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Reciprocity Principle – Influence and Sales Strategies

Reciprocity Principle - Influence and Sales Strategies

Reciprocity Principle – Influence and Sales Strategies

WHAT IS THE RECIPROCITY PRINCIPLE?

The reciprocity principle infers that people are more likely to say yes to people whom they owe. If you give first, people are more likely to give back often at a perceived higher value. The gift doesn’t have to be something tangible – it could be something intangible like a compliment. When someone does a good deed for us, we naturally feel obliged to return the favour in the future. As a consequence, humans have a tendency to echo the actions of others.

If you wanted to make this extremely powerful persuasion principle even more effective, then it’s worth considering making the gift both personalised and unexpected. I know of a fantastic entertainer who had been booked for a private corporate event through an agency for a client. He has never worked for this agency before and was keen to work more.  You can imagine to his dismay when he found out that the agency booker was not at the event to allow him to introduce himself in person and showcase his performance to her. 

It was revealed that a few days before one of her family members had passed away and she had taken some time off work to grieve. Instead of leaving the interaction there and or calling up later to pass on his condolences, he did something both personalised and unexpected. He bought a candle and condolences card and posted them out to her with a handwritten note. This was done with authenticity, care and consideration. 

Two days later, he received an email. The booker was overwhelmed by the thoughtful and generous gift, admitting that, not only was it her favourite brand of the candle but her favourite scent too. He later went on to establish himself as that company’s, go-to entertainer when his type of as act was requested. 

But a gift doesn’t always have to be physical, nor does it have to be paid for. The act of reciprocity is only limited to your imagination. You could share information, help or advice, give away free tickets to an event, send out a birthday card or more. Whatever you give, the receiver will feel that not only do you care, but you value them and your relationship too.

A significant amount of research shows that carrying out a favour for someone first often results in the opposite party giving significantly more in return in the form of reciprocation in the form of the reciprocity principle. Giving a favour also has its strongest effect when the two parties don’t know one another that well, and the gift is small but thoughtful and unexpected. 

However, research has shown that giving a gift that is too big or generous may cause the recipient to feel overwhelmed and uncomfortable in returning the favour. Above all, a gift or favour should be given with a high degree of authenticity. Whether you are giving a candle, a box of chocolates, a thank you card, or even remembering their birthday, this will ensure people around you feel highly valued – which is an important commodity when influencing others.

But a gift doesn’t always have to be physical, nor does it have to be paid for. The act of reciprocity is only limited to your imagination. You could share information, help or advice, give away free tickets to an event, send out a birthday card or more. Whatever you give, the receiver will feel that not only do you care, but you value them and your relationship too.

Although the rules of reciprocation differ slightly within each country, between each country which I will share in a different video it is still evident that the most fundamental rules apply. Even a country can feel a psychological burden if it doesn’t repay a favour and this is a societal belief more than a cultural one. This is evidenced most clearly in 1985 when Ethiopia was overcome by poverty, starvation and disease. They were struggling to care for their own civilians. However, that same year, they donated $5,000 worth of aid to Mexico City to its victims who had just experienced a major earthquake. 

The reason they made such a generous donation was that 50 years earlier, in 1935 when Italy had invaded Ethiopia, it was Mexico who sent aid to them. The 1985 earthquake, all those years later, was Ethiopia’s opportunity to reciprocate the generosity shown by Mexico.  Psychologist John Stacey Adams developed his equity theory in the 1960s and it can be equally applied to international reciprocation too, in that we are always trying to pay back offers we receive in order to re-establish equality – thus the power of the reciprocity principle.

TO DISCOVER MORE INFLUENCE STRATEGIES LIKE THE RECIPROCITY PRINCIPLE:

Duncan shares more influence insights and tactical strategies as well as more about the Reciprocity Principle on his Youtube Channel on Youtube.com/duncanstevens – to discover more about the Reciprocity Principle or to even hire him to speak about influence, sales, leadership or collaboration at your event you can follow the link below. Duncan is a professional keynote speaker and global authority on influence and persuasion. 

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