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October 12, 2010
The Critical Difference Between Urgency and Hype
When you're self-employed or run a small business, it can seem hard to get people to purchase now. You've got a beautiful offer, one that really makes a difference to your clients, and many people are considering it. 

But they don't buy. 

We live urgent lives

It's a sad fact that many people run on empty, with too little down time, lurching from one urgency to another. No matter how good your offer is, you need to add some urgency to get your clients' attention.

Ugh, really? Isn't that hype? There's a really healthy tendency in your heart to avoid hype. In your own marketing, it's not something to "get over" or some "issue" to work through. That is solid guidance you want to heed: Don't hype people.

However, urgency isn't a bad thing. You just don't want to cross that line, so let's get clear about that line.

My spiritual teacher at 3 a.m.

On my spiritual path, we do all-night retreats from time to time, drinking in the beauty available in the stillness of 3 a.m. The challenge, for me, is that on normal nights I'm asleep by 10 p.m. and grouchy if I'm up later.

I'm not alone in that. When we're on a retreat, and there's a bunch of us who are snoring in our beds, my spiritual teacher does something. He shouts. He often stands right behind me when he does.

Awake! Suddenly, we're all sitting up, paying attention, and getting back into our practices. Gratefully not sleeping through that beautiful time.

He only needed to shout once. Awake, I could bring my attention back to my heart and continue with the retreat.

Urgency is a wake-up call

That's what urgency does: It wakes people up and says, "Don't sleep through this! Pay attention!"

When does it become hype? If you keep shouting after you wake them.

If people think they are going to miss something they want, and you let them know, that's urgency. It may be a deadline before your price goes up, or it may be having only a few seats left that wakes someone up.

It becomes hype if you keep shouting instead of returning them to their heart. "We only have five more, and the first 10 sold in the past two days. If you don't buy now, you'll miss out forever on all the benefits, and you'll be stuck in your lousy life forever, broken, miserable, and doomed. Miss this chance, and you'll never get another one. Click here to buy now."

You think I'm being silly here, and I am. However, many manipulative sales techniques aren't very far from what I wrote, even if they make it sound nicer. Notice how I ramped up the emotion and the sense of loss right up to the purchase? That's hype.

Someone who struggles with an issue and feels helpless about ever fixing it can buy in a panic. That's what your own heart never wants you to do.

Tthat doesn't mean you should avoid urgency. It's OK to wake people up; just return them to their heart once their eyes open.

For instance, "We only have five more, and the first 10 sold in the past two days. If you've been thinking about whether you want one or not, now is the time to decide if it's right for you." This is urgency. It wakes people up, and then returns them to their heart.

Without urgency, your offers will be put aside by well-meaning people who intend to get to them when they have a spare moment. Except that moment rarely comes.

By adding urgency, you can help people who know they could use it and make space in their lives for the great work you do. Don't let the fear of hype scare you off from using urgency in a heart-centered way.

Your clients, the ones who really need what you offer, are waiting for you to help them get what they need.

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Mark Silver is the founder of Heart of Business and a successful business teacher and healer, who brings an active connection with the Divine to his work. He has run a magazine, worked as a paramedic, operated a distribution business, been an activist, and worked in the nonprofit arena. He has failed horribly in business, and he has succeeded beautifully, each in turn. Mark lives in Portland, Oregon with his wife Holly; their twin sons, Sam and David; two cats, Rafi and Kira; and as much rain as you care to soak up

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