Denver Bar Association
December 2006
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Build Urgency Into Your Marketing Message So Your Prospects Act Now

by Trey Ryder

We’ve all heard prospects say, "Let me think about it." Or, "Let me talk it over with my (spouse or business partner)." In most cases, that means you’re history.

If you want your prospect to act now, you must build urgency into your marketing message. Urgency is not the same as sales pressure. Sales pressure is force applied by the salesperson who wants your money. On the other hand, urgency is the need to act soon based on a person’s circumstances.

As the lawyer who can solve your prospect’s problems, you don’t want your prospect to feel any pressure from you. After all, you and your prospect are on the same side. On the other hand, you do want your prospect to appreciate the pressure caused by his circumstances — the same circumstances that brought him to you.

The most effective way to build urgency into your marketing message is through actual case histories. By relating a true story about another client, your prospect sees himself as the person in your example. These steps help you convey the urgency of your prospect’s circumstances — and help your prospect conclude that he should hire you to solve his problem.

Step 1: Tell the story of a client who acted quickly and made the right decision. When your prospect realizes how he will benefit from prompt action, he is more inclined to act so he profits from your efforts.

Step 2: Tell the story of a client who decided to wait — and the terrible problems she endured. In your example, your prospect sees herself trying to cope with the results of a bad decision. Don’t skip over this area quickly. If you’re describing a situation that you want your prospect to avoid, make sure you dwell there long enough — and explain the pain in sufficient detail — that your prospect will want to steer clear of these problems at all cost.

Step 3: Don’t stack case histories hoping to make the point stronger. For each topic you’re discussing, you need only one example of a client who got a good result — and one example of a client who got a bad result. When you talk about more than one client for the same subject, and their good and bad decisions, you muddy the waters.

Here’s an example of how I use urgency. When a lawyer requests my e-mail packet of articles, I include a cover letter that acknowledges the request and makes a few points about marketing. Here are three paragraphs from my letter:

If you want faster results from your marketing efforts — if you want to take your firm in a new direction — or if you want to start your own firm, you’ll be pleased to discover a marketing method that really works — a method that attracts new clients with dignity, without selling.

In marketing, you gain nothing by waiting but you lose a lot: You lose clients. You lose money. And you lose the position you’ve established in the marketplace. You may have heard the adage, "Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there."

Please don’t put off marketing any longer, because your future depends on attracting new clients. Now you have a dignified marketing method — and the law marketing specialist who created it — as close as your telephone. I’m ready to design and carry out your program for you — and help you every step of the way.

(End of excerpt from my letter)

After you deliver your marketing message, including case histories, will your prospects choose to act now? Some will and some won’t. For those who choose to delay, take these steps:

Step 1: Don’t try to push your prospect into making a decision. The more pressure you exert on your prospect, the more you undermine your credibility and the more your prospect resents your efforts. You maintain your level of trust and your prospect’s respect by allowing him to make his own decision, now or in the future.

Step 2: After you talk with a prospect, send a letter outlining the benefits of acting now and the risks of waiting. This reinforces what you said during your conversation and might remind your prospect of things she had forgotten.

Step 3: Make it clear to your prospect that you’re happy to answer his questions, both now and in the future. Often, just one question or nagging concern is all that keeps your prospect from hiring you. Your challenge is to get him to voice that concern so you can address it.

Step 4: Mail something to your prospect at least monthly. Keep your prospect on your mailing list (and e-mail list) so she receives your newsletters, seminar invitations, articles and educational information. You never know what might motivate your prospect to move forward.

In the end, don’t give up on prospects if your first meeting results in "Let me think it over." Keep lines of communication open so prospects know that you’ll be happy to hear from them — and happy to help them — whenever they decide the time is right.

Trey Ryder is a law-firm consultant who specializes in Education-Based Marketing for attorneys. © Copyright 2004–2005 by Trey Ryder LLC. All rights reserved.


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