Tell them they can’t have it, and they will come running for it.

I think that advice works best with dating, not that I am an expert in relationships or anything, but hey consumers are also human. 😉

“The way to love anything is to realize that it might be lost.”

G. K. Chesterton

Haven’t you noticed? When one partner says, “I am done, I am not accepting this,” and moves on, the other partner in the relationship who might have been taking his/her partner for granted realizes what s/he is about to lose, or perhaps even just lost?

That my friend is called scarcity.

The “scarcity” consumer behavior principle says,

“Opportunities seem more valuable to us when their availability is limited.”

 Robert B Cialdini, Influence

Scarcity is so powerful. It makes you see what you are going to lose if you haven’t already lost it. You don’t want to lose something you love. Nobody does.

“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.”  —Robert B Cialdini, Influence

How can you use the scarcity principle in your business?

1. The “limited number” tactic

Can you recall anything you have bought that was a “limited edition”? A car, perfumes, shoes, dresses, maybe? I know I like some special things, on which only the limited few have access to. Don’t you?

2. The “limited time” tactic

Scarcity could also be from a time perspective. How else people go crazy shopping on Black Friday? The sale is happening, but also for a limited time, so grab what you want while you can.

3. The “deadline” tactic

Tick-tock, the clock is ticking. You know you wanted to sign-up for something that was very expensive. You hesitated. The price went up. Tick-tock. This offer is only available until a specific date, and then it will no longer be available. At the back of your head, you have already registered the discounted price; you can’t seem to swallow the idea of spending more money on it. “What if it becomes even more expensive?” You think. You make a decision, now, while you are thinking of it. Was it a good one?

4. The “sorry, the last one was just sold a few minutes ago” tactic

Now it isn’t even available. Say, for example, you are booking a hotel room, and that specific room and hotel you desperately wanted became no longer available. You took your time browsing the web; you said you would make a decision soon, only to find out a few hours later that all rooms were sold out. It’s such a disappointing feeling. “Only if I booked it on time. Only if I haven’t hesitated,” you think. You beat yourself up and browse some more, and then finally find one room that is available, perhaps even more expensive than what you already planned for. Now, you are scared to lose this one too. What do you do? You take out your credit card and book it right on the spot.

“As a rule, if it is rare or becoming rare, it is more valuable.”

Robert B Cialdini, Influence
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