Understanding the Law of Scarcity

Sales trainers and speakers reference the law of scarcity as one of the fundamental laws of persuasion. The law of scarcity is simply that when someone perceives something that they desire to be in limited quantity, the perceived value of that thing or person becomes much greater than if were widely available. The law of scarcity applies to both salesmanship and in relationships and courtship.

Sales Example

You turn on the television and see a commercial for some new overly-hyped kitchen gadget. The commercial voice reminds you that “…supplies are limited” and that “…this offer will not last.” This commercial is employing the use of the law of scarcity to increase the perceived value of that item. Believe it or not, it works for them.

Relationship Example

Jack and Jill have been boyfriend and girlfriend for about two years now and the relationship is getting boring. The couple both attend a party one night. Jack notices that Jill is paying attention to some other guys at the party, rather than with him. The value that Jack has placed on Jill now has increased dramatically because he fears that she might leave him for another guy.

Practical Applications

1. Sometimes people make themselves overly available to someone they are attracted to by showing them with affection, but this over availability sometimes causes the opposite reaction to occur–the person actually places a lower value on the person because it is in abundance. If the other person believes that you are highly desired by others, hence, you’re demand outweighs your supply, then your value will go up.

2. Increasing the price or decreasing the availability of a product or service will increase the perceived value of that product or service in the eyes of others.

3. If you want to persuade someone to commit to an appointment, then try to increase the perceived value on your own time. Instead of saying that you have the entire day free, which creates a state of abundance, instead say you are busy and have only such-and-such time free. This increases the perceived value of your own time and makes the other person take scheduling an appointment with you more seriously.

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