Create a Compelling Event



Have you ever tried to sell someone something and they continually push you off? Have you ever had the challenge to get someone to buy from you on your timeline and not theirs? Have you ever gotten frustrated just trying to get a prospect to make any decision?  If you are in sales, then the answer to these questions must be yes.

Getting a deal closed is never an easy thing to do, but I have a tool for you that can greatly increase your chances of getting a deal done.  Creating a compelling event drives prospective customers to get a deal closed by a specific date by creating a sense of urgency that compels them to take action.

Customers will often ruminate or analyze a proposed solution to the point that there never is a resolution. Also, things like corporate bureaucracy can act as a smoke screen to resolution. Rather than harassing a potential client with annoying or aggressive sales tactics, compelling events will create the internal client motivation, driving them by their own needs and wants, not yours.


There are two types of these events:

  • Customer-Driven Events – these are events driven by the customer’s own business activities and processes
  • Manufactured Events – these are events that are created by the salesperson to create urgency and action

The most effective and convincing solution is to leverage customer-driven events where you possibly can. I want you to become an expert in spotting them, perhaps even doing research to uncover them if necessary. Examples of these events:

  • Customer must have a project completed by a certain date
  • Leverage a major upcoming event like the holidays, product launch, start of the school year, trade show or conference
  • Find an opportunity that the customer might miss out on if they don’t act
  • Use a legal deadline or upcoming audit

However, when leveraging a customer-driven event is not at hand, it is time to get creative and manufacture one, for instance:

  • Create an expiring discount at the end of the month or end of the quarter
  • Create a sale with a specific end date
  • In a services business, leverage the fact you will have a resource constraint if they do not act by a certain date.
  • Use limited inventory or limited product available for sale when appropriate.
  • Get multiple offers on a one-of-a-kind product, service or investment opportunity. Those offers can be used to motivate someone to act and bid up the price.

Especially important to note…if you say there is a deadline, there must be a deadline, otherwise your credibility, along with the power of the compelling event, are lost.

A great example of a company that excels at creating manufactured compelling events is Apple. They are amazing at creating urgency based on scarcity…for instance, only X number of iPhones, and people are lined up around the block in the middle of the night to score the newest version.

One compelling event I have used myself many times in my past eCommerce services business at MarketLive, is a resource constraint event.  We would create a compelling event by letting customers know they needed to sign by X date because we could not guarantee we would have available resources if they delayed past a certain date (which, by the way, was true).

Finally, a great compelling event to use if you are looking for investors is the multiple offers event.  Venture capitalists are notorious for only moving on a deal when other investors want to take the deal away from them.  So, when you are out trying to raise money, do everything you can to secure more than one offer on your deal.  When you go back to the VCs to let them know, watch how fast they move.  Now, remember you must have multiple offers for this compelling event to work.


Compelling Event Exercise

Now it is time for you to take action and apply this great closing tactic to a deal you are working on.

  1. Identify a deal that you are currently working on (or a past deal you worked on).
  2. Make a list of all the possible customer-driven compelling events you could use to create urgency to motivate the customer to close.
  3. Make a list of any manufactured compelling events you could use on this deal to hit your close date.
  4. Pick or create at least one compelling event, communicate it to the prospect, and just see what happens.


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