

Builds urgency that their competitors are going to be miles ahead of them if they don't think about it now.

Also helping them recognize the timing implication of "even if you fell in love with the product and company" you would be looking at a "MONTH" go live date.

Shows them how far out a potential onboarding really is.
uklegalsales
Catalyst
+3
Business Development Director
That's really useful, thanks!
DadFather
Opinionated
+2
Enterprise Account Executive
Reverse timelines! I create a slide or two (just them no other slides) and present it to the customer. “Hey does this align with your project” “When is your go live date” “what is pushing that date” 

from there you can either push for a faster timeline or understand the reality that it’s a H2 project. But you can create that urgency by making the customer speak to their timelines. “Oh shit this needs to be in use by August meaning purchase by June so we can have time to implement” 
uklegalsales
Catalyst
+3
Business Development Director
That is a neat way of presenting some of the great ideas our fellow savages have shared here, thanks
Benwade
Fire Starter
+2
Enterprise Account Executive
Flipping the switch here - what is the compelling event and what value has been demonstrated or agreed will be created? Without one, or ideally both of these being answered, creating urgency is purely a self-fulfilling task. 

Creating urgency is a value-driven proposition with a compelling event and demonstrated business or personal value.
YoungMoney
Good Citizen
+2
Director of Sales
I've found that having a large of a pipeline as humanly possible helps because, someone will take the bait and commit when you need to but most won't. 

When I've had massive pipeline, I give backwoods timelines to people. "You need to go live by 1/1/22, and if you choose to onboard with X company, they average 6 months on on boarding time (4 if theres no issues). How do we get this project started by 7/1?"

Inevitably, most won't move forward in time, so sending an updated timeline that does not meet their "deadline" either causes them to react and ask how they can pull off the timeline still OR they're just window shopping for 3-6 months down the road. Also, you're being honest to your client, which is awesome! 


Irltech
Senior Account Executive
First and foremost get to the bottom of this deal to see if a Q2 is even possible. You more than likely have a management team calling this in forecast, while the client is unaware of this urgency.


1. In all correspondence mention that you and the team are working toward a [insert date here], close date. Is this still feasible?

2. Create the urgency on their side by using their processes. Valid points here about the implementation process, but also call out legal and project management etc. You want them to think, “shit I need some lead time here”.

3. Don’t use price. Everytime you discount you’re adding more quota onto your target and people at this stage know what the story is.


find.the.gap
Account Executive
One thing I like to do to create urgency is illuminating the cost of doing nothing.. what would be the effect on their business if they were to wait? How much is that going to cost them per month? Per quarter? This can sometimes give them a kick in the butt... For example, if you know what the ROI is if they were to implement your product in Q2, ask them how much it would cost them to wait as opposed to acting now and be prepared to have those calculations for them. Depending on what your product does, there should be a number of ROI items you could focus on.. Saving time, driving in additional business, risk, etc... 

On another note, if you are pushing to make it a Q2 sale for yourself they might detect that and may push them away, so be careful in how you present your case as it could result in no sale at all.. Make it about them and that if they act now they will be able to save x, y, & z by moving now as opposed to the end of the year.. Just my two cents! Good luck, lad! 
Coffeesforclosers
Celebrated Contributor
+10
Director Sales and Market Development
I ask them to do me a favor and tell them where i am depending on the month, but only if the relationship is there. If not i just ask when is this mission critical to you so i dont waste your time or mine on follow up. 
uklegalsales
Catalyst
+3
Business Development Director
That will be the back up, lets not waste each others time
Coffeesforclosers
Celebrated Contributor
+10
Director Sales and Market Development
All of our time is valuable, also sets the tone like look, im important too. 
IceColdCloser
Good Citizen
AE
Drop your pants......Discount the shit out of it haha
nassaf
Business Development
License key expirations
Kanyebut4sales
WR Lieutenant
+5
Account Executive
Honestly this is probably not what you want to hear but if they don't have any need to do this now vs next quarter then don't artificially create it. Let the buyers buy when it's important for them because of XYZ outcome. It could backfire if you push them into something for your monetary gain
FullyDiluted
Opinionated
+6
Account Director
If you know the results they need to deliver and when they need to be delivered, you can back that into a timeline when you need to start the project you’re selling. 

example - if they need to deliver X by EOY then they need to at least be implemented + running with your product a few months before that which means they need to get signed and going now. 
SalesAssassin
Praised Answer
Senior District Manager
Leverage promos, discounts, and calendar closes!
StraightCashHomey
Opinionated
+1
Manager, Commercial Sales
Lock in on pain.  Let that dictate the timing of the deal, not your "need."  Show them a path to hitting the mark on their timeline or a little bit before.
BorntoSell
Good Citizen
+1
Global Business Development Manager
Mostly buyers buy coz of three things : Fear, Excitement & Need. There is 100% way of doing what you asked. Maybe you can be honest and ask them of buy whenever you want them to buy. I still remember my 1st client from Michigan paid me extra to cover up my quarterly targets. Since then, we've been friends !!
Re
RedLightning
Opinionated
+2
AE
As a salesperson, you can't create urgency. You can uncover things and highlight things that can lead to urgency. 
GraceDaleEnterprises
Good Citizen
+2
Enterprise Sales Executive
My CEO and I came up with this type of arrangement for a prospect in a similar boat....we are going to give them the first 2 months free....which means they effectively lower their first-year contract price, but we are locking in the monthly rate we want going forward. And its putting contingency on the offer being met by the date we desire since they don't really have any timeline or urgency 
Ma
MartyMcFly
Major Account Manager
Apologies if this has been covered else where (not trying to teach anyone to suck eggs) but one way to do it is a commercial event I.E a time stamped offer.

I’m personally not a fan of this method as once the price is out there that tends to be the bottom line and Procurement tend to know you can get to that point. If you do opt for this method I’d suggest using a sliding scale, example below 

order by June 20%
order by July 15%
order by Aug 10%

A better method is to create a reverse time line from point of deployment you can use an arbitrary point in time to demonstrate the length of time it’s going to take to deploy your solution, on board or whatever the details are that are involved in your product/service or what ever you’re selling. Another good thing to check is the financial year, is it calendar (Jan/Dec) this could give you an idea of left over budget.

I’d like to hear some clarification on why they need to buy? Because if it’s hard requirement to do something this year, what’s stopping commitment early? Another thing you could do is extend payment terms so they sign now but could defer payment to later in the year? Or stagger payments.

I always ask myself three questions 

why do anything?
why use my company?
why now?

Just my two pennies worth 
nomdeguerre
VP of Sales
I'm sorry but you have just made your deal worth 20% less. Once you have shown them that you can get to 20% there is no way they paying more no matter the timeframe, at least if they are a smart customer, and they have an alternative solution which they have 99% of the time.
Ma
MartyMcFly
Major Account Manager
Not sure if this in response to my statement but I’d suggest reading paragraph 2. 🙄
DaveyDimes
Acclaimed Answer
+2
Account Executive
Depending on what you sell there are different "promotions" you can extend. This doesn't involve dropping your price. I always present options that will extend service periods or delay billing. You can also provide free transactions if that helps. It's really easy to show cost savings as well. All "promotions" expire at the end of Q2.

Another option is presenting an implementation or per unit cost, that is slightly higher than what you would normally present. Discount it down to your normal prices and tie an expiration date to the reduced cost savings. It shows a discount but doesn't shrink your deal.

Also if they are still evaluating let them know that once you are VOC your leadership team is happy to provide additional flexibility that expires at the end of Q2.
cyclindave
Old School Bravo
Salesperson
What is the problem that you are going to solve? 

Where is their issues at the moment? 

Do they know about those issues? 

Have you asked what is the impact of them not fixing that problem, that can be broken down into multiple parts, personal impact, business impact and financial impact? 

Make it uncomfortable to wait longer, there is a problem it needs to be solved, and doing it sooner will stop you feeling all this pain around cost, personal impact, business impact. 
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