It’s quite normal for salespeople to become frustrated when their prospects are casual about moving forward. You’ve got to focus on more than the weather to stir folks to action. Today I’ll provide two suggestions to create off-season urgency and they revolve around relationships and pain.

First, as an example, let’s say you have a friend who has a pretty wild lifestyle. He smokes, drinks too much, and has put on an extra 50 pounds over the last couple years because of his poor diet. Here’s the question to ask. Is he more likely to alter his lifestyle because his friends tell him he needs to make changes and live healthier; or when he has a heart attack? This is a no brainer. He won’t change until someone calls 911 and the EMS bus hauls him to the ER.

The point is that people move much more quickly away from pain than they move toward pleasure. So all the positive solutions salespeople verbalize are not nearly as powerful as focusing on and emphasizing the pain of their current situation.

In addition to pain, another motivator for decision making is relationships. People are more likely to take advice from those whom they feel comfortable around and have trust in. The bad news is that relationships can’t be properly built in only a few minutes.

With that said, let’s discuss relationships and pain as pressure points salespeople can employ to help create urgency.

Develop a relationship – As I already mentioned you can’t build relationships in minutes. The good news is that during your off-season you can slow down and devote more time to people. It’s just like with your kids/grandkids; time equals deeper relationships, so chat ‘em up! To  help jump start your conversation, consider using the timeless acronym, F.O.R.M. If you’ve forgotten, the letters stand for Family, Occupation, Recreation, and Material Possessions. Ask questions from these four areas of their life to help determine who they really are and what is important to them. Since people buy from those they like and who like them; be likable. As always, ask don’t tell.

Ask your prospects’ advice. Look around their environment and find something they are obviously interested in and ask their advice about it. It’s not important whether you’re interested in it or not. For example, if I’m at your house and see a display case of pocket knives, I’ll might ask your advice about how I would get started collecting knives if I decided to do that. I might follow up by asking which brands are most likely to increase in value over time. Consider even jotting down a few notes from what is said, in order to make them feel special. I assure you that a combination of these two strategies will grow a relationship quicker than you might think.

Earn their trust – To strengthen relationships you should attempt to earn the trust of others. People trust those who have high character and high competence. The word character is thrown around a lot but specifically means, “the mental and moral qualities that are distinctive to an individual.” Attributes such as empathy, courage, fortitude, honesty, and loyalty are all character components and will earn trust.

Now look at the second element that prospects also desire; high competence. They must know you can do the job properly and completely. Here’s an example of what I mean. A few months ago I somehow became afflicted with a detached retina in my left eye. My optometrist immediately referred me to a retinal surgeon for the needed emergency surgery. I would have preferred my wife, who is an RN with great character, but she isn’t qualified to perform surgery.

When prospects realize you have distinctive moral qualities (character) AND also know what you are doing in your particular occupation (competence), your trust meter will really spike.


Find and solve emotional pain – I often tell sellers that people buy on emotion and then justify their purchase with logic. To sell successfully, lean into the emotional aspect and recognize that you can’t win with facts alone. Here’s how to accomplish this:

  • Determine the prospect’s pain with a solid inspection, open question interview, and empathetic conversation.
  • Irritate the pain by asking two questions. What is the real life impact of this issue on your life? How does it make you feel?
  • Solve the pain by presenting your service and make a recommendation. Tell them why you are making it (earlier you said…), and remind them which emotional pain you are resolving.

This Weldon Long quote says it all: “You can make a living solving problems. You can make a fortune solving emotional pain.”

This strategy is a really good way to “break the code” to creating off-season urgency and sales attainment. This is a good way to ensure you are able to over-winter successfully.

————Exceeded $1 Million in Sales in Year Two!————

“Doug Robinson’s book $ell is Not a Four Letter Word, coupled with his online coaching sessions are the perfect combination for sales professionals. Whether used as a weapon against the low-priced incompetent competitor, or as a tool to build value to the customer, Doug’s common sense techniques deliver! Thank you Doug for all you’ve helped me accomplish!”

Chad Johnson, Cooper’s Plumbing and Air



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