It’s one of Cialdini’s six principles of influence and an absolute must when it comes to closing sales.
Now when I say closing sales I realise you might get that ‘ick’ feeling about being ‘sold to’ or ‘being salesy’ and I get that, as it’s ‘ick’ for me too if you think of it the wrong way. That said, you do need to sell your Thing if you’re going to run a business doing it, so here’s a re-frame I think you’ll like.
Sales is not about selling—it’s about decision making. Your ‘job’ as the person who has a brilliant Thing for sale is to get people to make a decision: do they want your Thing or not. That’s all, so anything you do for ‘sales’ is about helping people to make a decision. Obviously a yes is nicer than a no for your bottom line, but a no is MUCH better than a don’t know.
The worse thing you can do for a prospect is leave them ‘deciding’. That limbo land of not knowing if they want to buy from you or work with you or not. Not nice for them and not helpful for you.
So put a lid on it
Have a deadline for a decision, or a maximum number of people you can work with, or products you have available.
Having a limit (time, number, etc.) helps with decision making.
And that’s your responsibility as someone with a brilliant ‘Thing’ for sale—to help with decision making.
It’s my experience that many people lean towards lastminute-ism (I just made up that word, btw). Few (very sensible and organised people, of which I am not one very often) buy immediately that they know they want something. While a lot of people (my hand is up for this one) decide they want to buy something, but then for some unfathomable reason faff about before actually buying it, stressing that they might miss out, ‘thinking about it’, asking opinions, wondering back and forth if it's right for them, etc. Then, right at the last minute when the chance to buy is about to disappear, they jump in and buy what they knew in the first instance they wanted anyway!
Now I would like to think I am a very smart purchaser and sometimes, yes, I do buy straight away, but I am still that reflective ‘thinker’ more often than not, so I actually like it when there are limits.
And I know I’m not on my own. In the past month I’ve run 2 online launches and I had more people buy on the last day than any other day the ‘sale’ was open. Even more telling was that in the last hour for one of the launches (when the 59 minute warning got emailed) a flurry of last minute ‘deciders’ bought.
So don’t worry about ‘hassling’ people to buy—instead know you are just reminding them to make a decision before you put a lid on it. Whether that’s a time limit or a number limit, just make sure there is a limit.
Even if you’re having sales conversations in person or on the phone, add in a limit to help with decision-making.
Limbo is not a fun place to hang out (for you or your prospects!) if you want a great business doing your Thing.
Want to talk more about this?