Have you ever watched a home shopping network?  Admit it.  It’s easy to be drawn in by a great looking item.  As you’re watching the close-up of the jewelry, the model train, or the sports jersey, you can start to visualize yourself owning it.  But what makes their “pitch” more compelling than, for example, a commercial? One of the powerful techniques the networks use is right there on the screen. It’s that little graphic counter noting how much of the featured item is still in stock.  As it’s counting down the adrenaline starts to rush.  If you don’t hurry, there won’t be any left!

This is a classic technique marketers use to increase desire.  They leverage human nature through a marketing principle known as creating scarcity.  People are usually compelled to take action and to want an item even more if it’s in short supply.  That makes it more rare and more desirable.

I’m often asked how to get prospects to take action.  You may have a great product or service.  And prospects have taken notice of it.  They just aren’t motivated enough at that point to go that last step and commit to a purchase. That’s where this principle helps to light a fire under your prospects.

How can you increase your irresistibility via this marketing principle?  Here are just a few examples of ways to apply the scarcity principle in your business:

Limited edition: Some industries deliberately design a limited supply into their business model.  Take, for example, products offered by the Franklin Mint or numbered edition prints.  The finite supply increases the value of the item over time.  Is there a way to offer a limited edition of your offer?

Limited quantity: Perhaps you have an offering that is limited by its nature.  I’ve heard of companies selling moon rocks, pieces of the Berlin Wall, and seats from about-to-be demolished baseball stadiums.  You may not have access to an historical landmark, but you may be able to offer tickets to a rare event, access to your CEO, or rare or discontinued items from your archives or inventory.

Exclusiveness: You might limit your business to a small number of clients in order to serve them better.  Naturally, this exclusiveness costs more. I just read an article in our local newspaper regarding MDVIP, a program offered by participating physicians.  Patients pay a yearly fee ($1500) to get more “quality time” with their primary physician. To accommodate patients with virtually no wait, more focus on preventative care, and longer visits, the physicians restrict their practice to a smaller number of patients. Other examples include restricting the number of seats available for a seminar you might offer, or artisans who hand-craft only a small number of items per year.  Likewise, if you’re tops in your consulting specialty people will pay more to get some of your limited time.

Close-outs: If you have inventory that you’d like to move out, you can offer a closeout sale.  Once it’s gone, that’s it.  Your incentive is associated with a finite supply.  Consider any business with frequent changes in product models, such as autos, electronics, PCs, and clothing.  People will act quickly if the “deal” will soon be gone due to the limited supply available.

Now it’s your turn.  Think of ways you may be able to adopt these suggestions to your situation.  As mentioned in previous newsletters, be sure to apply these with honesty and integrity.