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Are you falling for the big, fat scarcity lie?

Scarcity. Scarcity Mentality. Scarcity Thinking.

You’ve got to admire the word “scarcity”. It has managed to wheedle its way into both business and personal development..

Not selling enough? Business coaches will blame your scarcity mentality. Economists will blame scarcity in the world markets. Your life coach will tell you that your scarcity thinking is blinding you to success.

Scarcity drives the ‘numbers game’ approach to sales: you have to get in front of as many people as you can, because real clients are so rare that you need to cast your net wide.

Scarcity is great when we are creating in others as part of selling (as Robert Cialdini points out in Influence, Scarcity is one of the six core drivers of human behaviour). We HAVE TO create scarcity in order for people to buy (I devoted a whole chapter to the topic in my book Just Sign Here), but we mustn’t allow other people to ‘do’ scarcity to us.


Because believing that buyers are scarce, and that if you don’t get the client then one of your competitors will, drives professionals to all sorts of self-sabotaging behaviour in an attempt to “buy business”: price cutting, selling loss-leaders (products that are deliberately priced to make a loss, in the hope the buyer will go on to buy something more profitable), and horrible, desperate, needy sales conversations (little more than “What can I do to make you buy? Name it. I’ll do it. Please, dear prospect…”)

But what if there is no such thing as scarcity? What if scarcity is an illusion? A really useful illusion (especially when we are the ones creating the illusion), but an illusion nonetheless.

In Abundance: The Future is Better Than You Think, Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler make a fascinating point. All too often we mistake scarcity and inaccessibility. If we can’t get to something easily, then we assume it must be rare. And rare = valuable.

Why are diamonds valuable? Because the mining company DeBeers, which controlled most of the world supply, stockpiled them and only released enough diamonds to meet demand while maintaining prices. The rest sat (and probably still sit) in a giant warehouse in London. Diamonds aren’t rare, they’re just hard to get hold of (unless you have the keys to the warehouse).

Your potential clients are just the same. They’re not rare; they’re just hard to get hold of. You have to put effort into finding them. And invest. Time, money and energy.

A lot of professionals think marketing is all about “getting your message out there”. That’s only part of the equation. It’s about getting your Message in front of the right people (your Market) through the right Medium. In other words, you’ve got to find out what your ideal clients are paying attention to – which blogs they read, which podcasts they listen to, which magazines they subscribe to, and so on – and make sure you get your message in front of them there.

It’s something I’ve been telling my clients for years: get to know your “Angela”, your ideal customer, as well as you can. Funnily enough, I was talking about it to one of my long-term mentoring clients just yesterday.

So, your task for today: think about your market. Are prospects really “scarce”. or are you just struggling to find them. If its the latter, then what other avenues can you explore to try to find them. Who has them before you? What books are they reading on Amazon? What groups do they hang out in on Facebook or LinkedIn?

And what do you know about them? Where do they live? What do they do for fun? What’s important to them? How do they make decisions? What are their biggest hopes and fears?

There’s a worksheet I created all about defining your ideal client. You can get a free copy of it when you buy my latest bestselling book, Just Sign Here: How to Sell Your Knowledge, Experience and Advice to People Who Don’t Know They Need It. The Kindle edition is available now for just $2.99: it’ll be going up when the print edition is released in March.

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