How to Overcome Your ‘Urgency Addiction’
Capitalize opportunities in sales and marketing by developing patience and overcoming your urgency.
How to Overcome Your ‘Urgency Addiction’ By John Pojeta
The Stanford Marshmallow Experiment is legendary in psychology circles. Researchers would bring a child into a room and place a marshmallow on the table. They would explain that the child could have the one marshmallow now, or if he or she waited, the reward would be two marshmallows. Researchers then tracked participants over the course of their lives and found that the children who waited performed significantly better in life—higher SAT scores, more income and so forth.
The sales world, like most industries tied to business growth, can feel like it’s full of snake oil—with people promising how to get your marshmallow and get it quickly. Every hilltop has its own guru, touting a magical system or a few secret tricks that will unlock unfathomable increases in client numbers. Of course, you want your business to grow, but you naturally hesitate. You don’t want to come across as a sleazy sales guy, and you certainly do not want to undermine
your reputation by staking your business on the latest sales gimmick.
When you talk to clients, you likely encourage them to take methodical and consistent approaches to managing their finances. You know the spiel: Think about the long-term, the big picture. Save monthly. Set aside a little more money each year. Don’t panic if there’s a dip in the stock market. Wait for the one marshmallow to become two, etc.
When clients have an addiction to urgency, you know how quickly that can create problems. As a result, much of your process and discussion are likely aimed at steering them away from those rocks. We see our own clients—advisors like you—falling into the same types of traps with their own growth plans.
That snake-oil sales world preys upon advisors who have the same type of urgency addiction. Advisors who demand an immediate return on any piece of marketing they use are more susceptible to big promises and slick marketing than others.
Effective sales and marketing
The most effective sales and marketing mindset (which is also the anti-snake oil mindset) will have the following qualities:
- You continue your marketing activity when it works. We often see advisors who start to see a return on their marketing and then turn the faucet off as soon as they get busy. Yes, growth can create new challenges for your schedule and internal processes, but stopping and starting your marketing cripples your momentum and stunts that exponential growth opportunity that we mentioned at the top of the article.
- You refuse to be spooked if your marketing does not produce an instant return. Any new behavior or activity has a "ramp-up period. Just as you become frustrated with a client who wants to pull out after 18 months of working with you, so, too, do we get frustrated when an advisor does not give a program time to bear fruit. Growing pains are real, and if you really want to achieve new sales records, you should be willing to get your nose bloodied a bit as you take on bigger challenges.
- You stay the course even if your budget changes. The expression "lean into adversity" applies to marketing and sales as well. We are big advocates of smart budget management, but when it comes to marketing, a budget conversation should also include growth potential. If you hit a dry-spell—perhaps because of a market shift or an internal change in your business—pausing your marketing could actually mean losing even more revenue. When times are tough, push your marketing. Don’t back off when others do.
When you can overcome your urgency addiction, you position your business for capitalizing on opportunities that your competitors will not have the patience or grit to seize. These are the kinds of sales and marketing advantages that snake-oil salesmen claim to understand but never realize. They grabbed the first marshmallow and refuse to let it go.
John Pojeta is vice president of business development at The PT Services Group. He researches new types of business and manages and initiates strategic, corporate-level relationships to expand exposure for The PT Services Group. Pojeta joined The PT Services Group in 2011. Before that, he owned and operated an Ameriprise Financial Services franchise for 16 years.
This article appeared in Advisor Today.