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Tap Into Marketing Psychology

By T.J. Rohleder  
In this article, I'll clue you in on a secret that millionaire marketers use to create a rush of customers begging to give them money. It's a method so powerful it pulls in cash like steel to a magnet.

One of the things I love about marketing is the concept of marketing psychology. It comes down to studying human nature, figuring out why people buy things, and then figuring out how to get them to buy even more.

One of the most effective factors of marketing is the concept of scarcity, the idea that if something is scarce, then people will want it more. This all goes back to this concept of supply and demand. If somebody wants something but there's a limited supply of it, the demand for it can actually go up.

Consider this study that was once performed by psychologists. They took two separate groups of people and gave them a pile of cookies. To Group A they said, "We want you to rate these cookies based on taste. You can have as many cookies as you want." After the first group was done, they brought in the second group and told them, "We need you to rate these cookies on taste -- but remember, there's a limited quantity." They were the same cookies Group A had, except that Group B had a much smaller number of cookies -- in fact, there weren't enough for everybody in the group.

You'd think that, since the cookies were identical and the make-up of the groups was more or less the same, the ratings should have come out the same. But they didn't. The group that had as many cookies as they wanted rated the cookies as so-so. On a scale of 1-10, they were about a 5. But the group that didn't have very many cookies rated the taste of those cookies higher, at a level of 8 or 9.

So why did Group B rate them higher? Because they were scarce. That's all. What the scientists found was that in situations where the cookies were scarce, people rated them higher because they believed that things that are scarce must be better. At first glance, you might think that doesn't make much sense, but think about it: there's probably been some situation where you've wanted to purchase an item and you've said, "Okay, I've got the money; I'm interested in it; I want to purchase it." But then you find out there's only a few of them, maybe 10, and you're told that there are a hundred people vying for those items.

All of a sudden, if you'd wanted it at a level 5 out of 10 before, now you want it at a level 12 out of 10 because now there's competition for scarce resources that not everybody can have. Now you really want it. What we've discovered is that in those situations, not only do people want the scarce item more, but they're willing to pay more money for it.

I happen to know that there are some people who sell high-end coaching programs for $1,000 a month. But they don't sell them to just anybody; they deliberately make their services scarce, so you've got to jump through hoops to even be accepted into the coaching program. You've got to fill out a long application and include references, and even then they only allow a small group of people into the program. If you're not in that group, you're locked out.

You might think $1,000 a month is a high price, but the people who want to be in this coaching program desperately want to be one of those few allowed in - so they'll pay the price. And those people who are locked out, boy -- when spots open up again, they're willing to pay even more money to get in, because they were locked out at first.

Therefore, one of the things you need to focus on whenever you're selling anything is asking yourself, "How can I add a scarcity to what I'm selling?"

Now, this may not be scarcity in selling the exact thing you're offering. For example, you might have a product you want to sell for many years, so you don't want to say, "I'm just selling a hundred of them," or "I'm only going to be selling it for two weeks." But what you can do is say something like, "I've got a special bonus that I'm giving away to just the first 100 buyers," or "The first 100 people to buy will get this special consultation with me," or "I'm inviting the first 100 buyers to come to this special event." There are many ways you can build in scarcity without killing the long-term viability of what you're offering.

I would highly recommend using scarcity, but then going above and beyond that and doing research on other aspects of psychology and human nature, and adding those into your marketing as well. There are some great books on this, including Robert Cialdini's Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion. I highly recommend that book. If you go to any bookstore or and look at Cialdini's book, you'll see other marketing psychology books in that same area. Pick those up and start using their marketing psychology in your marketing efforts and, believe me, you'll increase sales and create a situation where people are lining up, begging you to take their money.

That's a point where you're really marketing from a position of power, versus chasing people and trying to get them to buy from you. By using marketing psychology, you're letting them come to you and buy from you because they want to.

Most people enjoy buying things, but hate being sold. So what's the difference? When somebody wants to buy something, they're making the choice. People like to be in control. We like to buy things; we don't want to be sold, because we feel like somebody's pushing at us when that happens. Now, this is a simple thing, and yet it's profound. You can spend a lot of time thinking about it, believe me.

How do you make somebody want something?

You have to make the scarcity real. If people feel it's not real, you're back to them feeling like you're trying to shove something down their throats. People don't want to be high-pressured. They want to be the ones coming to you-or at least they want the perception that they are.

All marketing is math and psychology, and psychological factors do influence every single sale. It's all about supply and demand; that's Economics 101. Whenever you do something to limit a supply, or even give the perception that the supply is limited, then you make people want it that much more.

It's a fact that the things that we want the most in this world tend to be limited, and that creates suction, a kind of pull that makes us want them even more. It's much better to sell something in limited supply but high demand rather than something that's plentiful, even if everyone needs that plentiful thing. If you've got something people have to fill out an application for and show their credentials to get, and you say you're only going to pick 10 people -- well, if there are hundreds of people who want it and only 10 will get it, you're driving up the value and can demand more money for it. You can be choosy about who you accept; that's true with all kinds of products.

The last thing you want to be selling is something that's available everywhere and costs next to nothing. Find something rare and in demand. In the information business, you can be in a great position because you control the supply completely, since it's a product that's proprietary to you and they can't get it anywhere else -- for example, a coaching program or a special book you've written. The price you're asking can be controlled by the number of items you have in print.

I've seen programs and products in the past where someone said, "I've only printed 137 copies of this and I destroyed the masters, so once they're gone, they're gone forever." Or, "Our warehouse has only 15 copies of this program left. We could make more, but because we're trying to clear out the warehouse, we're going to give you a super special price. It's valuable... here it is."

There are all kinds of things you can do to sell your products and services, using that scarcity principle to keep the price high or drive it even higher.


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