August 5

Episode 054 – Weapons of Influence – Pt.6 – Scarcity


This is the last part of our series on Cialdini's weapons of influence

Episode Highlights

  • Today we cover scarcity
  • If you remember, the 5 weapons we have covered before were
    • reciprocity - I give you something and you are more likely to give back, even unproportinally
    • commitment and consistency - I stick to my word
    • social proof - if others like it, it must be good for me as well
    • authority - what the doctor commands has to be done
    • and liking - we are similar, so you tend to fulfill my request
  • Scarcity as the 6th and final weapon of influence basically works like this:
    • if there's a limited supply of something, it must be good. You tend to act now, before you miss the opportunity
  • you can see examples of this now everywhere:
    • Amazon's only 2 left in stock
    • Infomercials saying only 20 more are available
    • limited time offer - only available until Friday
    • a supplier's offer reading: offer valid until August 15th, 2021
  • often times scarcity is used upon you as a procurement person by the other party
  • hence it is considered a negative tactic
  • "these resources must be ordered until the end of the week or I have to staff them in another project"
  • "we only have two more of these motors in stock and currently cannot say, when new parts arrive. Better order now"
  • Large companies often try to impose fake timelines upon you until when a certain contract needs to be signed
  • it is an art and science to counteract these measures and I have posted several episodes on how to fight these tactics
  • But you can use scarcity in negotiations also to your benefit as a procurement pro
  • studies have shown that in highly dynamical negotiations, the negotiator - the other party in our case - tend to focus on the things that are scarce
    • they do this on the expense of the other items on the table
    • this means if you want to push through on a certain topic, make sure it is not the one that is scarce. Hide it beneath scarcity objects so to say
  • What can you make scarce?
    • well the deal itself - just increase competition and all parties know
    • you could do an ebidding where the parties can see how many suppliers are in there
  • What makes you unique as a customer? Do you have a respected brand? If yes, then this is scarce, because working with you provides benefits others can't provide
  • One core principle of scarcity and negotiation in general that people fear more what they might loose than that they value what they might gain
    • use this to your advantage by making clear what it means for them if they loose the deal
  • this concludes the sixth part of the weapons of influence series
    • tomorrow we start with a new series about what I as a procurement professional have learnt for the recent COVID crisis


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