Robert Cialdini’s last principle of influence is scarcity.

Again this is fairly common sense. But I think we need to spend a few minutes discussing it because you definitely want to incorporate this in your business or if you’re helping someone change their behavior.

A sense of scarcity creates a sense of urgency that would require someone to make a decision faster than they normally would.

If you’re thinking in terms of if someone feels that there is a tough decision or they’re presented with a lot of different options, there’s going to be a high likelihood that they’re going to want to consider all the variables, do additional research, maybe talk to some other people.


I really spend a lot of time thinking about this and this goes up with the value of the project as well as their investment and that could be in terms of time or resources and not just money but the amount of effort that’s going to take for that person to take on that project. There needs to be some level of scarcity to help that individual make that decision sooner rather than later.


Promotions have been used by businesses to attract customers. Photo credit:

In terms of a business, there’s lots of marketing that is centered around this. Limited time offer, today only, and limited time sale promotions. This is something that businesses have been using for an extremely long period of time but I think it has merit for your business as well as helping someone change their behavior.

You are going to want to introduce an element of scarcity that someone has a deadline, someone has a fixed time that they need to adopt this new behavior so that it forces them to look at what they need to do to change sooner rather than later.

If you’re thinking in terms of Parkinson’s law which is the idea that the amount of time that it will take to complete any given task is equal to the amount of time that is available to complete a task. So any task or change in behavior will stretch out to the point that that the person has available to them to make a decision or change their behavior.

Scarcity speeds up the whole process. You want somebody adopting that proper behavior or making the decision about buying your product or service as soon as possible so you can move ahead with the whole process and that everyone can start benefiting from that transaction.


Scarcity speeds up the process in buying a product. Photo credit:

So don’t forget about scarcity. It’s everywhere but it has implications for marketing your product and service as well as helping someone change their behavior.