As a stern former English teacher, launch stall is high on my list of things that make me lower my spectacles and scowl. Even under the best of circumstances, it’s inconsiderate, but it’s not just an annoying hiccup in a vacuum. Launch stall has the potential to create a host of problems for small agencies and their clients.

A dithering client can do serious damage to a small tech company. When a project stalls, invoices are delayed and profitability is diminished. Ensuing project bottlenecks damage your agency’s reputation among clients who are waiting for your undivided attention to move forward with their own projects. Whether it’s your agency’s fault or not, launch stall breeds resentment, compromising future partnerships and creating workplace dissatisfaction.

So how do you combat launch stall and keep projects moving efficiently?

By creating urgency.

Urgency is one of the most effective weapons in a copywriter’s arsenal, and we don’t limit its use to marketing campaigns. Try these three techniques to build urgency before you begin a project and meet the problem of launch stall head on.

Require an early investment

Ask clients to make a downpayment in order to secure a place in your busy schedule. This sends the message early that your time has value and limits. It also serves as a reminder that you have other clients who have likewise invested in your time. This is important in the next step.

Provide a timeline with sharp edges

When you’re working up your proposal, include set deadlines for all stakeholders. Let clients know that these deadlines are to protect their time and to protect the time of other clients who are eagerly awaiting your expert services. Caution clients that should they delay beyond the agreed upon schedule, the agreed upon project launch date can no longer be guaranteed. You can’t punish scheduled clients for stalled clients’ procrastination.

Show them the competition

Provide an evaluation of your clients’ competition during the discovery process, including a competitor who is miles ahead in their marketing and online presence. Often, seeing a rival’s superior site or campaign gives clients the kick in the pants they need to stay on task. If your client seems to be stalling out, you can gently nudge them by reminding them that every day they aren’t moving forward, their competitor is gaining ground.

When it comes to launch stall, creating a sense of urgency can push hesitant clients through to the finish line. What tactics does your agency use to keep clients motivated?