I’m sure many of you reading this remember the classic movie Vacation where Chevy Chase played the well meaning but inept family man, Clark Griswold. This week I’m going to share a principle of influence with you then give you a great idea, something Clark Griswold probably didn’t do but you can.
Did you know most people are more motivated by what they stand to lose as opposed to what they might gain? That’s right, people presented with the same opportunity will take you up on that opportunity more often when it’s presented in terms of what they might lose rather than what they stand to gain or save. For example, talking about the money someone might save using your product will not be as big a motivator to buy the product as it would be if you told them how much money they’ll lose if they don’t buy it. “Mr. Customer, if you install our thermal sealed windows you’ll save $300 on your electric bill over the next year,” will not sell as many windows as, “Mr. Customer, if you don’t use our thermal sealed windows you’ll end up paying $300 more on your electric bill over the next year.” It’s really the same thing just stated in a different way.
This all goes back to a psychological principle of persuasion known as scarcity. We are motivated to action when we see something that’s rare or when we believe something will suddenly become less available. It creates in us a greater desire for the thing that’s perceived to be scarce. If you doubt that just think about how much we take people for granted until we lose them or fear we might lose them.
Okay, so perhaps you’re wondering, “How does scarcity tie into Vacation and Clark Griswold?” As I write this we’ve unofficially entered summer because we’re into the first week of June. For those with families it means kids will soon be out of school and summer vacations are just around the corner. That also means many of you will leave work for a week or two in the coming months. You can tap into the scarcity principle to make your vacation a little more enjoyable, provide great customer service and possibly land (or prevent losing) some accounts.
In the past, before you’ve left for vacation, have you ever contacted all of your customers a week in advance to let them know you’d be gone? If you haven’t don’t feel bad because I’m willing to bet 99.9% of people don’t do that even though email and customer lists make it very easy to do. Most people simply tell co-workers they’ll be gone, change their voicemail and turn on the out-of-office message. Think for a moment about what would happen if you took the extra time to contact your customers to let them know a week in advance that you’ll be gone and when they can expect you back.
You may not have ever considered this before but you are a scarce resource because many people depend on you. If those people know you won’t be around much longer that simple fact will change their behavior just like your behavior is changed when you hear or read, “Sale Ends Sunday” or “Only While Supplies Last!”
now in advance when they’ll be gone and when they’ll be back?” The answer to that will be, “No, they don’t.” Bingo, you’ve not bad mouthed the competition but you’ve set yourself apart by comparing what you do to what your competitors don’t do.
Helping You Learn to Hear “Yes!”