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Front-line sellers and sales leaders are always looking to create a sense of urgency with buyers. While the benefits are clear and worth pursuing, based on the number of people who contact me looking for input on the subject, many have yet to find a way to consistently create that urgency.

In search of a quick fix, many salespeople aren't always willing to put in the work required to implement a sustainable process. But there are no secrets or silver bullets, just the effort required to change the outcome.

For those willing to commit, they can adopt a methodology. While it is not new, it is proven; and allows them to help drive the sale while creating and maintaining a sense of urgency that buyers will act on. Taking action is the key. After all, creating a sense of urgency is different than acting with urgency.

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It all starts with moving the conversation away from product, solutions, or anything to do with our deliverables and putting the focus squarely on the buyer's objectives.

We all know that in sales the core question buyers ask is 'what's it in for me?' This is especially true when you're selling to someone you prospected, who isn't necessarily thinking about what you solve. This type – the so-called 'Status Quo' buyer (who makes up the majority of your market) – has no apparent pain point, no immediate perceived need. In fact, if not for you engaging them, they would have continued down their current path.

We also know people like to talk about themselves and what's important to them. Their objectives (not ours) are important, they are invested both emotionally and financially in achieving those objectives. Therefore, the more you can align with their objectives, the more likely they are to engage. Once engaged, you can continue to leverage their objectives to create urgency, velocity and action.

When was the last time you rejected someone who had a clear, viable and executable path to helping you reach your goals?

It all starts with adopting, what I call, an 'actionable definition of value.' Specifically, buyers will see value in those services and/or products that remove barriers, obstacles, or help bridge gaps between where the buyer is now – and – their objectives.

Proactive sellers avoid the problem/pain and solution trap, and harness the power of the buyer's objectives.

Motivated, active buyers, have shorter sales cycles because they take action on their own, and bring their own sense of urgency to that action. But these two attributes are only present in a small segment of self-declared buyers.

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All business people have objectives, and they will act when they see a means of achieving them. The Status Quo describes those who have yet to see or be presented with a means of achieving certain objectives. Show them a means to success, and they will act, the more actively they are engaged the more velocity, urgency, commitment and action you'll see in the sale.

You need to change the nature of the conversation, from the cold call to buyer commitment. By definition, solutions tend to address one or two specific 'problem' or 'pain' areas. A solution may solve a problem, but without a clear path to the end goal, buyers will hesitate or hold off on acting on one element, slowing down the deal in the process. When the buyer does not perceive the need based on the narrow focus of the 'solution,' we are at an impasse.

When properly engaged, buyers won't hide their objectives. Selling 'solutions' is not a bad thing, but with unmotivated buyers, i.e. Status Quo, who lack urgency, a 'solution' is not enough.  As sellers you know that motivation comes from within, that's why money is not 'the motivator' for the best sellers, and achieving objectives is 'the motivator' for buyers.

Tibor Shanto is a principal at Renbor Sales Solutions Inc. He can be reached at tibor.shanto@sellbetter.ca. His column appears once a month on the Report on Small Business website.

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