It was not that long ago when Thanksgiving weekend was all about family, turkey and football and the concept of Black Friday – the manic shopping day after Thanksgiving – did not even exist. Oh sure, people might head over to the mall and start doing some Christmas shopping, but it was a far cry from the institution and media phenomenon that exists today.
So, how were the retailers able to drum up this feeding frenzy?
They called upon two psychological forces that have always been twin pillars of marketing and sales . . . urgency and scarcity.
Black Friday is “urgent” because the sales only (supposedly) last for one day. Once the doors close at the end of the day, you may never see those kinds of prices again. And as for “scarcity,” you had better get to Best Buy early or those iPads will be sold out. Funny, how they seem to show up again right after the holidays. You would almost think the retailers were holding them in the warehouse just to make us think they were, you know, “scarce.”
Hey, I don’t blame them. Retailing is tough and it’s just getting harder with online shopping and free shipping continuing to grow in popularity. And, if people have a good time hunting for bargains with their families and friends and burning off a little pumpkin pie, what’s not to like?
My point here is, as salespeople, we should keep a close eye on the power of urgency and scarcity at this macro level, and think about ways we can bring them to our one-on-one selling when the opportunity presents itself.
Both can be tremendously helpful in both attracting attention on the front end of a sale, and in closing a deal at the end of the day.