The solution is to generate urgency at every juncture so that you create action that moves the deal forward and, in turn, builds velocity toward the Close.
Consider the complexity of many sales initiatives and the stakeholders involved in decision making. To elevate the urgency, you need to understand what the triggers and dynamics are internally and then build upon that.
Risk is a huge trigger for many clients. While they might consider the risk involved in going forward with a project, you can focus on the risk of not taking action. If you can quantify the risk of not moving forward, that’s even better because that elevates the sense of urgency around action, which gets people to mobilize and commit.
For example, we have recently worked with a company that has a relatively high Net-Promoter score. In this scenario, they want to go from good to great, and to do that, they have to engage with their clients in such a superior fashion that it clearly differentiates them from their competitors. The problem is there has been some leakage in scores that could impact their future. The level of urgency for action is high, based on a competitive and changing market that is becoming more aggressive. The longer they put off doing something, the more time they lose to make a difference.
Another consideration is timing. Often, the urgency is around making something happen in the current fiscal year. The risk, therefore, comes from acting later rather than sooner.
With many clients, you have to figure out the specific risk that arises from action, or inaction and create the urgency for them. Just because people work within a certain industry or company doesn’t mean that they understand all of the risk. It will help if you could identify how this delay can hinder their achievement of current targets.
Another way to do this is by relating stories that are based on experience. For example, we recently had a conversation with someone in which we encouraged a client to get approval from her CEO to secure the budget for the entire project, not just phase one. We did so by telling her about another client who didn’t do it that way, and when roles changed in executive-level management, phases two and three of that project were taken off the table. We warned her about the risk of losing momentum by missing the window of opportunity to get the budget needed to complete the project.
It’s interesting to note that the biggest indicator of success in helping clients understand risk and urgency is the positive impact on their careers. Once you understand what your clients want to accomplish, and you create a vision together, very positive things can happen to them career-wise when you help them to fulfill that vision.
By lighting a fire under your clients to create a sense of urgency, you can benefit from faster closes while they benefit from implementing your solutions.