Have you ever tried this trick on a prospect?

You’re pretty far into the sales process, and it’s time to put your offer in writing.

So you put a deadline on it. You write…

This Proposal Expires in 30 days.

You present it to the prospect, and you politely bring the prospect’s attention to the deadline.

As the deadline nears (or even passes), you notice that the prospect is completely ignoring it, and expects more time.

Such a deadline is nearly useless.

I called this a "trick" because used in this manner a deadline is no more than a weak attempt to "trick" your prospect into making a decision sooner than he’s ready to.

Scarcity and Credibility in Selling

Deadlines are a form of scarcity.

Scarcity is the principle of limitation. Limited quantity. Limited time.

Using scarcity to sell is placing a limit on the prospect’s chance to get what you are selling.

Used properly, scarcity in selling can be a powerful driver for your prospects.

The 30 day expiration "trick" doesn’t work most of the time for a very simple reason.

It’s not believable.

There is no reason behind it.

You see to use scarcity in selling, there has to be a reason for it.

For example, you could tell someone that your proposal expires on December 31st.

That would be a deadline, but one without a reason.

What would be better would be to tell them your proposal expires at 12 noon on Friday December 29th because* that is the latest you can book a sale in 2006. And your company is motivated to record sales in the 2006 calendar year.

The deadline is tied to a real event. This makes the deadlein real, and credible. There is a *reason* for the deadline’s existence.

Hence it is much more likely to motivate your prospect.

There are many different deadlines you can give. What’s critical is that you give a believable reason. Then it will work for you.

If you are going to use scarcity, make it real. Make it believable. You’ll maintain your credibility, and you’ll be more successful in sales as a result.