Episode 10: Sales – Urgency and Scarcity, with Colin Sprake


Hi, it’s great to have you back, and thank you for listening. By the way, if you’re really getting a ton of value from these business podcasts and lots of benefit, please make sure you’re giving me really good ratings and really good reviews on iTunes. I sincerely appreciate you helping us become one of the top business podcasts on iTunes. I am here devoted to you so we can MYM Your Business and get you to the next level. So what I give you, and it’ll always be this way, is the complete, brutal truth from me around how to get ahead. I have been at this so much listening to other trainers and how other people do things.

One thing I’ll always be honest with you is, how to do things, how to get ahead, and how to get yourself to that place where you really, really want your business to be. So, welcome to this show. I cannot wait to walk you through some really cool things here today. Make sure you’ve got a pen and paper ready and make some notes. There’s going to be great information. If you’re traveling or mobile while listening to this, remember, it’s great to listen to this, but I always request, remember, knowledge is not power. It’s potential power. Implementation is where the power is. That’s how you get ahead and get the results you’re looking for.

I am not here for you to listen and say, “That was a great show, Colin.” I want you to say, “Great show, I’m going to implement. I got great results.” That’s when you get ahead, because that’s what I truly want for you as you grow your business, grow your mindset, and get yourself and your family to that next level so you can live the lifestyle that you want, have the time off that you deserve, make the money that you want, and finally get to that awesome destination. Sometimes achieving what you thought impossible will become possible by listening to these episodes of what has now become one of the nation’s top business podcasts.

So let’s get into today. Today, I am talking about sales, one of my favorite, favorite topics on one our top business podcasts. If you don’t like sales, I’m going to ask you to think very differently about sales, today. Let me give you an example of this. Some people said to me, “Colin, I hate sales and sleazy, horrible sales people.” Remember one thing, sales is very simple. I want you to think about this. Sales is all about relationships. At my own events, I’ll often ask the question, “How many of you are in a relationship? Married? Dating, or what have you?”

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Sales is all about the relationship. Click To Tweet

Of course, all the hands go up. I say, “How do you think you got there?” And the answer to that is sales and marketing. That’s how you got there. If you’ve been single for a long time, maybe there’s something wrong with your sales and marketing. I really mean that. Let’s get into having a great discussion today, or give you some great training today on how to be more effective at sales, the brutal truth around sales, and especially the basics of sales and getting into those today.

Now, I want you to rethink this thing around sales. Sales is just relationship. That’s all you’re doing, building great relationships with people. I want you to get this. Sales is not about hard selling people. I’m going to teach you heart selling strategies today around really understanding people so you can really help people get to that next level. I don’t believe in upselling. You’re like, “What? You don’t believe in upselling?” Upselling, for me, is most often used to sell people stuff they don’t really need. I want you to get rid of the statement upsell. I want you to start thinking about right sell. How do I sell people what’s right for them? When you sell people what’s right for them, that’s how you get ahead.

It’s so cool, because just this last week, myself, I’ve been doing a leadership article for the virgin.com blog. It’s really cool that I got asked and invited by Sir Richard Branson to actually write for their blog. I write now, regularly for their blog. But the key thing I want you to understand is, I write stuff, or I do trainings that help people get ahead, by doing the right thing. Please stop selling stuff to people that doesn’t serve them. The only thing it does is create disdain in their minds, and distaste in their mouth. They will not do more business with you. All they will do is talk badly about you. I don’t want that to happen to you in any way or form.

So let’s get rocking and rolling about right selling, and how to right sell your customers every single time, and do the right thing for them.

Let’s say you had the cure for cancer. I’m not making any claims here. Let’s say you had the cure for cancer, and a patient sat across the table from you that had cancer. They got up from the table and walked away without you convincing them to buy your product. Now, I want you to ask yourself the question, have you done them a service, or a disservice. I can tell you, you’re probably thinking, I’ve done them one heck of a disservice. Absolutely, you’ve done them one heck of a disservice. I’m the same way about what I sell.

I know my trainings, my top business podcasts, my educational seminars will do so much for people. In fact, when people leave the room and don’t become part of our Make Your Mark family, I feel like I’ve done them a huge disservice because I can meet them 12 months afterwards, 18 months afterwards, and I’ll say, “How’s it going?” They’re like, “Ah, things are just terrible. I should have joined your program ages ago.” And I say, “It makes me so sad that people don’t get that.” But unfortunately, some people are in their own way. That’s one thing I want you to think about today. Are you in your own way about sales? Because if you are, you’ll never get sales to work for you. Remember, you’re not selling people stuff. You are giving them a service. You are doing them a service by selling your product or service to them because it’s going to aid them. It’s going to be the right thing for them. It’s going to help them get ahead in some way or form in their life.

I want you to think about that. It’s going to help them get ahead. I take the relationship of sales, and I divide it up into these segments. It goes sequentially. The first part is, you meet people and you enter into a conversation. The next step is, you ask questions. You listen, and you take notes. The next step is, you wait to hear what their pain points are, what their challenges are in terms of their life. And the next step is the fourth step. You give them a solution. Whether you have the solution or somebody else has the solution, great. You give them the solution or you’re going to refer them to somebody else that might have a solution for them. That’s what sales really is. You enter in a conversation. You listen. Wait to hear their pain or their challenges, and see if you have a solution to provide for them.

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If you don't have a solution for someone, point them towards someone who does. That's what sales is. Click To Tweet

Really, as a business owner, all you are is a solution provider to your customers. You’re not selling them stuff. Yes, theoretically, you are selling them. But the sad part is, people mess this formula up. This four step formula is, step one, they do great. They meet people, and they enter into a conversation. Step two is where they mess everything up, because most business owners never stop talking about who they are and what they do. I call this product puking.

How many of you’ve ever asked somebody, “So what do you do?” You might be at a networking event, and you say, “So what do you do?” And next thing you wish you’d never asked that question, because 10 minutes you’re still standing there, and they’re product puking all over you about the products and services they have. When really, what they should be doing is telling you what they do. And the next thing, asking a question and listening to you, because here’s the challenge, you cannot find your client’s problem or give them a solution or anything like that until you’ve listened to them and you find out what their problem is.

Most business owners talk way too much and never listen for how they can serve their customer by finding out what their problem, challenge is, or their pain is, and then giving them a solution to their pain. So I want you to think about this. Are you talking too much when you go out networking? Enter into conversations, always perfect. Step number one. Step number two, yes, you can tell them what you do. It might be 10 or 20 seconds. And then ask a question, sit back and listen. God gave us one mouth and two ears for a reason. We should be doing, I even think sometimes, quadruple the amount of listening than we do talking, because while you are talking, you can never find your customers’ pain or challenges. You cannot give them a solution. I hope that makes a lot of sense for you.

So, to me, the fundamentals of sales, it’s not even sales 101. It’s sales 001. Stop talking. Start listening, and you’ll start to find the problems and the challenges your clients have. And then all you become is this amazing solution provider to them who they love and adore, because you really cared about them. When you talk about all you do, it’s really your ego talking. When you sit back, ask questions and listen and take notes, and find solutions for them. That’s really caring for them as a prospect or customer. So make sure that you’re talking less, and listening more. And that your sales will change.

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I’m going to get into a couple of keys of business success, dig deeper into sales today as well. I want you to think about need versus true need. Just think about that for now. What is need versus true need? Let’s say I came to a weight loss coach, or a weight release coach, or a personal trainer, or what have you. And I came to you and I said, “Listen, I need to lose weight.” So guess what, that personal trainer gets me running, and gets me doing different things and fitness activities and eating healthy, and whatever it might be. My needs were, I needed to lose weight. When I’m running on the treadmill, and I’m running fast. I’m just about to puke or whatever the situation might be, he or she cannot motivate me to keep going by just saying, “You need to lose weight.” Remember you’re here to lose weight. Keep on running. Keep on running. Keep on running.” When they find out what my true need is, very different.

A need is one thing. True need is the deeper emotion attached to the need. Let me say that again. The true need is the deeper emotion attached to the need. I want you to think about this in absolute detail. So, when I go to that personal trainer. And if any personal trainer is listening or anyone who does intake forms. One of the questions you should have on your intake form is, “What do you want to learn? Or what do you want to achieve while you’re here?” “I need to lose weight. I want to lose 15 pounds.” Beautiful. The next question should be, and make sure you have this. “Why do you need to lose weight? Where is it impacting you in your life?” That person fills out a little paragraph of where it’s impacting them.

Maybe they cannot run and play with their grandkids, or their kids go running down the road or down the beach, and they cannot keep up with them, because they’re not fit and healthy. They’ve got too much weight. What have you? Now you know what their true need is? Their need is lose weight. Their true need, I want to run with my kids. I want to have fun with my kids. I cannot do that right now because of this excess weight I’m carrying, and because of how unfit I am. So now, when that person’s on the treadmill running, and they want to give up. And they’re like, “I’m so tired. I’m so tired.” The personal trainer says to that person. “Keep running. Your kids are waiting for you.” There’s a deep emotional need, a true need that’ll keep that person motivated and excited to keep on running.

I want you to think about this, every client you meet this week or every prospect you meet this week, ask questions. When you walk out, ask yourself, what was their true need? Everybody has a true need. We either buy to avoid a pain, or we buy to invoke a pleasure. Majority of us, 95% of us buy to avoid a pain. I hear people train this all the time. Find a person’s need and sell to their need. No. Find a person’s need, dig deeper, find the emotional true need. Keep them motivated to their goal by talking to their true need.

So let me give you an example of this. Maybe, a person, let’s just say, is a realtor. There’s two different realtors. This is such a cool example. Now, I hope this really makes sense for you. And this doesn’t matter what it is, whether you sell a product or a service, these examples, I want you to relate purely to your own life as well. This lady is living in a house, and the house is now up for sale. She goes to realtor A, and says to realtor A, “I need to find a two bedroom, two bathroom condo close to schools, walking distance to the stores, or what have you.” So realtor A says, “Awesome. I can do that for you.” So realtor A goes off. Then realtor B comes in, and the lady says, “I need to move out of my house. I’m going from a single family home to a two bedroom, two bathroom condo close to schools and walking distance from stores.”

Realtor B says, though, one key question. “Why do you need to move from your beautiful home to a two bedroom condo?” Question mark. The lady gets into all the depth. You know what, actually, I’m renting the home. Now the home’s on the market. Our landlord keeps on putting the house up. It hasn’t sold, but I don’t have any security. I’ve got my two kids. It’s just so frustrating for me to be in this situation. I just want to move into a condo where I can afford to buy the condo, and I can walk to the stores. And my kids can walk to school and what have you as well. I just want to have safety, security, and I don’t want to have this challenge of my house being sold, and have my carpet ripped out from underneath my feet.” So realtor B understands the true need of the lady versus realtor A.

On Friday afternoon, let’s say a week later, realtor A phones and leaves a voicemail for the lady. And says to the lady, “I’ve found four two bedroom, two bathroom condos close to schools, close to stores. I would like to take you out on Saturday afternoon from two until five pm, and go and show you some condos.” Pretty standard voicemail.

Realtor B phones and leaves a really powerful voicemail. Let’s say the lady’s name was Mary. “Hi, Mary. It’s realtor B here. I cannot wait to assist you to get the security and safety that you really want for your family, to stop that concern that you have of that rug being pulled out from under your feet. I have four two bedroom, two bathroom condos that I’d like to take you to and show you on Saturday afternoon, and really make sure that your kids are looked after, and you get that roof over your head. You’ll never have to have any concern about that again.” Leaves the voicemail.

Now, which one of those realtors would you phone back? Absolutely, about everybody listening would say, “I would phone back realtor B. Why? Because realtor B talks to my true need. So the takeaway from today is, are you talking to your clients’ true needs? Do you even know what your clients’ true needs are? Or your prospects true needs are? When you go out after listening to this, every single meeting you have, every phone call you have with a client or a prospect, every meeting you have with a client or prospect, ask yourself, “What’s that prospect’s true need? Or client’s true need when you get off the phone or away from that meeting? And if you cannot answer that, you’re just filling a need. And then you cannot keep people motivated to truly why they wanted your product or service in the first place, because when they want to cancel or stop or not buy from you, you go back and you talk to that true need.

So let me give you an example of this. Let’s just say it’s in my business. This stuff happens. I’ll be really upfront with you. We have thousands upon thousands of clients trained, over 49,000 business owners. The one thing I want you to think about is, we have a phone call. So we know the true need of all our clients. We have a questionnaire that clients do with us. We understand what their true need is. So when people phone the office and say, “I need to cancel my package. Or I need to cancel out of the program.” We go on and we look at their true need. Their true need might’ve been, “I need to have a more successful business.” The true need, of course, is way deeper, way more emotional. Let’s say in this case, the true need is, “I just need to have my business more successful because I’ve started so many businesses. I’ve spent so much money. My spouse is disappointed in me. I’m an embarrassment to my family. It’s now starting to challenge my relationships.”

So when that person phones in and says, “I want to cancel my package.” We don’t say to them, “Hey, we need you to stay on the program, because you need to have a more successful business.” We talk to their emotion of why they got involved in the first place. We say, “You know what, I remember when you joined the program. You said that you’d already started many businesses and that you had failed at those. They weren’t working out for you. Now you feel like you’re an embarrassment to your family. It’s causing stress on your relationships. Let’s get you to overcome all of those. Show up for your meetings. Show up for your trainings. Let’s get you back on track.” And the person might have missed some trainings or missed some programs. All of the sudden they’re like, “You know what? That’s right. That’s why I joined. I want to stay in the program, and keep on moving.”

We’ve done this so many times, reengaged people by speaking to the true need of why they joined our program in the first place. So the same thing for you in your business whether it’s a product or service, what was the true need of why your customers bought that product or service in the first place? When you know that? My goodness, can you reengage people, keep them engaged, keep them motivated, keep them inspired to achieving the results that they want. I trust that that makes sense for you today. So please, in all cases, be speaking to people’s true need. Speaking to their true need really helps get them to that next level in every way and form.

The next topic I’m going to speak to you about today on this business podcast, and I want you to really engage in this, is urgency and scarcity. Now, you might be thinking, “What is urgency and scarcity.” So we’ve got need versus true need happening to understand that sales is not bad. Sales is absolutely awesome. Sales is all about building relationships. And if you don’t like building relationships, you probably shouldn’t be in a business, because business is all about building relationships with your customers, and them building relationships with other people, bring them in for you, bringing you more referrals, getting your business growing. Business is all relationships. To me, life is all relationships. That’s all that sales is. If you have kids, you’re probably in hyper negotiation if you have young kids. The average kid asks for something 14 times before they give up. The average adult asks for something once in their business and gives up. Yet, 84% of all sales are made on the seventh to the 12th ask. Listen to that again. 84% of all sales are made on the 7th to 12th ask. And most business owners only ask for the sale once, and then give up.

Children are amazing. Please don’t ever tell your children to stop asking for stuff. Let them keep on asking because it really gets them to be great business owners in the future, really gets them to be great business owners in the future. If you want to keep on pushing that down, eventually you’re going to send them to me when they become in their 20s or 30s or 40s. They’ll come to me and they’ll say, “Colin, I need some training.” And I have to untrain them to make sure they ask more, because asking is not a problem. To me, ask is the best three letter word in all business. Ask is your task to ask for what you want. It’s really important. Sales is awesome. Sales is there to serve people — to help them get ahead. Get them to the next level, and make sure that they’re using your product or service to do that.

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Ask is the best three letter word in business. Click To Tweet

Let’s talk about urgency and scarcity. One of my favorite topics, and this is what you should be talking about every single day. When you wake up in the day, you should be asking yourself, “What urgency and scarcity am I creating today?” When you write proposals, when you go out to clients, what have you? So I’m going to give you some key topics here. I want you to write this down. Urgency and scarcity are only there to prevent procrastination. Urgency and scarcity are only there to prevent procrastination. “You can join my program whenever you want. You can get this price whenever you want.” People will never take action. If you do not like scarcity and urgency, then something’s wrong. You don’t use it to manipulate people. You use it to stop them procrastinating. That’s a key thing. This is how you apply scarcity and urgency.

I want you to think about what you can limit to create urgency and scarcity. So please make sure you write these down. You can limit the time that the offer is available for. You can limit the quantity. You can limit the offer. You can limit the guarantee. You can limit the bonuses. You can limit the price. You can limit the packaging. So many different things you can limit to create urgency. Remember, it’s just there to stop people procrastinating. I want you to think about this. So for me, when I was working with a very good friend of mine John Kirkoff who became a client, and then became an extremely good friend, one thing that John did that is so awesome. He said to me, “Colin, I want to work with you one-on-one to help my business get ahead.” We’ve taken his business from a $400,000 construction company, boutique construction company to multi-multi million dollar company in the last four, five years. And here’s the reason why.


He started to create urgency and scarcity. He learned this from me in his previous business. His previous business was running roll screens, roll shutters, awnings, canopies or just coverings for people’s decks and patios. He said to me, “Colin, my patio company, or my coverings company is not doing very well. I’m doing like $188,000 a year. I want to get this thing ahead.” I said, “John, what is your urgency and scarcity when you visit your customers.

So he says, “What do you mean by this?” I said, “Well, when you go and you do a quotation for a 20 foot awning. You visit the client, you do all the measurements, you give them a quotation. What is getting them to stop procrastinating to move ahead with it? They’ve called you in for a reason. They want the awning. They want you to put this awning out over their deck. He said, “I don’t do anything.” I said, “Well, you need to maybe limit the quantity.” So he said, “What do you mean by that?” I said, “Well, these awnings are coming from Europe.” And I’m always about integrity marketing and being genuine with people, no playing games with people. So I said, “How many of the 20 foot awnings, do you have in stock?” He says, “Well, I have about four in stock right now.”

So I said, “Great. When you’re with them say, ‘Right now, I have four in stock. I can allocate one to you immediately with a 50% deposit. And I can have it installed within the next week. If you wait and other ones get sold out, I have to order from Europe and wait for the next container to come in. It’s going to be eight weeks before you get your awning. Do you want it this week? Or do you want it in eight weeks time?'” Majority of people are like, “The sun is shining. I want it this week.” “Great, give me the 50% deposit, or I cannot allocate one of those ones I have in stock for you.” That’s not manipulating or forcing people. That’s stopping them from procrastinating. Please understand this.

So John started to do this, and I spoke to him every morning, Monday to Friday. My first question would be, “What are you doing to create urgency today in your business, John?” And he was like, “Colin, you know what? I need to create more urgency.”

So let me give an example for you what he did in his construction business. In his construction business, the same thing. He sent out these beautiful proposals maybe to do a reno for someone’s home. He would look at this proposal to do the reno, and you’d send them out and what have you. And of course, what do most people put at the end of all their proposals, this little paragraph. It drives me bananas. It’s like, “I trust my proposal meets with your favorable approval, and I look forward to you making a decision and moving forward with me as soon as possible.” There’s no urgency in that. There’s nothing in that proposal that says, “Take action. Stop procrastinating.” So I said, John, what we’re going to do, same proposal. Just change the one paragraph at the end.

I hope you’re all thinking about this, and I hope you’re thinking about what this can do for you in your business, because you should be thinking. If you’re on your way to see a client and you’re listening to this, what urgency and scarcity am I creating? Or you’re going to see clients tomorrow or prospects. So John changed the final paragraph to the following. He said, at the end he was like … What he wrote was, “I am devoted to giving my clients quality products. I am devoted to giving my clients quality service. And at any given time, I am only ever doing three renovations to ensure I consistently deliver on my quality and service, period.” Next sentence. “Right now, I have space for one customer, for one renovation project, that I can take on. Outside of that, you’ll have to wait eight weeks before I can start your project. If you want me to start right away, call me immediately. Let’s get your project moving, period.”

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What urgency or scarcity are you creating in your business? Click To Tweet

Guess what? The phone rings immediately, “John, I want that final spot. Let’s get it going. Guess what? That’s how you get clients to take action. It’s not manipulating. It’s not being disingenuous. It’s being committed to them so they move ahead, and you can get them moving right now, and stop them procrastinating. I cannot stress to you how important urgency and scarcity is in your business. So you’ve often seen this. You see this in people that maybe do seminars. They have early bird specials on a certain price. They have a early, early bird special, whatever it is. All these different things, and as the time expires, so do those offers expire. They’re like, “Oh, I didn’t get that offer.” Every store that’s very good at this kind of stuff, uses urgency and scarcities, store, companies, what have you, to get people to stop procrastinating.

So I want to ask you this again, what are you doing in your business on a daily basis? The first question you should ask in your business, after you’ve done your gratitudes and everything else when you wake up in the morning. The first question you should ask before you go near a client or a customer to promote anything is to say, “How am I going to create urgency and scarcity with this today?” Because when you start to create urgency and scarcity, that’s when people make commitments today. That’s when he got his 50% deposits up front. Otherwise, he’d be like, “Oh, Colin, this is crazy.”

I never forget starting to work with John. I took his proposals. I said, “John, give me all your proposals.” I just started phoning his proposals. We just started creating urgency and scarcity in each proposal that he never created urgency and scarcity on. And guess what, out of 40 proposals, 35 people became customers. Why? Because all of the sudden, that urgency was there for them to move ahead, take action, and get the product installed.

So I hope this really helps you today about limiting the time, limit the quantity, limit the offer, the guarantee, the bonuses, the packaging, the pricing, whatever it might be, you can limit something to get your clients to move ahead.

A very good example of this was last year. It doesn’t matter when you listen to this business podcast, let’s say last year, I had a client in the insurance industry. There were big changes coming up in January of the following year. So, that gave him something to get clients to take action on. He says, “Well, I need to get your application in before next year, because otherwise, you cannot be grandfathered into this program because they’re changing all the rules around this whole life program called shared ownership. So he went out to see his clients. His clients were like, “Oh, I’ll do the application later.” He said, “You won’t get it in in time. You won’t be grandfathered, and then you’ll never get the benefit of taking profits out of your company tax free using insurance strategies. People sat down, filled out the applications. Got the things done, why? Because that date in January was a trigger point to create urgency. In your industries, if laws are changing, rules are changing, whatever it might be, that’s a reason to create urgency to get people to take action and stop procrastinating.

I really trust that you’ve found this awesome today. I want you to think about this as you go through this podcast or any of our small business podcasts. I am all about getting you to the next level. Remember, take action. I’ll also ask, if you got immense benefits, and that you’re getting immense benefits from these small business podcasts, make sure you give us a review, please. Go on immediately, do a review on iTunes, do a rating for us, and do a favorable rating, favorable review. I cannot thank you enough for helping us become one of the top business podcasts on iTunes. I’ll thank you in advance for that. I’ll be on a new show in about a week’s time. Here’s the thing though, so from today, I want you to really get it. Most importantly right sell people. Don’t upsell people. Listen not just to people’s needs, but find out what their true needs are. Dig deep, because when you find the true needs, you can keep them motivated and inspired to doing what they need to get done in order to get the results that they’re looking for.

That’s most important. And remember, you’re there just serving them. If you don’t sell them what you have, you haven’t served them. You never want to tell them what they’re going to do. But make sure you’re always serving your clients, because when they get up and walk away from you, if they have not bought from you, you are not serving them. And then, in every way and form, on a daily basis, create scarcity and urgency. Use the different limitations to ensure that people are taking action so that you can serve them, so they can use your product or service to get to the next level. Thank you so much for an awesome, awesome episode. I look forward to chatting with you soon through one of our next small business podcasts, and also to interviewing our next guest expert coming up as well. Please make sure, if you’ve got immense benefit from this, give us a raving review, and give us a raving rating. Thank you so much for making MYM one of the best business podcasts. I wish you a fantastic, fantastic week ahead. Goodbye.