Welcome to 2020! Let’s Abandon 1990s Sales Tactics Part. 1

Tactic 1: The “Limited Time Offer” to build urgency. 

This technique can also be referred to as the “possibility of loss close.” I frequently witness and hear about (from disgruntled buyers) this tactic. The gist of the tactic is “sign the contract this week or I can’t get you this deal anymore.” You/your company creates a special pricing discount with an artificial deadline to encourage customers to sign ASAP. The problem with this tactic is that it undermines your efforts to build a trusting relationship with the customer when trust is already low. You are also communicating to your customer that you are not pricing your product based on economic value (a topic for another post), instead, you are pricing based on arbitrary dates.

This should not be confused with setting appropriate expectations. For example, clearly communicating the contract and other project deadlines to the buyer in order to deliver by their expected delivery date, and warning the buyer when you are approaching the deadlines, is important and expected.

My recommendation is:

  1. If your business has variable pricing that fluctuates frequently: send the buyer a price quote with an expiration date. It’s ok to tell them that the pricing expires on this date and it’s absolutely fine to follow up and remind them. That way you establish the guard rails from the beginning based on your business needs. 
  2. If your business has relatively fixed pricing: For most businesses, prices are relatively fixed or adjust on a quarterly or annual basis. I recommend including a price expiration date on every quote (for 30 days, 60 days, whatever works for your business). That way, if the buyer comes back four months later, you have an expiration date to reference if you need to revise the pricing.
  3. For all deals: use the client’s delivery timeline, quarterly goals, something (ANYTHING) else as the mechanism to build urgency and accelerate toward signature/close.

Your customer relationships are everything — they extend beyond your current sales quota, job, etc.. Any tactic that undermines trust, regardless of the short term benefits, should be abandoned. It will ultimately harm your reputation in the long run, and your career has significantly higher lifetime value than a single closed deal.

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