The Seven Rules of Reciprocity
Any Sales person who knows their job understands the law of reciprocity in selling. It’s something that should be pretty instinctive if you want to get the best response from customers. However, if you know and practice this technique, the end result can be truly amazing. Here are my seven rules for reciprocity:
Rule 1 – People Want to Be Even.
People are generally hard wired to respond to human kindness (There will always be exceptions but let’s consider them as the absolute minority) and therefore they feel the need to return the favour. This can obviously be very useful in sales.
Rule 2 – It’s Not Necessarily About Material Value
Studies have been carried out in the past to see how people react to acts of kindness. The results were fascinating because they are not what you would expect. When people were given material objects they felt the need to respond. The amazing thing is that they were willing to give things of greater value and frequently didn’t count the cost. This is valuable knowledge for people in the business of selling. I still however believe that this should not be abused, because it could eventually come back to bite if used unethically.
Rule 3- It’s Not an Exchange or You Will Fail
Another really important consideration when using the law of reciprocity is the fact that you can’t always expect a return like some kind of exchange. The customer or prospect will not react in the same way if there is any indication that you have done them a favour and that you expect one in return. This one may seem obvious but I have seen lots of examples, more stupid than you could even imagine.
Rule 4- Make it a Daily Routine
Reciprocity starts to work when you use as part of your daily routine. Initially you may not notice much of a response and that’s why you have to stick with it. I’ve received emails from people months after I did them a small favour. It’s amazing how people remember if you treat them nicely. The more you do for others, the more you will see others wanting to do the same for you.
Rule 5 – Start Thanking People
These days people take a lot of things for granted and this can be turned into an opportunity for sales people. How many handwritten thank you notes have you received lately. At a guess I would say not many at all. People appreciate gratitude, especially when it’s personalised and not some email template that everyone gets.
Rule 6 – Start today and Monitor results
Start helping everyone you know in little ways that will make a difference to their day. Start writing down every act that comes flying back to you like a boomerang. Make a list of reciprocators and keep helping them as much as you can. This will help you calculate who you can spend money on in terms of promotional gifts.
Rule 7 – Help others in a way that comes naturally to you
This really comes down to the things that you are passionate about. It’s going to seem a lot less natural if you don’t enjoy what you are doing. This is why so many entrepreneurs say that you should do what you are passionate about. It’s so much easier to work for free if you enjoy doing something anyway.
So I now hope that you can see the power behind the law of reciprocity. I’m sure you can find creative ways of making it help you grow your sales or business. The great thing about the law of reciprocity is that it often costs you nothing to try.