I’ve often said that the best sales people don’t ‘push’ – they ‘pull’.

They understand what zero-pressure selling is all about and how to use Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO) to motivate clients to buy.

We’re all susceptible to FOMO. It’s why we hate the idea of not being there for the next England game at the local pub, or why we’ll sometimes pick the same dish as someone else when we’re eating out, just in case it turns up and looks better than what we originally wanted.

But in sales, FOMO is your secret weapon.

Going, going… GONE

When was the last time you bought something almost solely because you thought it was going to run out?

Booking.com is brilliant at this. While you browse potential hotels for your next getaway, you’ll be peppered with messages telling you that THERE’S ONLY ONE LEFT, and 3 PEOPLE JUST BOOKED THIS ROOM.

It creates scarcity and a rush to the finish post if you want to grab that particular hotel.

Some women’s clothing brands have also started using this, showing you how many people are looking at a particular item and creating perceived lack of stock.

It works.

More importantly, it removes any of the barriers businesses often inadvertently place in the path of the buying journey.

Perceived scarcity for in-demand products, events, or services is perhaps the greatest example of FOMO in action when it comes to sales tactics.

scarcity in sales

Fear versus desire

Fear and desire both work as motivators, but in an out-and-out fist fight, fear is always stronger.

For instance, picture the financial advisor who, unable to sleep, discovers some vital information that will make her client an extra £50K.

There’s just one problem – it’s 4am, and in order to make that extra cash, her client will need to act within the next 30 minutes.

What should she do? Wake the client? And, if so, what on earth should the opening gambit be?

“Er, hi. I’ve just found something, and if you act now, you’ll make £50K.”


“Sorry to wake you, but I’ve just found something, and if you don’t act now, you’ll lose £50K.”

If you were the client, which sentence would make you jump out of bed?

When someone threatens to take something away from you, the FOMO you’ll experience is STRONG.

What if you’re not a financial advisor?

Our little late night tale above is just one example of how FOMO can be such a powerful motivator in sales.

But it can be applied to any form of sales, no matter the industry, product, or service.

This is even the case if you don’t technically have scarcity. For instance, if you provide some form of software platform, it never really ‘runs out’, does it?

That’s fine – you can engineer scarcity. A free trial period with a fixed expiration date, or a brand-new feature that can only be experienced by a few lucky first sign-ups.

Remember – as a salesperson, your job is to PULL potential customers towards you, and FOMO does nothing more than tickle one of our most powerful emotions.

Who needs to be pushy?

The days of pushy selling tactics are, thankfully, long gone.

Instead, it’s all about positioning yourself as an expert and creating a sense of FOMO for anyone who dares look past your offering.

The best news? That means you can leave pushy sales tactics to those who are sleazy enough to think they’re the right thing to do.

Instead, stand back, be confident, and make sure the right sale happens. There’s no need to force it!

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