Three Ways to Create Urgency and Increase Sales
When Do We Feel a Sense of Urgency?
Hurry! Time’s Almost Out! Get it While It Lasts! Don’t Miss out! I often talk about creating a sense of urgency in your life so that you can achieve success faster. If you think about it, we take action when we are compelled – for a tangible reason – to do something.
At the very basis of our actions lies the theories Fight or Flight and Pain vs. Pleasure. In short, people will do almost anything to avoid pain. And they are physically hardwired to do so.
Imagine the physical response when something triggers fear, anger or any other strong emotion inside people. Their body creates adrenaline and norepinephrine, two chemicals that temporarily enhance reaction time, alertness, strength, and attention. When you’re in danger, you’ll feel that rush of adrenaline that enables you to run away faster than you would have in normal circumstances.
But during times of inactivity and low stress, adrenaline is not being created. There’s no “rush” to go anywhere to escape the “pain.”
People hate pain. It’s natural.
It’s all about Avoiding Pain and Feeling Pleasure
People also love pleasure. It’s only human to want to feel good and be happy.
But think about the way you feel when you’re in the flow, when you’re “pumped” and in the moment. It’s a great feeling, right? Urgency can happen anywhere – in nature, on the job, in a basketball game. Think to the last ten seconds of a game.
Two teams. Longtime rivals. The score is tied, the tension is high.
The urgency in the gym is palpable.
There are only ten seconds to get it in the basket.
10…9…8…7…6… the crowd holds its breath.
The players are in an acute, focused state. One that is virtually impossible to recreate in a normal practice session.
5…4…3…In a tangle of legs and arms and sweat, one player grabs for the ball, steals, and twists and turns his way to the hoop.
2….1…. and – just as it seems impossible, the ball glides through the hoop, a perfect swish.
The crowd goes wild.
The players, caught up in the excitement and filled with adrenaline, hardly remember what happened. They just know that the ball went in.
This is the urgency I want you to channel in your work. Every day. Now, I’m not saying that you have to have that high-anxiety, over-the-top adrenaline rush all day long (that’s for the ER and Wall Street) but just imagine the work you would accomplish and the ideas you could imagine if your brain was focused even a bit more.
This is why we need urgency. There are many safe ways to create a sense of urgency in your life, but you have to know what makes you tick as a person first. You may have to try each one of these a few times to see what actually works for you.
Three Ways to Create Urgency
3. Five Minutes of the Focused “What If”:
Perhaps the easiest thing you can do to create a sense of urgency in your job or in your business is to simply start your day by thinking about the Why behind what you are doing and the consequences if you don’t do your job.
For instance, let’s say that you’re in sales, and you have a sales quota. It’s Monday morning, and you’re up for a review on Friday. You have to close more deals if you want to get a good evaluation.
Think about the pain: “if I don’t call at least 50 people and schedule at least 10 meetings today, I won’t close the deals I need to close. If I don’t close the deals, I might have a bad review. Even worse, I could lose my job!”
Think about the Pleasure: “After I’ve called at least 50 people today and made at least 10 appointments, I am going to feel like I’ve accomplished something awesome. I’m going to feel confident that no matter what the outcome, I’ve given it my best effort.
Think about the “even better” pleasure: And when I close more deals, I will get that huge bonus I’ve been waiting for!
Do you see what we’ve done here? First thing in the morning, you’ve visualized the pain you’ll feel if you don’t work harder today than ever before. Because you want to avoid that pain at all costs, you’d be an idiot not to actually follow through with those tasks.
But more than that, you’ve also visualized how great you’ll feel knowing you’ve worked your hardest. And the cherry on top: you visualized the ultimate pleasure – $$$.
By the time you finish visualizing the pain and pleasure associated with your workday tasks, I guarantee you that you’ll want to do a great job today. All it takes is a little mental reminder to get back to your purpose
2. The Countdown Timer
Look, many people don’t have time for daily, pre-workday meditation about the whys, and that’s understandable. (Although it’s proven that what you think daily creates your success.) But there are ways to artificially create that urgent feeling.
Try using a countdown timer. For years, e-commerce sites have used these clever clocks to warn us that if we “don’t act now, we might lose out!”
People never want to miss out on something, and they are much more likely to act now if there’s a finite amount of time (and it’s running out in front of them).
When you place a timer on your computer, or phone (somewhere that is always visible) and you give yourself a time limit to finish a task, you create a natural sense of urgency. You must get this task done. Or else!
The “Or Else” in this case is the pain you will feel at not completing your task on time.
The timer makes that limit real, even if it is a self-imposed deadline.
For those of you who have a flexible schedule, this can be a great way to increase your self-discipline. When you must do something in an allotted amount of time, you work better. That’s why so many people say that they finish assignments better when they are “under pressure”.
When you create this sense of urgency every day, with every important project you have, you’ll notice that you’re getting a lot more done.
Just remember – you must first decide on the tasks you need to accomplish and a realistic amount of time that they will take.
1. Be Accountable to Others and Confess When You Slack Off
This one is hard, but the pain in confessing to others just might be the best way to create urgency.
Each day, set sales goals, or task goals, or diet goals (whatever you are doing) and then tell someone else about them. Commit to them. Promise that person that you’ll accomplish what you say you will.
It’s often harder to let down a friend or co-worker than it is to let down ourselves. Chances are that you’ll finish that dreaded task JUST to avoid letting down your friend!
Not to mention that it’s embarrassing to admit to a co-worker that you slacked off that day. No one wants to appear lazy. So if you really want to up the sense of urgency in your workday and start achieving more than you ever thought possible, make it real. Commit.
What are you going to commit to tomorrow? Comment below.