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The Theory of Scarcity: A dreaded disease

Is your attitude plagued by the Theory of Scarcity. Read on to learn what the symptom are and how you can cure it.


Today's Rocket Fuel is about the Theory of Scarcity... a problem that grips many salespeople.  In this excerpt from my book, TOP Seller by Brian Kjenner (available on Amazon) Bob Stephens is having an enlightening conversation with his manager Jay:

    Jay turns around and looks at me. “Bob, my manager helped me to see that closing wasn’t the problem. My problem was that I was operating under the Theory of Scarcity.”    Now I am confused. “What is the Theory of Scarcity?”    Jeff points at the triangle on the board. “This represents the Theory of Scarcity,” he says, “you see, salespeople who operate under the Theory of Scarcity believe there are very, very few prospects out there who are either qualified or have needs for our services. Over my first couple of years, my prospecting efforts went down and down and I invested more time uncovering needs and presenting solutions. The truth was I was operating with fewer and fewer prospects, and so I had to work harder at the bottom parts of the sales process, trying to turn whatever prospects I got into clients. I held on to every prospect like gold, hoping they would be worth something someday. I figured out, while some of them were gold, a lot of them were fool’s gold. Bob, the problem is if you don’t get rid of your fool’s gold early in the sales process, you end up with a bunch of prospects who will likely never buy from you but who consume your time and energy. The thing about this is…”

There are two types of salespeople who suffer from the Theory of Scarcity.  See if you recognize the symptoms:


The first type is the typical "hard closer."  Every time this person gets a prospect, they begin pushing.  The closer they get to the end of the sales process, the harder they push.  Why?  They are convinced there aren't a lot of prospects out there so when they do get one, they have to do everything in their power to close the sale.


The second type of Theory of Scarcity sufferer is very nice. When their prospects cancel appointment after appointment or refuse to make a decision, they reach their height of niceness.  "No problem, I realize you have only had four weeks to consider the proposal... I'm sure you're very busy.  I'll call back in two weeks."  And they do, and to their surprise, their prospects still haven't looked at their information, and so they arrange to call back once again, and the cycle continues.  The real problem is they don't want to ask any tough questions because they are afraid their prospect will say, "No, I'm not interested in what you have to offer."  You see, the "nice" Theory of Scarcity sufferers are also convinced there are very few qualified prospects so they cringe every time they're forced to cross another prospect off their list.


There is only one sure cure for these Theory of Scarcity victims: heavy doses of high-quality prospecting.  Quality prospecting puts the salesperson in the driver's seat.  They know that the salespeople who are great prospectors never have to worry about forcing unwanted products on unwilling customers!



Written by:

Brian Kjenner

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