You might have a product which is perfect for your prospect, but getting them to actually hit the Buy button can still be a little difficult.

Human beings are naturally averse to risk, averse to confronting new things… and let’s face it, most people have a core emotional attachment to their money and it takes a lot to get them to part with it. 🙂

It is because of this that marketing exists. Marketing, by nature, is getting the other person to see the world in the same way that you do, then getting them to take action on it. So, there’s TWO components to it: (a) Effective communication, (b) getting them to take action.

And, they ARE two different things. I can tell you a number of products or causes I’ve been convinced would be great, and I didn’t buy them. So, these two things do go hand in hand.

There are 4 factors you can use to close the sale. Actually, there are more of them, however these 4 are the easiest to understand and are also pretty easily recognized.

#1 – Fear of Loss

Human beings are geared to be more motivated by fear of loss than they are the promise of something better. Pain is a stronger driver than pleasure.

Nobody wants to miss out on something. It is something they can’t get otherwise, and if it goes away, there is impending doom (not literally, but you get the idea).

How is this often used? Well…

  • Buy before said date or the price will go up.
  • This product is going away in X hours, and if you don’t buy it, you will be stuck doing x, y and z.

You get the idea. It only works if you’ve done an effective job communicating the core benefits of the product you’re selling. If they don’t really agree with the message, they just won’t care about losing out on the opportunity to buy.

#2 – Greed

Yes, people are greedy. They want what the other guy has. It just is the way people are.

In marketing, the most common technique here is to use social proof. Testimonials, videos with people using what you’re selling, social media comments about it, etc. In door-to-door sales, you’ve probably seen the seller mention how your neighbors have bought what they’ve got. I don’t know if that is true or not, but I know why they’re saying that: They’re trying to tap into my sense of greed and my desire to follow the crowd and get what they’ve got.

So, how do you use this in your marketing?

  • Show others using and having success with what you’re selling.
  • Show proof that others are buying.

#3 – Indifference

You ever noticed that when a member of the opposite sex REALLY wants you and basically smothers you that… you want to get the hell away from them? 🙂 But, if they play hard-to-get, you kinda want them, right?

This world is basically rigged that way. That which you strongly desire is often repelled, while that which you’d be fine with either way, you can have it a lot easier.

In sales, it comes down to indifference. And, it works both ways. It communicates to the buyer that you’ll be fine whether they buy or not. Never be fake or rude about it – just be real. All of us are put off by over-agressive salesmen, so just don’t be one of those people. You need to be fine EITHER way. But, the other side of this is… if you truly don’t NEED the sale, you are more likely to get it. Because you’re not stressing over it.

So, how could you use this in your marketing?

  • Sale ends at a certain time, then we’re moving on. You can buy after the deadline, but yada yada…
  • Don’t come across as desperate in your marketing. Don’t go out of your way, for example, to convince people how cheap your thing is… or throw everything and the kitchen sink into your offer in some groveling way to close the sale.

And lastly…

#4 – Sense of Urgency

This one is easiest to understand. Think deadlines. Time is running out and if you don’t take action before that clock gets to zero, you’re going to miss out.

This one goes hand-in-hand with #1 above in many cases. Urgency is one of the strongest motivations for people. In most of the launches and promo campaigns I’ve done over the years, a huge bulk of the sales come in the final hours as the clock ticks down to zero. It is a combination of the timer and the fear of loss.

So, how could you use this in your marketing?

  • Use deadlines regularly. Always give people a reason why they need to take action now rather than later.
  • Use countdown timers. I love these things because they visually communicate the urgency. And, a lot of people (including me) are very visual.

Case Studies

I was at an event recently and a pretty interesting observation was made about how these 4 things are used in combination.

Late night infomercials and home shopping channels. You know you’ve seen them. 🙂

Now, as you look at the screen, look at what is often on the screen:

  • Timers show when the offer will be over.
  • People call in and talk to the host about how awesome the product is, tapping into sense of greed. Sometimes they even show a ticking counter of the number of units sold, which show that people are actually buying the product.
  • The host often refers to the next item coming up, which tells the viewer that, whether you buy or not, they’re moving on. They’re indifferent.
  • Countdown timers are used on these stations a lot, to give the sense of urgency.

And, for a web-based example of this, head on over to the and check out their “Lightning Deals”. You can see the products coming up for offer, but you don’t know the price yet. Then, when it becomes available, you’ve got a countdown timer to show when the deal is over. And, you know they’re moving onto the next thing immediately whether you like it or not, which shows indifference. They show the percentage of available inventory now claimed, which shows people are buying, and taps into our sense of greed.

Amazon Lightning Deals

Want another example which also introduces gamification into it? Check out This site does a masterful job of playing all these sales techniques against each other, all with the goal of scoring incredible deals. It could easily get addictive to people. Visit the site at your own risk. 😉

Is This Ethical?

I know some people will look at this, know it is true, but get a bit of a slimy feeling because you feel you’re manipulating people. Or, you feel as if you’re being manipulated when you see these things aimed at you.

To be blunt – that is misguided thinking.

The only time anybody should feel dirty about these things is when you’re selling something that isn’t truly in their best interest. If you’re selling crap, but using these kinds of closing techniques to sell it, then hell yeah, you should be feeling pretty dirty about it. But, if what you’re selling will TRULY help them with a problem they have, then these closing techniques are there to simply move them into action. As I said before, many people out there can see the most perfect solution to a huge problem they have, and STILL sit on their hands in apathy. That’s because, for many, apathy is the keystone of their life. To do them any good, you’ve got to motivate them out of apathy.

Also, when you find yourself feeling manipulated by any of these things, it is very likely that the first part of the marketing just didn’t connect. Remember, there’s TWO components to it: (a) Effective communication, (b) getting them to take action. If you don’t do an effective job of really understanding the problem and effectively communicating why and how your product will solve it, then throwing these closing techniques on top of it will fall on skeptical ears and will be viewed as sales manipulation.

So, it is definitely a mistake to throw these kind of closing techniques on crappy products or ineffective communication.

It is also a mistake to have a great product and good communication, yet fail to use these closing techniques.

Use your content (be it blog posts, videos, podcasts, etc.) to clearly communicate, but you’ve also got to use these 4 factors to move your audience into action. That’s what BLOG MARKETING is about. 🙂


Do you agree? Post a comment and let me know!

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