ExtremePerspective

Common sense perspectives and finding a way to retire

Using scarcity consciousness for gain

Posted by Paul on December 19, 2006

I’ve been posting about prosperity Vs scarcity consciousness here and here. Today a blog post popped up on my GoogleReader which seemed to prove the point by Derek Pierce.

He talks about using a “take-away” technique during negotiations. If the person he is trying to negotiate with starts to waffle he “takes back” something he had previously given. Here’s his explanation”

“The takeaway method works like gangbusters. But, you may ask why?
Well, it’s proven that we all are motivated by scarcity. In other words, if
there is a product or service that is freely available, then the desire for that
product or service is not that great. However, if there is a limit or some
deadline to that product or service, then it will increase your desire to have
the product or service. That’s why you see so many deadlines with
promotions.”


When I was involved with Amway, this is one of the common techniques also taught. If a prospect wasn’t sure that they wanted to join your business, you simply told them you were not sure if you could work with them, that your business was very successful and your time was limited you tried to give them something to lose.

In some respects, its sad that you can take advantage of people’s scarcity consciousness with such ease, but my experience in Amway convinced me that it is far easier to work with their existing mentality than to change it. Sometimes I spent hours with people trying to convince them that they could have more money, make their dreams come true, help their family and nothing would register. But the fear of loss motivated them time and time again.

One of the wage roll employees that I work with is forever complaining about his situation in life – he honestly believes that he is no better off (he makes $25/hr) than his father who was also a factory worker. I think this is quite an irrational perspective. Just consider the following:

  • health care has advanced tremendously. Survival rates from heart attacks and cancer have increased dramatically. This employee recently had a heart attack. Perhaps in 1965 he might not have survived
  • automobiles today last longer, run more efficiently, require less maintenance and are safer than ever
  • electronics are prolific and cheap – you can buy an HDTV and receive hundreds of channels (and the cost will be a lower portion of your paycheck than it was in 1965). Cell phones, DVD players, ipods and computers didn’t even exist back then
  • we spend a lower percentage of our income today on essentials like food and clothing than we did then leaving more disposable income for eating out (consider the proliferation of restaurants

Now I don’t think I can ever convince this fellow employee that he is living a prosperous life. So are people hopeless? No, I think that most people have hope, but few have belief and even fewer believe that they can have real prosperity.

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