I was asked a good question during a sales training this morning. It’s a question that comes up often enough. 

“How do we create urgency in our prospects?”

It’s a good question, because it is at the heart of a misconception that plagues many a sales professional.

My answer is simple. We don’t. We do not create urgency. Urgency already exists or it doesn’t. Our job is to discover it, and sometimes to help the prospect be more aware of it.

For example, if I am selling insurance, and I establish that number 8 on my client’s list of things to handle is getting better insurance, I know that I need to move up into the top 3 in order to have a strong chance of closing the deal. Sales science tells us that most people are willing to take action on their top 3 items, and everything else typically waits around. The question is can I do or say something that “creates urgency” and moves me up into the top 3.

The answer is no. There isn’t. Proper questioning might reveal that there are unconsidered reasons why NOT buying insurance might represent much more risk than the prospect currently perceives. That’s not creating the urgency. That is changing the awareness of it. Based on that awareness changing, a prospect might slide up buying insurance to their top 3.

Asking the right questions is definitely about finding out the client’s pain and degree of pain, but it is also about making sure the client is fully aware of their pain. They often are not aware of their pain, and part of the value we bring as sales professionals. Never assume that your clients are fully aware of their needs/pains. Also never assume that they realize the full implications of that pain. Pain is what creates urgency. The idea that salespeople can create urgency is a myth.