Making your product appear scarce

What’s your favourite Sunday roast joint?  Beef, chicken, lamb?  We asked our three children at the beginning of the year which they preferred and unanimously they said pork.  The salesman in me made me ask a few questions as to why and immediately they all replied “we love the crackling, the meat’s just OK”

And when I asked them which meat they preferred they admitted they weren’t really keen on pork as a meat, they actually preferred chicken but they’d choose pork every time as they adored the crackling.

Now I have to say Claire does cook a mean roast pork and her crackling is just spot on – crisp, juicy and just delicious, so I can see where my children were coming from.  The only problem is that there isn’t much of it, I wish there were more.  Crackling that is.  It is a scarce resource.

So how do you combine chicken with crackling to create the perfect Sunday roast?  Well you can and we did.  Claire bought some crackling on its own as a roll from Morrisons – cost 88p – and cooked it alongside the chicken in the oven for as very special Sunday lunch.  The children called it Crackin.

Apparently the court of Henry VIII used to do it all the time – that is, mix meats together in a joint. Weird.

The dinner was going to be a huge success – chicken with pork crackling. Yum yum.

Following enormous portions of chicken and crackling, we tucked in. The meal was eerily quiet, no one said a word just lots of crunching. The children didn’t finish off their plates and the crackling bowl was hardly touched.

I couldn’t understand it until Euan said “Dad it was nice but there was too much there and I didn’t fancy it, sorry Dad”

And this made me think of one of the most famous persuasion tactics known to mankind – that of scarcity.  When something is scarce we want it – but when something becomes plentiful we lose interest.

The makers of fruit pastilles did this years ago.  The most favourite of all the coloured pastilles was the black one – they researched thoroughly and found out that the majority of people loved the black pastille more than all the other colours and people would even discard the others until they reached the coveted black one.

So Rountrees came up with a packet of black only pastilles and expected a hit.  Just like my crackling idea, it flopped – suddenly they were plentiful and demand fell and soon after they withdrew them from the shops.

So think about what you do.  Do you sell a product or service, do you coach people on a 1 to 1 basis?  Think how you can make this scarce?  Picking up on the coaching side, could you not have so many dates available for coaching. Could you limit the time you coach?  Might you not be able to coach someone this week because your diary is full?

If you negotiate, don’t be too keen to say yes immediately, hold back a little, and don’t provide everything they want.  Limit numbers, quantity, explain you’re waiting for delivery because the product is so very popular.

Remember scarcity makes anything appear more valuable and drives up demand. Position your product, service or idea that you’re selling, so it appears precious by making it appear scarce.

And the crackling, what ever happened to that?  It was a damp squid.  In fact the children have gone off crackling altogether which is not such a bad thing really.  Just looking at the stuff makes your arteries harden.