You drive down the street.You have to stop at stop signs, yield to oncom-
ing traffic, and even keep to the speed limit (at least when you see a high-
way patrolman!).These are all simple laws. Laws created by society for the
safety and betterment of the masses aren’t necessarily perfect, nor are they
absolutes. Laws of society don’t always work.
However, universal laws like the law of gravity always work. If you
drop 10,000 baseballs off the top of the Sears Tower in Chicago, the balls
will all drop to the street below, probably doing major damage. None of
the balls will rise up toward the atmosphere as you drop them off the
These are universal laws that never change. If you try to break a uni-
versal law, normally you won’t get a second chance to make things right!
Legislated laws are different. If you follow them you will probably live
longer and pay fewer traffic tickets.
The laws of influence aren’t quite like the laws of society or the laws
of the universe. In fact, most people aren’t even aware of the laws of influ-
ence.They simply tend to act in accordance with the laws at a completely
unconscious level.There are major prices to pay when the laws of influ-
ence are broken.The problem is that most people aren’t aware of the laws
in the first place.If people unconsciously follow the rules they will be hap-
pier and communicate well with others. If people don’t follow the rules
they will run into lots of problems, experience broken relationships, earn
less income, be more readily downsized in corporations that are cutting
back, and—well, you get the idea.
There is nothing you do that is more important than communicat-
ing with others. There are very specific laws that govern not only the
communication process but also the sales process. It’s interesting because
sometimes when you drive past the highway patrolman at 75 mph you
don’t get a ticket. Sometimes you fail to yield to oncoming traffic and
you don’t get in a car accident. Every now and then you run the stop
sign and you don’t hit a pedestrian. The laws exist, though, and when
they are followed they tend to work in favor of law-abiding citizens.
When they are broken, the chances that something will go wrong are
dramatically increased. The same is true in this respect for the laws of
How can there be laws of selling? How can something like sales or
communication have laws? As our species has evolved for millions of years
we have discovered that we tend to need the cooperation of others to suc-
ceed. Gaining the cooperation and compliance of other people is ab-
solutely critical to the persuasion process and the continuance of society as
we know it.
In this chapter you will learn how to apply the 10 Laws of Influ-
ence. Following each of these rules is important in gaining compliance
from others. In most situations on most days of your sales career, if you
follow each law you will find selling to be a fairly simple experience.
What’s better, if you utilize these 10 laws in all of your communication
you will find that your sales career is fun, sometimes challenging, and al-
1. Law of Reciprocity
When someone gives you something of perceived value, you immediately
respond with the desire to give something back.
It’s December 24 and the mail has just arrived.You open a Christmas
card from someone you had taken off your Christmas list.This is a crisis!
“Honey, are there any more Christmas cards left?”
“Yeah, in the drawer.”
“Thank God.”You go to the drawer and sure enough there is a card
there—but there are no envelopes to fit the card into! You search and
search,finally deciding to use an envelope that isn’t quite large enough . . .
but you have to use something!
You sign the card, and yes, you personalize it! (You write something
special just for the sender.) You stuff the card into the envelope that is still
too small.You slide a picture of the family in, and you even find a leftover
newsletter that tells everyone what your family has been up to all year.
“I’ll be back in a while, I have to go to the post office and mail this
Why do you have to go to the post office?
You have to go because the letter must be mailed with a postmark be-
fore Christmas! December 24 will show that you cared. December 26 will
show that these people were an afterthought in your mind, not worthy of
sending a card to before Christmas.You race off to the post office—and
you have just discovered the power of reciprocity.
You were taught to share your toys and your snacks and your space
and your time with all those around you.You were scolded when you
were selfish and you were rewarded with kind smiles and pats on the
head when you shared.The Law of Reciprocity was installed at a very
The world’s greatest people and marketing mavens give something to
their clients—and I don’t mean a business card.
Have you ever received a bar of soap in the mail?
Have you ever received a box of cereal in the mail?
Have you ever received return address labels from a charity in the
Have you ever received a handful of greeting cards from a charity in
Have you ever received a sample-size shampoo bottle in the mail?
These are all examples of what we call “inducing reciprocity.” The
practice is very simple, yet absolutely brilliant. If your product is top qual-
ity and it is something that everyone can use,send everyone a small sample
of it, and they will be more likely to buy it the next time they go to the
store for two reasons.
First, they will recognize it as something they have used. The brain
picks up on what is familiar. (Have you ever noticed how many cars there
are like yours on the road? What happened to all the rest?!)
Second, reciprocity has been induced when someone gives you some-
thing and you give them something back. Reciprocity has also been in-
duced when someone gives you something and you feel compelled to give
something back.Kellogg’s was nice enough to send us their free box of ce-
real, and because it tasted good we should at least buy their cereal this one
time.We return the favor.
Reciprocity, based on scientific research, appears to be the single most
powerful law of selling persuasion there is, but is there a problem?
If you sell life insurance, you can’t give away $10,000 of free cover-
If you sell real estate, you can’t give away bathrooms.
If you sell speaking services you can’t give away free speeches.
If you are a stockbroker you can’t give away 100 shares of Mi-
What do you do if you don’t have sample-size products or services?
How do you take advantage of this powerful law of share and share
You do not have to give away free samples to utilize reciprocity.You
must only give away something that has perceived value. My favorite
method of inducing reciprocity is taking someone to lunch or sharing a
valuable tip related to building their business or income in some way. (I
like these approaches because they are measurable and the person knows
that you really helped them when they follow through on your sugges-
tion.) Taking someone to lunch is usually an inexpensive way to induce
reciprocity, and you have the added benefit of meeting one of your client’s
16 basic desires (the desire to eat). Sharing helpful secrets that are truly
specialized knowledge is also an elegant way to induce reciprocity. One
simple idea can often help someone earn hundreds or thousands of dollars
per year more in income.
Can I share a secret with you?
I keep some of my money in the Strong Funds Money Market ac-
count. It pays much more interest than a bank does and the money is safe.
You can write checks on your account just like a checking account, and if
you just used that secret to make more money, I’d be happy that I shared it
Can I share another secret with you? The Strong Advantage Fund is
even better! It pays about 1 to 3 percent more interest than the Strong
Money Market Fund and you can write checks on that account, too. If
you took $10,000 out of the bank or CD and put it into the Strong Ad-
vantage Fund you would earn 2 to 3 percent more interest per year on that
money than you do in the bank or CD. Now, granted that only comes to
about $300 per year, but how many free copies of this book can you give
away to your friends in return for that one $300 gift? How will your
friends feel about you when you give them the most cutting-edge selling
power ever put into one book?
Here are a few creative ideas for people to use as inexpensive giveaway
Life Insurance and Financial Products
Give away a free report that lists all of the top-performing investments for
the past three years (even if it contains information that is positive about
your competitors!).Give away a handy chart that people can place on the re-
frigerator that shows the 10 questions to ask telemarketers to determine the
legitimacy of investment opportunities and requests for charitable donations.
Estimate the dollar of the loan the client will take out and run several
amortization tables showing how small extra payments each month will
cut years off the life of the loan,save the client tens of thousands of dollars,
and create long-term financial freedom. If the client is already putting
every penny toward the 30-year mortgage, give away a handy booklet that
shows how to do simple maintenance on the house, how to find good ser-
vice people to work on the home in the future, and how to keep the
home in top-dollar condition should they decide to sell.
If you sell a great car, give away a recent Consumer Reports article compar-
ing your car with others in its class. If you sell a car that is a good car but
not listed as one of the best,give away a list of the top 10 strategies to keep
the car running cheaply and its resale value high.
The message to you is that everyone can give something away for free
with nothing expected in return. It is a scientific fact that reciprocity is
effective.The key is that what you give away must have perceived value
on the part of the client.Traditional promotional items like personalized
pens and date books may be useful or they may not be.You can test them
to see if they assist in making sales. It doesn’t matter what your giveaway
actually costs you.What matters is the value the client places on the item,
report, or product.
Exercise: How can you utilize the Law of Reciprocity when selling your
products or services? Be very specific.
2. Law of Time
Changing someone’s time perspective helps them to make different deci-
sions.When people change their time perspective they change how they
feel about something and the decisions they make in regard to it.
Time is the subtle equalizer in life. No matter how rich or poor you
are,time is the one commodity that is the same for everyone.Everyone has
this moment of experience only. What happens in this moment is nor-
mally not a matter of conscious choice or thought.
Quite often when you walk into a client’s office or you contact them
in some other way they will immediately equate you, at the unconscious
level,with all of the other people they have ever met.In all probability they
have more negative experiences than positive experiences with people.
Two things need to happen.You must distinguish yourself from all the
other people they’ve known, and you need to move their time filter from
the past to the present or future. People have emotional responses that are
attached to various stimuli.You are a stimulus.You trigger positive or neg-
ative experiences in all of your clients’ minds whether or not each client
knows it. What’s more interesting is that this response isn’t necessarily
linked to you! Most people see you as a salesperson and they have a nega-
tive emotional response to all salespeople.Therefore, in most cases, you are
a bad salesperson when you walk in the door.You haven’t opened your
mouth or asked any questions and you are already a bad salesperson.
Ready for more?
When you walk out the door your client is going to think differently
of you but by the next time you talk with your client his brain will be
back in bad salesperson mode for two reasons. First, he will confront many
other idiots posing as salespeople between now and then. Second, his past
emotional memories are not going to be wiped away by a fun one-hour
meeting with you!
Therefore, you must become an expert at altering time.You must be-
come a master of moving people through time so that they are not af-
fected by their past programming and emotions.You must be able to get
them to look at your product and service from a completely different per-
spective! And you can.
Time plays a big role in people’s decision-making processes.There
are three fundamental ways that people experience time: past, present,
Past: Some people live in the past or use the past as their guidepost for
all decisions they will make in the present and future.These people are of-
ten cynical and depressed.They also make fewer bad decisions than other
people.Their guard is up and they will make fewer errors because of this.
They will also miss out on opportunities because of their experiences.You
will need to remember this!
I was ripped off once before doing this.
I ate at a place like this once and it was terrible.
I got conned the last time I bought a car.
I never get a good deal.
The stock market always goes down when I invest.
These are all common experiences for people who process all infor-
mation through filters of the past.
Present: Some people live in the present moment.These people tend to
have much less stress and to give little thought to the past or future.They
tend to be lousy planners and to seek instant gratification. Usually their
credit cards are maxed out because they have sacrificed a future they can-
not see for the pleasure of the moment.They think like this:
I know it’s right when I feel it.
I do what feels good.
I just wanted to have fun.
It looks like fun so I’m going to do it.
I never thought I’d get pregnant.
Who’d have thought I’d lose all that money?
Future: Some people filter most of their thoughts in terms of the fu-
ture.They tend to live in the future, delay instant gratification, and have
determined that the past, for better or worse, isn’t that relevant for them.
People who live in the future are constantly planning, organizing, prepar-
ing, and sacrificing.They sacrifice the moment for a brighter tomorrow.
They think like this:
I could buy a car now but that money is better off invested.
I’ll wait for retirement.
I could buy that now but I’d like to watch that money build up
I better not do that because I might get pregnant.
Once you know how people generally filter their information you can
have them look at different events in the past, present, or future or you can
change the perspective from which they are looking.
You can change someone’s time perspective with some linguistic ma-
neuvers that rival the martial arts.
Client: “Look what happened to the market this past year. It went to
hell. Dropped by 50 percent.Why would I want to invest in your
Salesperson: “You might not want to. But the next time the market
doubles or triples wouldn’t you want just a little piece of that for
Client: “My experience is that I listen to a salesperson and I get
Salesperson: “When you go out 10 years into the future and look back,
what do you do right to correct that?”
Client:“Last three times I bought a big yellow pages ad I lost my butt.”
Salesperson: “I understand. If we can create an ad that will pull in the
future will you be up for that?”
Client: “I tried hypnosis before and it doesn’t work.”
Salesperson: “So you had someone who didn’t know what they were
doing.If you were to work with someone who was adept at his art
and knew how to help you, would you be willing to do that?”
Exercise: How can you utilize the Law of Time when selling your prod-
ucts or services? Be specific.
3. Law of Contrast
When two things, people, or places that are relatively different from each
other are placed near to each other in time,space,or thought,we see them
as more different, and it is easier to distinguish which one we want more.
There is a wonderful piece of television history from the archives of
the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. Carson hosted the Tonight Show for
almost 30 years. One night, Johnny had the number-one Girl Scout
cookie salesperson in the country on. He asked her the secret of her suc-
cess. She said, “I just went to everyone’s house and said, ‘Can I have a
$30,000 donation for the Girl Scouts?’When they said ‘No,’ I said,‘Would
you at least buy a box of Girl Scout cookies?’”The audience couldn’t stop
laughing and neither could Johnny.The little girl had mastered the contrast
principle, at age eight.
Have you ever walked through a grocery store and watched people take
two competing products and put one of them in each hand, then look at
them side by side,literally weighing which one they should buy? The princi-
ple that guides people in this product choice is called the Law of Contrast.
Psychological studies have shown that people can use the Law of
Contrast in a very specific and predesigned fashion. If you can show your
expensive product or service first and then show what you would like to
sell (what you think creates the best win-win with your client) second,the
client is very likely to purchase the second item.
When you were a child you would go into a store with one of your
parents and as Mom shopped, so did you.You may have picked up two or
three items to propose to your mother for possible purchase.Time after
time Mom programmed into you either one of two themes:
1. They’re too expensive—you can’t have either of them.
2. You can have the little (cheapest) one.
You soon learned that the best method of selling Mom was to note
how little the item cost.“Mom, it’s only a dollar,” your voice would res-
onate in a pleading fashion.With the proper eye contact and pitiful face
the strategy regularly worked.
The Law of Contrast doesn’t say that you will always sell the less ex-
pensive of two products. It does say that if you put two products or ser-
vices close together in space,in time,or in a person’s mind,the person will
begin to clearly see the differences and their programming will help them
choose “which” instead of “whether or not to.” Price was the most com-
mon programming installed into most of us as children, but there defi-
nitely were many parents who programmed the theme “it’s junk—don’t
buy garbage” into their children.These adult clients now buy higher-qual-
ity items when possible.The Law of Contrast acts within each of us to help
us choose which of a number of items to buy.
Show your client a home that they not like first then show them a home
that meets all of their buying criteria second. People tend to buy what
they are shown or experience second.
Tell your clients you have two products to show them.The best financial
fit for your clients to own is a diversified portfolio of mutual funds.You
first show them an expensive annuity product and then follow that with a
brief explanation of another option, that of owning mutual funds that re-
quire a smaller investment and offer easier access should they need their
money.The better product and lower price both come second in this case,
creating a compelling unconscious urge to invest in the mutual funds.
Once the client has agreed on buying the suit or dress, now present a tie, a
scarf, a new pair of shoes, or a nice necklace as an absolute must. If the
client has purchased a $400 suit, isn’t a $37 tie a necessary purchase?
Your customers have said “yes” to the computer; now you can show them
the extended service plan,a piece of useful or fun software,or an extra bat-
tery for emergencies.These $100 items contrast nicely to the $2,000 they
just spent on the computer and almost seem irrelevant.
A useful rule to remember in any sales situation is that when someone
mentions that your product or service “is too expensive” or “costs too
much,” you respond with a gentle, “Compared to what?” “Compared to
what?” is a question that puts your client’s thoughts into perspective and
allows them to rethink their apparent “no” response. If your client was
heading toward a “no” response, “Compared to what?” may often bring
them back to the “yes” response.
Exercise: How can you utilize the Law of Contrast when selling your
products or services? Be specific.
4. Law of Friends
When someone asks you to do something and you perceive that the
person has your best interests in mind, and/or you would like him/her
to have your best interests in mind, you are strongly motivated to fulfill
How many times have you experienced someone knocking on your
front door asking you to donate money for some cause? Compare the
number of times you donated to the cause when you knew the person
who asked you to donate in contrast to how often you donated when you
didn’t know the person who asked you to donate.
If you are like most people, you have donated more often when
your neighbor has come to the door asking you to donate.You felt em-
pathy for the person you know who is possibly being put upon by this
charitable requesting.The people who solicited from you less regularly
received fewer donations because they didn’t have that same empathy or
trust.We tend to say “yes” when we know someone or perceive they are
In a similar context,most people would never go to a meeting for mul-
tilevel marketing if a friend or acquaintance didn’t ask them to look at this
business opportunity.The greatest strategy a multilevel marketing corpora-
tion can utilize is the “listing of friends and family” strategy as the first con-
tacts in the multilevel marketer’s early days in his new business.These friends
and family are the most likely to say “yes”to actually going to a meeting.
As people develop relationships with their clients they become
friends. Friendships grow and become special, and future sales are all but
assured with the ongoing relationship.
An extremely powerful persuasion tool that few salespeople ever use is
that of pointing out the negative aspects of their products and services.
One of the most effective ways to influence people is to argue against your
own point of view or argue against your own self-interest so that it appears
that you are being unbiased in your proposals.
One group of researchers had a heroin addict tell people that there
should be stricter courts and more severe sentences. The researchers
found the heroin addict to be more credible than others presenting sim-
ilar points of view.This was one of the few instances when people be-
lieved someone who was not perceived as physically attractive.When the
message conflicts with the expectations of your buyer you’ll be perceived
as more serious.This is a powerful point, and when you utilize it with
careful skill you will regularly bring out any minor negative aspects of
your products and services.
Be eager to point out any negative aspects of your proposal. This ac-
complishes two important things. First, it makes you appear far more
trustworthy, and second, it allows your clients to be set at ease as you
are doing their job of finding the drawbacks of the proposal.
Tell your client a story of how you recently helped your family members
with their finances in the same manner that you are going to help your
client.When they understand that they are going to be treated exactly like
family, they perceive you also have their best interests in mind.
Share with your client why you would not buy a specific house.If it is clear
that your client is not interested in the house, and you don’t like it, either,
explain why this house is not something you would recommend your
friends buy and then explain in detail why. This strengthens your bond
with your clients.
Exercise: How can you utilize the Law of Friends when selling your prod-
ucts or services? Be specific.
5. Law of Expectancy
When someone you respect and/or believe in expects you to perform a
task or produce a certain result, you will tend to fulfill this person’s expec-
tation whether positive or negative.
There is a famous study from the 1970s by psychologist, Dr. R.
Rosenthal that reveals that the expectation of one person can radically
alter, both positively and negatively, the actual results of how people will
perform. Students were divided into what teachers were told were
bright and dull groups of students.The students were told nothing.The
group that was made up of supposed high-IQ students performed at an
average of an “A” level in their schoolwork after eight months. The
group that was made up of supposed low-IQ students performed at an
average of a “D” level after eight months. In reality, there was no differ-
ence in the IQs of the students.They were randomly divided into the
groups and the only variable in the study, which was immediately dis-
continued, was the expectation of the teachers involved.
In psychology, the placebo effect is a well-documented and scientifi-
cally measurable response on the part of the body to be healthier (or in the
case of a nocebo, to be sicker) based on expectancy, suggestion, and belief.
In the Korean War, there were thousands of casualties and not enough
morphine to relieve the pain of the suffering soldiers. Medics and doctors
were forced to give sugar pills and the suggestion that the soldiers would
shortly be out of pain.Approximately 25 percent of all soldiers taking the
placebo had their severe pain relieved.
This same level of expectancy is necessary as a belief in yourself about
your abilities to be successful and also about your influential ability with
your clients to win them to your products and services.
Exercise: How can you utilize the Law of Expectancy when selling your
products or services?
6. Law of Consistency
When an individual announces in writing (or verbally to a lesser degree)
that he is taking a position on any issue or point of view, he will strongly
tend to defend that belief regardless of its accuracy even in the face of
overwhelming evidence to the contrary.
There is much research about “consistency” that you might ini-
tially think isn’t about consistency. I want to bring this to your at-
tention now so that you understand consistency as you never have
before. I want to show you a very important factor of how the
mind operates and how you can construct influential messages
with ease! Consider from Plous (1993) and Stanford University
study cited earlier:
In a nationwide opinion poll 70 percent of Americans once
gave an opinion about a legislative act that didn’t exist. Some
felt the states should take care of the responsibility; some felt the
When asked their opinion on how easy getting a divorce should
be in the United States, 40+ percent more Americans chose the
last option of three regardless of which option was offered last.
Sales of jams in a store increased 10 times when people could
stop by and sample up to six jams versus those days the store of-
fered 20 options.
College students reported cheating to be wrong when given the
opportunity to fill out anonymous forms. Even those students re-
porting strong attitudes against cheating on exams immediately
cheated on their exams when given the opportunity.
When pollsters ask people what is the most important issue facing
the nation people respond with hundreds of different answers that
are completely different and in greatly differing percentages than
when pollsters ask people to choose from a list of options the one
they consider to be the most important issue facing the nation.
When people are asked about such hot topics as nuclear weapons
they respond with opposite opinions depending on how the ques-
tion is phrased.
From these and dozens of other valid and reliable studies you can con-
clude six crucial points:
1. People’s opinions, thoughts, and desires are often molded by the
questions they are asked.
2. People’s thoughts, opinions, and desires are often created in the
moment and have little or no relationship with what they will ac-
tually do or what they will believe later.
3. Many people have beliefs about things that are not real, based on
fictitious questions (like acts of Congress) and not knowledge.
4. Most people are fairly automatic in their behavior. They see a
commercial and because they believe what they see without criti-
cal thought, decide what drink to drink, restaurant to eat at, tax
preparer to use, all based on suggestion.
5. Once most people choose something, write something down, or
say something, whether it makes any sense or not, whether it is in
their best interest or not, they tend to stick with that decision, re-
gardless of how that decision was made.
6. People don’t like cognitive dissonance.Most can’t hold two oppos-
ing thoughts in their minds, so they simply pick the thought/deci-
sion/belief they currently hold and eliminate the rest without
All of this is part and parcel of the Law of Consistency.
Your clients’ past decisions and public proclamations dramatically in-
fluence their beliefs and attitudes. Once people have publicly said, “I’ll
never X,” they normally never do. Many people make public statements
that they have not thought out that often turn into beliefs and permanent
attitudes.The reason is simple.We are taught that our word is our bond.
When we say something you can count on us.
Did you know that 70 percent of all people are the same religion they
were raised in as children? This is the Law of Consistency in real-life ac-
tion! People respect consistency and predictability.
A recent research study had subjects make decisions among various
Group A was asked to “remember their decision.”
Group B was asked to “write their decisions on a magic slate and then
pull the sheet up,‘erasing’ their decision.”
Group C was asked to write down their decisions on paper with ink
and hand them in to the researchers.
Which group stuck with their decisions? Right. Group C stuck with
their decisions more than three-quarters of the time.
Group B kept their decisions half the time, and Group A tended to
change their minds.The lesson is to get your client to write things down as
he participates in the sales process. He could write down anything from
goals for the coming year to what he would really like in a car, a house, a
stock portfolio,or a vacation time-share package.The key is to get a pen in
the client’s hand and have him write!
Never ask a question that will pin the client down to a permanent
Exercise: How can you utilize the Law of Consistency in selling your prod-
ucts or services?
7. Law of Association
We tend to like products, services, and ideas that are endorsed by other
people we like and respect.
Tell me, what is it that Michael Jordan knows about underwear that
I don’t? Didn’t Michael sign a $40,000,000 deal with Calvin Klein to
do a few commercials about underwear? Now, it’s my opinion that I
know as much about underwear as Michael Jordan and I would have
shot those commercials for half what he got! But Kevin Hogan is a
name known in the field of selling. Michael Jordan is a name known
throughout the world. Michael Jordan was paid two cents for every per-
son on earth who knew his name. If I were paid two cents for every
person who knew my name, I’d get paid about $7,000. That is why
Michael Jordan got paid $40,000,000.
Calvin Klein paid $40,000,000 to link one of the world’s most loved
and best-known people to its product.Underwear.That is what the Law of
Association is all about.
When your products and your services are linked to credible, lik-
able, positive-image people, your client will tend to like the products
For years authors have known that the best way to sell a book is to get
people to write favorable testimonials for the dust jacket and front matter
of the book.This adds credibility to the book because we respect the peo-
ple who wrote the quotes.
The power of a testimonial or of someone famous using your products
or services can be the key that unlocks the doors of the unconscious mind.
If you do not have the ability to have the famous endorse your products or
services, ask other people who are using your services to write you a short
letter testifying to the fact that your product or service has helped them
change their life or their business, or made some significant difference that
they didn’t have before.
The testimonial speaks volumes about you so you don’t have to.
Exercise: How can you utilize the Law of Association in selling your prod-
ucts or services?
8. Law of Scarcity
When a person perceives that something he might want is limited in
quantity, he believes the value of what he might want to be greater than if
it were available in abundance.
What the public finds valuable never ceases to amaze us. Remember
the bizarre Christmas season of 1996? This was when advertisers promoted
Tickle Me Elmo dolls to children and then, to drive the price up, simply
refused to produce the dolls in quantity.The prices of the dolls grew outra-
geous. Stores sold out of the dolls after creating huge demand and over-
pricing them. Within weeks, the Minneapolis Star Tribune printed six and
seven columns of classified ads placed by people offering to sell their Tickle
Me Elmos for anywhere from $300 all the way up to $695!
Imagine this:A mother and child go into the store when the dolls first
come out and Mom buys her child a doll for $30.Eventually the media pro-
motes these dolls to the point where stores and shopping centers are flooded
with people trying to find Tickle Me Elmos and being forced to settle for
other products in the store for their children’s Christmas presents.The mar-
keting campaign was a bonanza for Tickle Me Elmo,radio station giveaways,
and retailers,and it was all induced by intentional marketing scarcity.
Which of the following should you use as an indication of scarcity?
One day only!
All of those are common themes in advertising and marketing.Which
works best? “Act now” is third most effective.“One day only” is an effec-
tive theme but doesn’t even compare to “limited supplies.”If you can show
that there are only a few of your products or services available,that is going
to increase their perceived value!
The limited-supply frame almost always goes back to your client’s
childhood. One or two pieces of cake were left and when your client was
four years old he knew that if someone else got the last piece of cake there
would be none for him. It was imperative to attempt to get one of the last
pieces of cake.Scarcity was installed at an early age and has been reinforced
throughout our adult lives.The strings wound into scarcity are very pow-
erful indeed and you should begin to devise methods to use the principle
of scarcity in your daily sales meetings.
In the state of Minnesota in the year 2004,many homes are selling in liter-
ally days. It is completely ethical to tell your clients “The average house in
Minnesota is selling in 31 days. If you want this house, put an offer on pa-
“There are only three cars like this on the lot. I suspect they will sell out
by Monday. That doesn’t mean you can’t get this car again, but it does
mean you could wait weeks or months to get a factory-delivered car with
all of these options. It’s up to you.”
“You can never predict the future, but what happens if this January is like
most Januarys and the market goes up 4 percent while you are deciding
whether this is the time to open your IRA?”
Exercise:What is it that your client loses if he doesn’t buy from you? That
is your scarcity point.
9. Law of Conformity
Most people tend to agree to proposals, products, or services that will be
perceived as acceptable by the majority of other people or a majority of
the individual’s peer groups.
Everyone wants to be accepted. “What will people think?” is some-
thing that we all ask ourselves at the unconscious level.We all want to be
liked and we all want people to look at what we buy and do with respect
and admiration.When your client thinks about how his peers will view his
purchase, the sale can be made or broken without going any further.
Therefore it is important to assure your client, at the unconscious level,
that his buying your product or service is an outstanding idea.
Conformity is related to consistency in some ways. Conformity is be-
ing consistent with your peer group’s acceptance. Consistency is being
perceived as predictable and ethical within your peer group and even
Nonconformists and rebels even tend to conform to their groups that
are known to be rebellious against society. Consider that Greenpeace ac-
tivists are very much nonconformists in the eyes of the public, but among
their own group they conform to the nonconformist standard.
Jehovah’s Witnesses and Latter-Day Saints are both Christian sects that
are considered apart from Christianity by other denominations.They are
nonconformists and are proud and honored to be. However, within their
own groups, they have clear-cut and definite standards that must be con-
formed to.Your understanding of your client’s conforming standards can
make or break your sales.
“Imagine how your wife will respond when she sees that you have
gone out and bought her, and really your whole family, a brand-new car!”
“Imagine how your husband will feel when you show him that you
took the initiative to invest in your retirement so his life will be easier—es-
sentially not having to work until he is 77.”
Exercise: What can you say to your clients to appeal to their sense of
10. Law of Power
People have power over other people to the degree that they are perceived
as having greater authority, strength, or expertise in contrast to others.
Power comes with authority and charisma. Power is the ability to
change. Power is both real and a perception.Your clients will perceive you
as more powerful if you act with confidence but not conceit, comfort but
not disregard,and certainty but not knowing it all.Power is something that
exists within you and must be brought out. Once people perceive you as
competent,caring,knowledgeable,confident,and certain,then their confi-
dence level in you goes up.
If you attempt to use power over other people, instead of with other
people, then you will lose sales and lose friends. Power with people is per-
ceived by most as strength and is often called charisma. Power over others
is normally resented and people are less likely to conform if they think you
are trying to control them.
One recent study that discussed power and authority revealed that 95
percent of all nurses were willing to dispense drugs to patients, after being
authorized by physicians, that they knew would indeed likely kill the pa-
When you are selling a product,it is assumed you are the expert.If you
know everything there is to know about your product you become the go-
to guy. Subtly make sure your client knows you are the best or among the
best in your company.People like to deal with the guy at the top.
Auto mechanics may not have a high recognition value for power, but
when your car breaks down,they become the most powerful people in the
world, don’t they? They have the solution to your problem. If they made
the solution appear easy they would have no power.The simple fact that
most people are ignorant of how to utilize power is why many of them are
perceived as beggars or nuisances.
Exercise:What are three subtle ways you can let your client know you are
among the top people with regard to knowledge, client service, and/or
sales in the company? How can you show your client that you are not just