Updated: Dec 12, 2019
FOMO – one of the best selling techniques There are as many selling techniques as there are products and services to sell, but once you understand that all purchases are emotional purchases, whether you are buying a necessity such as milk or eggs or a luxury item such as a yacht, the choice of product and/or of supplier is linked to an emotional need. The best sales techniques, of course, tap into these emotional needs at its most rudimentary level. One of the most successful techniques exploits our fear of “missing out” - commonly referred to as FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out).
Where does FOMO come from? On a very basic level I believe FOMO is hardwired into us as humans. Until about a hundred / a hundred and fifty years ago, there was a very real deadline (literally a ‘drop-dead’ deadline) to acquiring the basics for survival - food, water and shelter before a long winter set in and/or a long summer/dry season set in (depending on where you lived). The urgency to gather and protect these survival basics through a long hard season may no longer exist but our fear and our response to that fear still exist and they are exploited today by just about every business in existence. Interestingly, while the fear has always been around, according to Wikipedia the term FOMO was only coined in 2004.
Here are some simple, pervasive and persuasive FOMO lines you come across almost daily: Don’t miss out on ... ! Time is almost up ... ! Registration is almost up! Seating is limited! The 'X days to Christmas' count down and any other count down till...
Five examples of how you can use FOMO sales techniques effectively in your business (1) A FOMO situation is created when we create an urgency in a client. Let’s be honest, if people think too long they may over-think a purchase and put it off altogether. Car salespeople and realtors understand this and exploit it to a prospective client’s determent. The obvious example of this is the line that the car/house they want may be bought by someone else. This creates a sense of urgency and a fear of loss that in turn triggers a person to buy now rather than risk losing the opportunity.
(2) Small boutique stores exploit this method by displaying a very limited number of garments or products in their stores thus creating a sense of exclusivity and producing a reaction of urgency and fear in customers to buy now or risk losing the garment/service. This limited selection also differentiates them from a department store where dozens of identical items are displayed on racks, thus diluting or reducing the urgency and fear reactions.
(3) Taking the idea of exclusivity to the next level, there is also an emotional connection between FOMO reactions and loyalty clubs. It’s no secret that I love and believe strongly in the power of these clubs to foster brand loyalty, well it seems that club membership can also form its own brand of FOMO reaction. In this case, the exclusivity of the club means the exclusivity of the product offered and a FOMO threat is created that must be answered with a purchase.
(4) FOMO or the FOMO threat is also a great emarketing subject line. Employing content-specific subject lines such “This year you will not forget your anniversary” or “If you plan your summer vacation now you’ll have more money to spend in August!”, are great FOMO threat examples.
(5) Don’t overlook or underestimate the simple, no-tech FOMO versions: I saw a flower vender near a bus stop on a Friday before Shabbat with a handwritten sign that simply asked “Did you buy your wife flowers for Shabbat?” You better believe that there was a line of cars parked alongside this man buying last-minute flowers to bring home for Shabbat. Another of my favorite examples is the sign on the display counter in the Machane Yehuda Shuk jewelry store that read simply “Did you buy your wife something today?” These simple FOMO threats work like a charm!
The best way, as always, to effectively utilize this selling method is to understand your client's pain and fears and to tell them that your product/service will alleviate their pain and solve all their problems - now before it's too late!
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