Yet Another (ex-)VC Blog

Cloud computing, entrepreneurship, and venture capital

The compelling event

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Many sales, investments, and business development deals come to be because of a compelling event.

What is a compelling event?

Simply put, its something that happens that makes your product/service/investment proposal so attractive that the customer, potential partner, or potential investor move from “interested” to “buyer”.

Some examples of compelling events in a sales context:

  • Exploding product discounts: “We’ll give you 25% off list price but only if you buy before the end of the quarter.”
  • Technology upgrade cycles: (Example:) Enterprise IT departments typically replace servers every 3 years.  If you are a new server vendor trying to displace an incumbent, this would be a good time to tell your story to the customer.
  • End of fiscal year:  Many companies havea “use it or lose it” approach to budgeting, meaning any money not spent in the current fiscal year cannot be carried over to the new fiscal year and is lost to the business unit.  Also, the business unit runs the risk of receiving less budget in the following year because its often assumed that since the money was unspent, it wasn’t needed.  This is a great time to approach customers to see if any of that spend can be directed your way.

…and in an investment context:

  • Signing a big customer: Is that investor on the fence?  If you bring in a big deal, the investor may want to invest and you may be able to get better terms.
  • Getting your first term sheet: If you’ve got one term sheet, you’ve got a better chance of getting a second term sheet than if you had no term sheets.  Especially if that first term sheet is exploding.  And two term sheets is going to mean you’ll most likely get more favorable terms than if you just had one.

These are just examples but my point is that you always want to think about ways to create compelling events, or leverage events around you to make what you’re selling compelling to your potential buyer.

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Written by John Gannon

January 22, 2009 at 9:04 pm

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  1. The is Craig Elias the creator of Trigger Event Selling.

    John’s comments about events that create buyers is BANG ON!

    Too many people focus on the pain a buyer is in BUT the pain has been around for so long or too so long to develop that the emotion related to the problem is long been diminished.

    Married men going bald don’t buy Rogaine until they experience an event that triggers their emotion – getting a divorce.

    If you want to identify the best ‘Trigger Event’s for the products or services that you sell you can download the template and instructions on how to use it at http://www.WonSalesAnalysis.com.

    Feel free to call my cell phone (+1.403.874.2998) or Skype me (Craig.Elias) if you have any questions about how to harness the ‘Trigger Events’ aka compelling events that turn prospects into customers.

    Craig Elias
    Creator of Trigger Event Selling

    Like

  2. [...] on Trigger Events. A little while ago I came across an interesting blog post related that mentioned compelling events, by John Gannon an associate at the venture capital firm L. Capital [...]

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