Tuesday, 8 January 2008


Scarcity is the final law of influence I am going to cover from the book by Robert Cialdini.

You all seen the shop fronts and adverts on the tv in the magazines stating limited offer. This is scarcity, it works on the principle of "act on or you will miss out". You get the sales men telling you at your front door he is only allow to sell x amount of these product at discount in anyone day and he isn't coming back this way for a few months. He will tell you he has already got orders for most of them and there is only a few left. "If you don't buy now you won't ever get it so cheap". They try and make out they are doing you the favour by give you such a discount offer. The truth be told they are always this price and the discount is always available to anyone at any time, lets face it they want to sell their product making out it is limited is purely to push up demand or trick people into making rushed decisions.

One of the other posts was about Consistency when I discuss the Christmas present trick many manufacturers use to force you into buying extra presents at Christmas and make a hyped up demand by limiting their stock for the Christmas period only. This is scarcity at work again, and as in the other example the product is not going disappear forever, unless it's total crap!!!

Will like the idea of having something other people may not have or we are concern we may miss out.

I was recently looking for a new car a the sales forecourt had up signs saying "10 day sale", this is an obvious scarcity trick. What you have to ask your self is which 10 days?

Near my house is anew building estate and they have a sign up saying "40% reserved", this works on scarcity and social proof. What they don't saying is 40% of what is reserved. Plus what does reserved actually mean. It could by 40% of the builders car park is reserved for plumbers. Reserved could mean they have just their name on a list, it does necessarily mean they have placed a deposit. It could they have resevred a viewing once built!!

Every time you go to buy a house the estate agent will tell they have other people interested and they are about to put in a offer. I was told such a story about a new house I was looking at, I decided I wasn't interested in the end. A year later the house was still on the market, what happen to those two to three other couples who were interested!!!!

Again think about what it the scarcity statement actually mean. Is there any evidence to prove their claims. Do you really need it that badly you are willing to be trick into a purchase. If they product is that good why resort to such tactics ion the first place.


Authority is the next of the 6 laws of influence I am going to cover. Again it works due to the social contract and experience we have gained as we become adults.

The book discusses that we are more likely to be influenced by a person in Authority than any one else. For an example you are more likely to do what a policeman ask you to do than a total stranger. What separates the two, a total stranger and a policeman? For most people the policeman is a total stranger to them, but the uniform gives them status as someone who can be trusted and someone whom you should listen to. We are taught by adults as we grow up to obey authority figures such as policeman, school teachers, doctors etc, as the know the right thing to do. It is part of the social contract that keeps society together. The total stranger has no uniform and thus carries no weight of authority that a uniform implies.

The knowledge that authority carries more influence is used by marketing and sales men. Often you will see the adverts on the tv when a "expert" will endorse the product. This expert appears to carry the right credentials, such as a Doctor. For example a new toothpaste is often recommend by well qualified Dentist that is associated to some government health agency. We believe them because it is an authority figure and we have been programmed to believe authority figures.

Proof of the influence of authority comes in the form of a famous experiment


So think about the times you have seen authority selling products on the tv or in magazines. Car safety experts, Doctors selling wonder diets, finance experts selling insurance etc etc.

The thing to ask yourself is, are they really experts? meaningless qualifications can be obtain from mickey mouse universities or colleges. Does the institute really exist that they belong to or is it again something they have created them selves to promote their own job or product.
What is their vested interest in you buying this product? does their opinion actually matter? They are being paid to sell this product to you?