Integrity vs Scarcity

Guest Post by Yvonne Jones

I recently read an article in the Wall Street Journal Sunday edition entitled “Sales Pitches You Can’t Resist – and Why?”  The first paragraph alluded to the fact that many shoppers head to the mall with good intentions, but retailers know how to get inside their brain and derail their good intentions.

The article mentioned some triggers and their appeal.  I selected just two:

1) “Our Big Sale Ends Tomorrow/Today/In a Few Hours!”  This is aimed at your survival instincts, and its appeal is that you want to grab what’s available or be left behind.

2) “Save $250! (New Price $500)” This is aimed at your price-sensitive side.  According to Lars Perner of the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business, you fall for it because the idea of big savings puts the deal at the center.  Your brain often perceives the actual price as more reasonable because of that big price difference.

The article made me think of those of us who market our business online, whether we are in the Internet Marketing niche or some other niche.  Do we consistently demonstrate integrity or do we feed on other’s scarcity mentality?

There are lots of marketers with tremendous integrity.  We know that if they announce a limited time offer with a deadline, they will adhere to that.  If they say a particular offer is limited to a certain number of copies, we can trust that will be the case.  I confirmed the truth of such an offer recently as there was a valuable PLR product I wanted to purchase and kept putting it off. When I finally got to the sales page they were sold out.

Many of us are on various e-mail lists and often receive warning notices of pending price increases or removal of a product or service after a certain date.  Some of these may be products or services that you genuinely want to take advantage of.

The challenge may be that some small business owners are operating their business on a budget, whereas others have a specific budget for how much they will spend on products or services in a given period.  How do you feel when you exceed your budget to make the purchase and find that weeks later the price remained unchanged?  Or the product or service that was going to be taken off the market is still there?  Do you feel cheated?  How do you feel about that marketer going forward?  It certainly erodes any trust you had in that person.

Relationships in business, and especially in our online business depends on the know, like, and trust factor.  Promoting a scarcity mentality for personal gain is hardly worth sacrificing your reputation as someone of integrity.

Has this ever happened to you and how did it make you feel?  What action, if any, did you take?

Yvonne says: I’m a Solo Entrepreneur who teaches Relationship Building and Marketing skills to entrepreneurs and small business owners by helping them to see the value in building and maintaining long-term relationships with their clients and customers.  I’ve recently begun actively working with work-at-home moms, other home-based entrepreneurs including Direct Sales consultants with the goal of helping them to cultivate an entrepreneur’s mindset and build their brand online.

You can follow Yvonne on Twitter at @YvonneAJones and visit her at Maintain A Success Circle.

  • Good point, Jeff!

    I think the biggest offender in the offline world are those businesses that have the huge “LIQUIDATION SALE – GOING OUT OF BUSINESS” signs in their windows — and years later, the signs are still there. Give me a break. 🙁

  • Jeff Wise

    Thank you for the post Yvonne! I definitely notice even big companies who are known for integrity not taking down their sales even after the hard deadline has passed. $10 special only good until Friday!” Sometimes it goes weeks after. Yuck!

    I believe it’s very important to have integrity in business and what goes around comes around.

  • nice post…visit me back please

  • Thanks for chiming in, Tristan. Always appreciate your feedback. I’m certain Yvonne feels the same way.

    Okay, on the count of three, who can say … “Good business practices”?

    Some of these not-so-stellar small business owners are simply burning one bridge after another. My better judgment, good logic, and common sense tell me they won’t be in business for long.

  • Great post, Yvonne! I recently bought a [pretty expensive] ebook from a source I trusted because there was a 1-week discount. I went back to the sales page of that product later and realized that the $20 off offer was offered to everyone via an exit popup. That’s just lame!

    So yes, it does bother me, and that trusted source is now not so trusted. I think it’s fine when the limited time offer really is limited, but when it’s just a trick to get you to buy… definitely not cool.

  • P.S. Hey Kathy! You’re beautiful photo is FINALLY showing up here. AMEN.

  • Three cheers for us … and for integrity!

    “Deceive me once – shame on you. Deceive me twice – shame on me.”

    It never ceases to amaze me how people will continue to follow and purchase items from those that are CLEARLY without scruples and completely void of a conscience. How in the world do those catbirds sleep at night?!

    Wonderful topic, Yvonne, and thanks for gracing this space today!

  • SheilaAtwood

    RT @MelanieKissell: Integrity vs Scarcity http://www.melaniekissell.com/2010/11/in… #blog30 #blogboost

  • Melanie, I enjoyed writing this post as I believe that integrity should always be at the forefront of whatever we do. Thanks for inviting me to do a guest post on your blog.

    Kathy and Sheila, Thank you for sharing how you feel and what you do. You know, I never thought of letting the directories know, but it makes sense because the products are marketed through them.

    There are so many popular marketers bear the stamp of Integrity proudly, and it’s just sad that there are those who don’t pattern their business accordingly.

  • Yvonne,

    Love the title of this post.

    Integrity: an uncompromising adherence to a code of moral or artistic or other values: utter sincerity, honest and candor, avoidance of deception, expediency, artificiality or shallowness of any kind.

    Want to know how I feel when I know I have been deceived?

    It ticks me off!

    I have no problem letting the person know that I did not purchase or that I am returning my purchase because I have been deceived.

    I have no problem letting the directories like Clickbank know of the dishonesty.

    If you noticed, Ebay has a very good system for keeping their vendors honest. Each and every purchase you make comes with the chance to rate your experience. Those vendors who do a great job are rewarded with a badge of excellent. Those who fail often drop away on their own. If not they are asked to leave.

  • Yvonne… you’ve really hit the nail on the head with this post.

    I really don’t mind the scarcity strategy used… if it’s honest. I loose respect for those who use this tactic and don’t stand behind it. If I go back after a deadline has passed and still see a product for sale… I loose trust in that individual.

    I have learned if Robert Plank says the product or video will come down at a certain time… it does. Right on the minute.

    Therefore, I trust him in many more areas than just the scarcity strategy that he’s used to get my attention. I know I can count on him.