Awareness and Urgency

Quick Summary: Prospect awareness of what you offer is not enough; they must have a sense of urgency.


Creating awareness of who you are, what you offer, and why prospects should embrace your offering only represent one half of the challenge.  The other half, which is far more difficult, is to create a sense of urgency with the prospect so they decide to buy now, from you.

Awareness of who you are and what you offer is not enough to motivate prospects to make a buying decision.  It required a sense of urgency on their part to move them from a “nice to have” to a “must have” mindset.  A true story illustrates this point.

I own lots of guns.  I am a shooter, not a collector.  My guns vary from black powder replica pistols to powerful hunting rifles and almost every variation in between.  I have guns in 19 different calibers.  In 1987, my collection consisted of a rifle and a shotgun and four handguns.  I kept the long guns in a locked, rigid gun case.  I kept my handguns in one of the drawers in a four-door file cabinet that was in my office/game room.  I kept the file cabinet locked – some of the time.  I had trained by two teenage sons on how to shoot and proper firearms safety.  My younger daughter showed no interest in them.  We lived in a bedroom community well-outside of Chicago.  With the kids coming and going, we seldom locked our house, even at night.

One Saturday morning I went to a large sporting goods store just to browse the hundreds of guns on display.  The gun department was at the back of the store. I had to walk through the gun safe department to get there.  As I was walking down one of the gun safe isles, an elderly salesman approached me.  Actually, he stepped in front of me and said, “You thinking about buying a gun safe?”  I replied, “No, not really.”  To that response, he shook his head and said, “You know, I sell lots of safes to people that don’t have any guns.”  I thought for a moment and said, “No kidding, so people buy a gun safe before they buy guns.”  It never occurred to me to purchase a gun safe first.  The salesman said to me, “That’s not what I meant.” He then just walked away.  I was surprised at the abruptness of his departure but just proceeded to the gun department. 

After browsing for a while, I returned to my car and had just put the key into the ignition when it hit me. The salesman was talking about people who bought a gun safe after their guns had been stolen! I immediately got out of my car, went back into the store, and hunted (no pun intended) down the older salesman.  He saw me coming and cracked an ever-so-slight smile.  I made a derogatory comment that he could not hear and then said to him, “I get it, they bought safes because their guns were stolen!”.  He just smiled. I then said, “Ok, which one should I buy?”  An hour later I walked out of the store after purchasing an $800 gun safe. After the transaction was complete, I said to the salesman, “I’ll bet you sell a lot of safes with that line.”  He replied, “You betcha!”

 When I got home, I told my wife what happened, and she agreed that I made the right decision. (I think she whispered, “It’s about time.”).  The safe was not scheduled to be delivered until the following Tuesday.  I was almost sleepless that night and on Sunday, and Monday nights as well -- thinking/dreaming that my guns were being stolen!

The above story illustrates the situation that many companies face with their prospects.  They have done a great job of making prospects aware of their products and the need.  However, they are not able to instill a sense of urgency with their prospects.  In my case, I knew that I should keep my guns locked up in a safe, but with two teenage boys and a tween, there were always “more important” things to buy.  Also, I could have purchased two more guns for the price of the safe!

Creating urgency in others is not easy.  How many times have you seen the same television commercial that runs for weeks on end that says, “You must act now, within the next sixty seconds, to take advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime offer?”  After the first exposure, that commercial rings rather hollow.  An approach that I have used in the past (not mine originally) is to paint an image of lost revenue opportunities for a prospect.  The example that I use is that if you walk up to a vending machine and it is empty, tomorrow when you approach the machine, you won’t buy two sodas.  The missed revenue from the day before is lost forever.  Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t, but it always made prospects think.

The article, 5.010301, One Question: Multiple Parts, in this collection focuses on the urgency issue.  The question, shown below, includes seven parts that need to be fully explored.  Subsequent articles examine each of the parts.

“[Who] is the [Customer] and what is their [Single] [Most Compelling Reason] to [Buy] [Now] from [You]?”

 As you craft your awareness messages, think past it to the next task – urgency. It might involve revenue opportunities, safety, compliance, or, in my case, the fear of the consequences.  Create urgency, whether using positive or negative motivating factors. Spend as much time on creating urgency messages as you do on your awareness messages.  Figure out how to move prospects from “nice to have” to “must have” now!


Article Number : 5.060305   

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