Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Shoot for Fear If You Can Suit
This rhetorical question is in a recent Associated Press article. The questioner quoted is Bill Bernstein, owner of East Side Gun Shop in Nashville. Gun sales are near a twenty-year high, according to Forbes, even though America is already the world’s most heavily armed nation.
The motivator is fear. Fear that Barack Obama—seen by the National Rifle Association as wanting to severely limit gun ownership—will be reelected. Fear of violence which followed last July’s movie theatre massacre in Aurora, Colorado and, less than a month later, the shootings at the Sikh Temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin.
Whether or not you sell firearms, you can profit by recognizing that in certain situations, you can make a sale more likely by arousing in the customer a sense of fear—fear about the consequences of not completing the purchase or not buying into the course of action you’re proposing.
But unless the fear appeal is crafted well, it could end up doing damage to your business. With the gun shopper, you don’t need to increase fear, at least according to Bill Bernstein’s account. For other products and services, you’ll need to raise enough fear of a real danger to win the customer’s attention and motivate action. Do it only to the degree that you’ve a guaranteed way to substantially reduce the risk. Don’t oversell.
Researchers at Auburn University find that if the fear becomes too intense or if shoppers don’t see a way out, the shoppers become defensive and start thinking about why they don’t need the item you’re wanting to sell them. Or if they do end up completing the purchase, chances are they’ll associate negative feelings with your store, making it less likely they’ll come back again.
With items such as handguns, irritation with you also might arise because you can’t suit the shopper: The manufacturers aren’t keeping up with the demand. One of the largest, Sturm Ruger & Co., Inc., stopped taking orders for a couple of months earlier this year, and niche market supplier Dan Wesson Arms, Inc. has sold out its entire production schedule.
You don’t want shoppers going somewhere else to get products they could purchase from you. If it’s accurate to say so, you could point out that they’ll likely have trouble finding the item anywhere.
Click below for more:
Craft Fear Appeals
Turn Out-of-Stocks to Your Advantage
Posted by Bruce D. Sanders, PhD at 9:00 AM