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You Can’t Create Urgency – You Must Find It

We’ve all heard about early bird offers or end-of-month discounts used to close deals quickly. These tactics aim to create urgency and prompt prospects to take action. However, they rarely achieve the desired effect and can cause long-term harm to relationships, reputations, and the perceived value of the product.

Creating a sense of urgency is a challenge that many sellers face. In fact, 42% of sellers last year identified it as their top problem. However, the truth is, you can’t create urgency; you can only unearth it or find it.

You might have come across the term “compelling event,” but what does it actually mean? A compelling event is a critical factor in driving urgency and has three key components:

  1. An Economic Owner: This is the person who is financially responsible and stands to gain or lose from the decision.
  2. A Defined Date: There must be a specific timeframe within which the event must happen.
  3. A Direct Response to a Business Pressure: The event must address a significant business challenge or opportunity.

There are three types of compelling events:


These are driven by the customer’s own goals and strategic priorities. Examples include:

  • Company Growth Objectives: Expanding market share or entering new markets often comes with specific timelines and targets.
  • Revenue Goals: Meeting quarterly or annual revenue targets can create urgency, especially as deadlines approach.
  • Profitability Goals: Initiatives aimed at reducing costs or increasing margins are typically time-sensitive.
  • Investment Goals: Securing funding or making strategic investments often comes with deadlines that create urgency.


These are influenced by external market factors, and they include:

  • New Legislation or Compliance Requirements: Changes in laws or industry regulations can force companies to act quickly to remain compliant.
  • Competitive Threats – Existing Players: When competitors make moves that threaten a company’s market position, it creates pressure to respond swiftly.
  • Competitive Threats – New Disruptors: New entrants to the market can disrupt the status quo, prompting established players to react urgently.
  • Changes in Consumer Behaviors or Buyer Demands: Shifts in market demand or consumer preferences can necessitate rapid adjustments in strategy.


These are initiatives introduced by the vendor, such as:

  • Price Discounts: Limited-time offers can incentivise quicker purchasing decisions, but they often lack the intrinsic urgency tied to business pressures.
  • Beneficial Payment Terms: Offering extended payment terms or financing options can make deals more attractive but may not be a primary driver of urgency.
  • Free Inventory: Providing additional products or services at no cost can be a sweetener, though it generally doesn’t address the prospect’s core business issues.

Out of these, only the first two types genuinely matter to the prospect and drive real urgency. Can you guess which one doesn’t?

Spoiler Alert: It’s the vendor-led compelling event. Prospects typically don’t care about these because they don’t address their core business pressures. While vendor-led events can be useful in sweetening a deal, they seldom create the necessary urgency on their own.

By focusing on uncovering genuine urgency rather than trying to manufacture it, you can build more meaningful and timely engagements with your prospects. This approach not only helps in closing deals faster but also in establishing long-term, trust-based relationships with your customers.

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