When I first started learning techniques and strategies in marketing, one of the primary strategies taught was to create urgency or scarcity.
In other words, tell the customer that the price will go up in 10 hours or you only have so many products you can sell before you’re sold out. This strategy has worked in sales and marketing for centuries.
Go try to buy a new car and see what the salesperson tells you.
I remember considering buying a new car 2 years ago. I went shopping to several of the dealerships – Toyota, Honda and Kia. I was particularly interested in the Kia Sedona.
I was, and still am, an avid Toyota fan but considered branching out . . . . and maybe to a Kia.
I walked in, test drove the Sedona and talked with the salesman for several minutes about the comparison to the Toyota Rav4 (which I am in LOVE with). The salesman was not pushy – or didn’t seem so.
He went over the different options and advantages of the Kia over the Toyota – none of which I thought were deal breakers.
And, then, right when I was getting ready to tell him that I would seriously consider the Sedona and be back for a second look . . . he laid it on THICK.
“I would purchase this vehicle today, if I were you. I know you like the configuration and driving it. I heard the company is going to stop manufacturing the Sedona this year.”
I was so disappointed.
Not in the lie that the salesman told me, but in the fact that he thought he had to try. I had been honest and said I wasn’t buying that day, but comparing. I would be back for a second ride if I liked it enough.
Apparently he didn’t believe me.
My response . .. “I’m sorry to hear that because I liked the car. But if the company doesn’t think enough of this model to continue carrying it, then I don’t think enough of it to consider purchasing it . . . at least from this dealership.”
And, little ones in tow, I walked out.
Scarcity and urgency work in sales and marketing – but only when executed well.
Urgency also works in your personal life.
One evening my younger sister called a bit stressed. She was in her senior year in college and had some big paper due in a day or two. Not sure how she would complete the paper and the rest of her responsibilities, she was stressing . . . a LOT.
Until I told her that she always came through when she was under pressure.
It seemed it was all she needed to refocus and complete her assignments. She used that statement for years to come – and she performed under pressure.
Although not the most effective means of being productive, stress, urgency, pressure, scarcity can all increase your creative juices and push you do to things you wouldn’t normally create or develop.
BUT . . .
Stress is incredibly harmful to your health. Stress reduces your restorative sleep which increases your risk of heart disease, obesity and dementia at an early age.
Stress increases your output of cortisol, which influences your leptin and insulin balance, leading to type-2 diabetes.
Stress can trigger a heart attack or increase your risk of stroke and other immune mediated diseases, such as lupus, arthritis and some cancers.
In other words . . . you shouldn’t depend on stress in order to improve your productivity.
In the life of a salesman, whose sole income is based on commission and sales, stress is a function of their daily lives.
But, especially for people who depend solely on a commission based income, stress is a killer.
Your customer can smell the stress.
And stress is not attractive. You want to make the sale, but you don’t want to be stressed doing it.
Your boss can smell the stress.
You want the raise or the promotion, but you don’t want to be stressed asking for it.
How do you create the urgency and increase the productivity without increasing the stress?
The difference lies in the center of control.
If the urgency is from forces outside yourself, it increases your stress level and reduces your overall performance.
But, if the urgency is from a force inside yourself . . . if you create the urgency to complete the task without adding stress you’ll experience greater productivity and increased success.
External situations can increase your stress causing panic, anxiety, loss of sleep, increased anger and frustration, loss of control, and worry.
Internal urgency can focus your efforts because YOU are in control of the situation. Namely, if you don’t finish it you only answer to yourself. The world won’t crash in on you – you only have to get up and do it again.
Success comes from centering your urgency and becoming more productive.
You know what’s important, what you can do to complete it, what needs to be controlled. . . . in your home, work, relationships and even your housekeeping.
The urgency YOU create motivates your actions and is a source of emotional intelligence. Your LACK of anxiety, panic, and feelings of loss of control are the things that drive your daily tasks.
Whether you need to get the groceries after work, the housekeeping done on Saturday, the storage room emptied and cleaned or help with your kids Diorama for school, you operate from a centered approach that reduces your stress and increases your creativity.
If something doesn’t get completed, the world doesn’t stop spinning and you aren’t flooded with anxiety.
Instead, you adjust your schedule, your calendar and give yourself grace. Each of the tasks you assign to yourself today will be there tomorrow. Unless you are working in life-saving/life-threatening situation where seconds count, you should dial back your stress and increase your productivity.
Your family needs you to be centered. Your children are watching and learning from what you DO and not what you say. Your boss is depending on your actions.
When you operate from a point of centered self-regulated urgency, you don’t experience the stress that kills and you create some pretty amazing things in the process.