The Power of Deadlines

In the accounting profession, there are a ton of deadlines.  Month-end, quarter-end, and year-end.  Payroll taxes, sales taxes, and corporate taxes.   And extension deadlines, filing deadlines, and payment deadlines, to name just a few.

All of these deadlines may be a headache to business owners and accountants alike, but they are a marketer’s dream come true.   How can you use deadlines to your advantage in marketing your services?  And what if you are selling a service that is not in the accounting profession?  We’ll answer these questions in this article and provide you with 5 ways to woo your prospect with deadlines.

1. Add compliance deadlines to your marketing message.

First, take a look to see if you have any deadlines you can leverage in your industry, and bring them into your marketing message.   Here are some examples:

“February 14th is Valentine’s Day.  Go home with one dozen roses for her.”

“Who is preparing your W-2s this year?  Did you know they are due end of January?”

“Hurry!  Only 10 days left until Christmas.”

“Will you be ready for the IRS by April 15th?”

In your elevator speech, it’s much more powerful for the prospect to be asked whether they have their W-2s handled versus you simply bullet-point listing the services they offer when you first meet a prospect.  Your prospect will be instantly engaged because you positioned your message in their world.

2. Fabricate deadlines that reward fast action.

“Register by March 10th and save $100.”

“You’ll get 3 bonuses if you act by midnight.”

“I’ll give you 25% off if you decide before you get off the phone with me.”

“The first 10 people to sign up get an autographed picture of the celebrity.”

One saying I learned from the internet marketing world is that “Money loves speed.”  I don’t know who first said this, so please let me know if you know so I can properly attribute it.   I love to reward my early purchasers, especially for my events.   Offer discounts to individuals who register early or take the first version of a product.  The go up on your price as the product matures or the event approaches.

Make these fabricated deadlines as real as you can, so that they are believable and don’t feel arbitrary.

3. Offer payment plans that expire early.

This is something I noticed that Lisa Sasevich does with her promotions.  She offers numerous generous payment plans initially, then the longer ones disappear as the promotions progress.  For example, the deadline to sign up for the 5-payment plan might expire on February 1, the 3-payment plan disappears on February 15, and the 2-payment plan is no longer available after March 1.

4. The more deadlines, the more sales.

Department stores have long had a sale during every holiday weekend.  They know the more deadline-driven sales days they can pack into their annual promotion calendar, the more sales they will generate.  It works for other businesses too.  The more deadlines you can pack into your promotion, the more sales will peak at each deadline.

5. The shorter the deadline, the more sales.

Not surprisingly, peoples’ attention spans are getting shorter and shorter.   If they don’t buy right away, they might never get back to remembering about your amazing offer.   Give people enough time to act, but not so much time that they forget.  A few days, no more than a week, is a good window for most purchase decisions.

Think about how you act when there is and is not a deadline.  Every year, there is a line of cars at the main post office just before midnight on April 14th.  Every year, there are shoppers that close down the stores on Christmas Eve.  These two are the mother and father of all deadlines, but there’s no denying that deadlines of any kind move people off their couches.

Try incorporating deadlines in your marketing messages and materials, and you might just be amazed at the difference a little deadline makes in your bottom line.