Only Use These Powerful Persuasion Tactics Ethically in Your Business!

Posted by on February 15th, 2013 | 1 Comment »

This is a fantastic video summarising the 6 scientifically validated principles of persuasion featured in the book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Professor Robert Cialdini. It features some great examples with results that were achieved and I’m willing to bet that watching will trigger all sorts of ideas on how you can use these principles in your business.

How to Use The Scarcity Principle In Your Business

My favourite persuasion principle is scarcity (No2 in the video) and this has worked very well for me in all sorts of situations. So, let’s have a look at several ways you can use scarcity to your advantage when it comes to generating new business.

Limiting Stock – This can be used very effectively in any retail environment where you limit the amount of stock available for an item. You then point out that when it’s gone it’s gone and to act quickly so that you don’t miss out.

This can be used effectively both on and offline. In some ways it’s easier online and you can use things like count down timers to count down to the end of the offer. This is incredibly effective in getting people to take action immediately.

Limited Availability of Your Time – This is ideal if you offer a service instead of products. An independent financial advisor might offer limited availability of a free consultation for example.

Special Offers – Here you might have a limited time special offer, discount or bonus. A carpet cleaning company might offer 2 rooms cleaned for the price of one provided you order within 24 hours or by a particular date.

You can also offer limited availability for the number of places/people instead of putting a time limit on it as an alternative. In this case the carpet cleaning company might offer 2 rooms cleaned for the price of one to the first 5 people who respond to their advert.

All these examples use the two most powerfully aspects of scarcity – limited supply and limited time to act. They invoke the powerful emotional response of not wanting to lose out; Knowing that this could happen at any moment then heightens the pressure to act quickly.

I’m sure with a little thought and imagination you could come up with lots of ways to use this in your business.

Is This An Ethical Use Of Persuasion?

You might feel that using these persuasion principles is in some way dishonest and I suppose that could certainly be true, especially if the scarcity is ‘manufactured’. That’s the thing about these principles they can be used for good and evil (I’m hearing Spiderman’s ‘With great power comes great responsibility’ speech in my mind now!).

I look at it like this. If you genuinely believe that your product or service is the best thing for your potential client and they are going to truly benefit from experiencing it, then it’s perfectly acceptable to use scarcity & other persuasion tactics like it.

As a salesman with 20 years out on the road selling face to face I was constantly presented with this moral dilemma. So I used to imagine I was setting on my prospects side of the desk and I’d ask myself if this really was the best possible solution for them.

If I truly believed it was then I’d move heaven and earth to sell it to them and sleep very soundly in my bed at night with a clear conscience. However, there were many occasions when I felt it wasn’t the best solution for their needs and I’d tell them so and walk away. This often got me in to trouble with my employers(!), but I think it was also the reason that I was frequently the top selling saleman.

What do you think? Is it ethical to use these techniques of persuasion? How do you use the scarcity principle? I’d love to know so please share your thoughts by leaving a comment in the box below.

Simon Beck


One Comment on “Only Use These Powerful Persuasion Tactics Ethically in Your Business!”

  1. 1 Gary Bovan said at 5:56 am on February 22nd, 2013:

    Very good points, combined with honesty and integrity they will fit well.