Creating a Sense of Urgency Without Sacrificing Your Integrity
Nirvana once sang, “Take your time, hurry up, choice is yours don’t be late.” Do you ever feel like that as a consumer, trying to figure out what a company is trying to tell you? Worse, as a small business owner do you do that to your customers? If you are sending mixed signals to your customers, you are probably confusing them. There’s a saying I don’t hear too much but it’s absolutely true: the confused mind always says NO! If you don’t want to lose sales because your customers are confused, don’t send mixed signals. And don’t try to trick your customers into buying. Here’s what I recommend instead:
First, whatever you do, be honest about whether you need to set a deadline or limit your quantities to begin with. I know it goes against what many marketing gurus will tell you, but hear me out. If you create fake scarcity to get people to buy, savvy consumers will see it/smell it from a mile away and they will immediately distrust you. Could they still buy from you? Yes, but it will be a harder sale, because people buy from people they know, like and trust, and once you deceive them it will be harder for them to like you. If you lie to your prospects or customers they probably won’t like you or trust you. Now you’re one for three and your prospect is probably looking to buy from someone else. And even if they do buy, will they tell their friends to buy from you? “Sure he treats customers like idiots, but you should go see him anyway.”
I don’t think so!
Second, if you need to set deadlines or sell limited quantities, be clear about the limitations with your prospects and stick to them. If there’s a “deadline” but you keep pushing it back in the hopes that someone will buy, you’ve taught your prospect that 1) your deadlines are fake, a.k.a. you do business in a deceptive way and 2) your prospects can ignore your limits as a negotiating tactic. Remember, you teach your customers how to treat you. Do you really want your customers to treat you like what you say isn’t important and the way you do business isn’t trustworthy?
I don’t think so!
Third, make sure that your prospects understand the consequences of inaction. In marketing terms, it’s called “loss aversion.” That means that people are afraid they’re going to lose out on something and are therefore more likely to take action. Here’s an example I see all the time: “our sale expires at midnight.” If it really does, and it’s not going back on sale next weekend, make sure your prospect/customer understands what it will cost him or her. “If you buy by midnight, you’ll save 15% on a full year’s worth of widgets. If you don’t buy by midnight, that’s fine, but a year’s worth of widgets will cost you an extra $495.” Many people naturally want to convert percentages to dollars to see what the real cost is, but don’t make it hard for them. Spell it out, give them a dollar figure, and your prospects are much more likely to act.
As you can see by now, there really is a smarter way to create urgency while maintaining your integrity. You may not get the quick sale from the gullible prospect, but you will get more sales and build better relationships if you create a sense of urgency while building trusting relationships with your prospects. You can do that easily by 1) being honest about whether you need to set a deadline or limit quantities, 2) stick with any limitations if you make them, and 3) help your prospects understand the impact of inaction (in dollars, inconvenience, delays, etc.). Help them to understand the pain of loss so they can avoid it.
If you would like to discuss ways to create urgency with integrity, email me so we can talk about your situation.
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