I just bought my wife an Eternity Ring. (Technically it’s a semi-eternity ring because the diamonds only go half way around.) It’s wonderful how nice and polite people are in shops when you say you want to spend a lot of money on platinum and diamonds. 🙂

Eternity ring

Eternity ring - not my wife's but like it! 😉

Why platinum? Because our wedding rings are platinum, that’s why.  But what’s important is that platinum is a lot more expensive than gold.

Why?

Because it’s a lot less common than gold.

What’s this got to do soft skills? Cialdini’s six principles of influence include one called ‘Scarcity’, that’s what. On this list it’s number six.

Let’s take an example, which will make things a bit more obvious, I hope. Because people want things more if they can’t have it (why do you think sales “must end this weekend”? Or why do you suppose there are limited editions of cars, collectors cards or… well almost anything!). A lot of our work is done in-house for what we call our internal client: this internal client is responsible for selling places on our courses to the workforce where they work. Often this ‘internal client’ is one of the company’s HR team.

Instead of sending and email around everyone in Workplace X saying ‘There are are 18 places on the training place next month about MBTI, the Myers Briggs Type Indicator” our internal client says “There are only 18 place on the training place next month.”

The difference is critical.

By implying that there’s not much of me to go around, it makes people want us more… 🙂

The only hard part to using this technique is finding a way to describe what you’ve got as relatively rare.  For example, when you email us, one of the things we might mention is that we’re currently totally booked up for the next two months.

Oh yes, something else… A moral point!

You have to be ethical. We won’t be telling you that if it’s not true. It is. It’s just that we decide to to say it… 😉

As an aside, saying how busy we are not only hits the mark in term of Cialdini’s ‘scarcity’ tool, it is also a good example of another of his principles, that of ‘social proof’. After all, if lots of other people are using our training, it implies it’s good.

The trick for using it in your working environment is to find people that the person you’re talking to regards as peers and agree with you. Something like “After all, it’s what they’re doing on the day shift now, have been for months!”

Again, be ethical: it has to be true!

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