Turning potential clients into paying customers is the million-dollar question of any business. We often look at our marketing tools (price especially but also our services, coupons, sales, and marketing materials) for the answer. Consider using reciprocity to boost sales. A bit of psychology can turn a maybe into a yes.
Marketers have found that reciprocity can offer an opening into increasing business. The Principle of Reciprocity is, in essence, “the human need and tendency to want to give something back when something is received.” (Womeninbusiness.About.com) The drive to give back is greatest when the gift has been received with no expectation to reciprocate. Consider a common social grace as an easy example of reciprocity: When a person says “Thank you,” “You’re welcome” often follows.
The results of using reciprocity are impressive. Waiters who gave a mint along with the customer’s check (without mentioning the mint) saw a 3% increase in tips versus the control group (no mints given). Waiters who personally offered two mints saw a 14% increase and those who brought out mints with the check and a few minutes later personally brought out more mints saw an increase of 21%! (www.helpscout.net)
If you want try using reciprocity to boost your sales, you have to give first and your gift must be perceived as having no strings attached. Here are some examples:
- Offer an extra cleaning service or a discount when you make your quote (known as the “that’s-not-all” technique). Make it sound like it is a personalized offer, not made to everyone.
- Send a thank you note and a small token (key chain, pen, etc.) to someone who asked for a quote.
- Send a small gift to customers who recommended your company. It is a simple way to give first, leading them to reciprocate by hiring you again.
Once you send the gift, don’t wait on your follow-up contact. Experts suggest that the desire to return the favor of a gift decreases as more time passes since receiving the gift.
Other ways to give that are less costly include a newsletter with information, a follow-up call after then service is completed to make sure they are satisfied, or offering free quotes on other services they might need. When you create your own gifts, be sure there are no obligations for your customers to return the favor.
You do a lot of work to market your business and get your name out in the community, but that isn’t enough. You need to seal the deal more often than not. Reciprocity is a great way to use psychology to help move your potential clients into satisfied customers.