Over 20 years ago, I rented an office in downtown Old Greenwich, Connecticut, across the street from the best sandwich shop in town. The first time I went into the shop, I noticed that the menu was a copy of an original created on a typewriter.
The thing was barely legible and made worse by scratched out prices with new ones scribbled in. The menus hardly reflected the quality of owner Gary’s creative and delicious sandwiches.
The proud owner of a new computer and state of the art laser printer, I took one of his menus back to my office, reformatted it in an easy to read typeface, and printed a stack of them. The next day when I went to order my sandwich, I offered Gary the professional-looking menus as a present.
Gary was so pleased that he made my sandwiches free for two weeks and gives me a $2 discount on every sandwich I buy to this day.
My friend John used the same basic law of human behavior to get help.
Ten years ago John bought a 28’ Corsair sailboat, a larger version of the 24’ trimaran that I sail. With limited experience with large sailboats, launching this boat in the spring and hauling it out of the water in the fall was beyond what John could manage on his own.
So John asked if he could help me launch my boat and if I’d help him in return, and we’d get both boats taken care of the same day.
For the last ten years, at the beginning and end of the summer, we’ve helped each other launch and haul our boats. It’s a fair amount of work, but by now we’ve got it down to a science and we enjoy each other’s company and the reciprocity.
I’m sure you use the “law” of reciprocity in your life; now put it to work in your marketing strategies.
Six Marketing Strategies To Make More Money
It’s simple; when a person does something for you that you value, you feel an obligation to that person. You’d like to repay the good deed.
How can you use this basic — and surprisingly powerful — fact of human behavior to grow your small business and make more money?
You can use it to:
1. Generate leads
Give away a free report or mp3 that has value to your prospects, and they’ll return the favor by giving you their contact information. Then you can start building a relationship with them. Almost every successful Internet marketer uses this marketing strategy, and it works for marketing offline, too.
Want more ideas on generating leads? >>
2. Sign up new clients
I know many consultants who regularly speak for local chambers of commerce or for industry association gatherings. They share their best ideas and, in return, walk away from each talk with a handful of new clients.
Other successful firms attract prospects with free seminars. For example, if you’re an investment advisor you could offer a seminar on wisely managing investments during a recession. One local financial firm used this marketing strategy and added $40 million in new assets within six months — without making a single sales call.
3. Sell more products
I recently offered a free teleseminar on copywriting to my entire mailing list. It took me almost a week to put it together and cost me hundreds of dollars, but I it was well worthwhile.
The comments I got from people who participated were very positive. They loved the content and expressed their interest in large numbers by taking advantage of the one-time trial offer associated with the call.
If you want people to buy from you, start the process by giving them something of value.
Interested in selling more?
4. Build your membership program
Getting people to make a commitment to pay a monthly fee for a year or more is a huge marketing challenge. The easiest way to overcome this is to give prospects the first month or two for free. Then give them relevant and useful content, and they’ll stay in and keep paying.
It’s a simple marketing strategy that most magazine publishers use, because it works!
5. Get more readers for your blog and your tweets
Want more people to read your blog? To get other bloggers to link to your blog, provide a link to theirs on your site. Then contact them and they’ll be much more likely to return the favor.
The same is true with Twitter. If you want more followers, sign up to follow the people you want following you. At least 70% will return the favor and start following your tweets.
6. Get a bigger tip
(I know most of you aren’t working as a waiter or waitress but I just wanted to include this one to show you the power of the law of reciprocity.)
Waitress and waiters increase their tips in two ways in addition to being there when you need them. One tactic is to include a mint or small candy with your check when they bring it at the end of the meal. Research shows that patrons leave 25 to 30% larger tips when candy is included with the check.
Another marketing strategy used in the restaurant industry is to share a “secret”. When you’re ordering, the waitress may whisper to you that the pork dish you wanted isn’t one she would suggest, and then she gives you a couple of personal recommendations.
When the check arrives, patrons who were given the “secret” recommendation leave larger tips.
There are hundreds of ways to use the “law of reciprocity” to persuade prospects to contact you, to buy from and to spend more with you. Use them and see your profits grow.
P.S. If you’re tired of trying to ramp up your profits with selling, try giving away value. Give your prospects something they want and can use right away. In return you’ll get more business than you ever imagined and feel good about it all the way to the bank.