Use both ‘dimensions’ when creating ‘urgency’


We’ve all heard the infomercials and radio spots where we’re told that “supplies are limited” and I think we’ve all seen online countdown timers like the one above. (By the way, the countdown timer is the web graphics translation of the classic advertising phrase, “Time is running out!”)

The idea is to create a sense of urgency to push the buyer the last inch (or mile) across the finish line to close the sale.

In some form, any successful promotion is going to use one or more techniques to create a sense of urgency in the buyer. After all, by nature people are resistant to change and every sale’s pitch is asking prospects to bring something new into their lives. They’ve survived so far without, why do they need it now?

Hopefully, as you’ve outlined the benefits of your product or service you’ve answered the “why do they need it” part of that question. Creating the urgency addresses the “now” part of the question.

The urgency yin and yang

There are two natural “dimensions” for creating a sense of urgency:

  • The bad things that will happen if the prospect delays,
  • The good things that will happen if the prospect buys now.

I think it’s easier to hit the prospect with negatives like these:

  • Supplies are limited
  • Act before your competitors
  • Price only guaranteed through the end of the month
  • Avoid disappointment
  • Time is running out

And, as politicians know, pounding the negatives to induce fear is a very powerful strategy. It’s just human nature to respond to fear. I suppose those in sales and marketing would reword the famous fight or flight response to the fight, flight, or (preferably) buy response.

Accentuate the positive

However, don’t overlook the positive strategies that will enhance a sense of urgency among your prospects. What good things will happen if the prospect makes the purchase decision today? The possibilities are only limited by your imagination and budget. Here are a few general ideas:

  • Lower price
  • Longer warranty
  • Extra training
  • Faster delivery or free shipping
  • Add-on bonus
  • Personalization or customization
  • Getting ahead of the competition

Are you taking advantage of both strategies? I hate to be a fearmonger, but as I said above, touching that sensitive nerve is effective and it is in your best interest to find the right way to communicate it to your prospects.

But don’t leave it at that. There’s an old song with the line “accentuate the positive.” Be sure to offer positive reinforcement for a timely buying decision. This is especially important when you’re personally dealing with prospects because it will build your relationship on a positive foundation.

And don’t forget the lifetime value of a new client or customer when you’re selecting benefits or special offers to feature when presenting to new prospects. Making the sale and starting the relationship on a generous and uplifting note will pay big rewards over time.


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