This is part of a series of information/stories delivered from the INCREDIBLE book, “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion” by Robert Cialdini. If you work or live a life where you have to get people to do thing, Influence studies and explains the 6 most powerful forces to persuade people. No other book has been recommended to me more, by people smarter than both of us.
In short, they are:
2) Social proof
3) Commitment & Consistency
4) Liking: People prefer to say ” yes” to those they know
And they will be a game changer for you and your business.
Today we elaborate on Scarcity.
Principle 6: Scarcity – The Rule of the Few. The way to love anything is to realist that it might be lost.
Since that encounter with the scarcity principle—that opportunities seem more valuable to us when their availability is limited—I have begun to notice its influence over a whole range of my actions. For instance, I routinely will interrupt an interesting face-to-face conversation to answer the ring of an unknown caller. In such a situation, the caller has a compelling feature that my face-to-face partner does not: potential unavailability. If I don’t take the call, I might miss it (and the information it carries) for good. Never mind that the ongoing conversation may be highly engaging or important—much more than I could reasonably expect an average phone call to be. With each unanswered ring, the phone interaction becomes less retrievable. For that reason and for that moment, I want it more than the other.
The idea of potential loss plays a large role in human decision making. In fact, people seem to be more motivated by the thought of losing something than by the thought of gaining something of equal value. For instance, homeowners told how much money they could lose from inadequate insulation are more likely to insulate their homes than those told how much money they could save.
With the scarcity principle operating so powerfully on the worth we assign things, it is natural that compliance professionals will do some related operating of their own. Probably the most straightforward use of the scarcity principle occurs in the “limited-number” tactic, when the customer is informed that a certain product is in short supply that cannot be guaranteed to last long. “This is one of only two unsold corner lots in the entire development.
You wouldn’t want the other one; it’s got a nasty east-west exposure.” “You may want to think seriously about buying more than one case today because production is backed way up and there’s no telling when we’ll get any more in.”
Related to the limited-number technique is the “deadline” tactic, in which some official time limit is placed on the customer’s opportunity to get what the compliance professional is offering. The adept merchandiser makes this tendency pay off by arranging and publicizing customer deadlines.
Orestes J. Mihaly, the New York assistant attorney general in charge of the bureau of investor protection and securities, said the companies often operate in three stages. First, Mihaly said, comes the “opening call,” in which a salesman identifies himself as representing a company with an impressive-sounding name and address. He will simply ask the potential customer to receive the company’s literature. A second call involves a sales pitch, Mihaly said. The salesman first describes the great profits to be made and then tells the customer that it is no longer possible to invest. The third call gives the customer a chance to get in on the deal, he said, and is offered with a great deal of urgency.
“The idea is to dangle a carrot in front of the buyer’s face and then take it away,” Mihaly said. “The aim is to get someone to want to buy quickly, without thinking too much about it.” Sometimes, Mihaly said, the salesman will be out of breath on the third call and will tell the customer that he “just came off the trading floor.”
A variant of the deadline tactic is much favored by some face-to-face, high-pressure sellers because it carries the purest form of decision deadline: right now. Customers are often told that unless they make an immediate decision to buy, they will have to purchase the item at a higher price or they will be unable to purchase it at all. A prospective health-club member or automobile buyer might learn that the deal offered by the salesperson is good only for that one time; should the customer leave the premises, the deal is off. A home vacuum-cleaner operation I infiltrated instructed its sales trainees to claim, “I have so many other people to see that I have the time to visit a family only once. It’s company policy that even if you decide later that you want this machine, I can’t come back and sell it to you.”