Karma and The Law of Reciprocation

    April 19, 2002

Adding value. Karma. Give and you shall receive. No matter what you call it, it works … and works big time.

It all comes back to the fact that most people are generous by nature. If you give a no-obligation gift or do a good turn for someone, more often than not, they’ll feel compelled to repay you in kind.

This element of human nature can be effectively utilised in marketing.

For instance, you will experience far better results if you offer information obligation-free, as a starting point, instead of trying to sell something from a standing start.

Give them a taste of what you can do for them. Offer them a free eBook. A FREE trial. Let them experience the product in action in an obligation-free way.

THEN – once they’ve tasted the product, then ask them to buy.

The key is to provide a gesture that has no strings attached.

Here’s an interesting story that offers a good example of the law of reciprocation.

A property management client of mine was about to implement some exciting new changes in their systems and loyalty programs. Before they got stuck into those changes they wanted to know what their clients wanted.

We knew that by sending a conventional feedback form, we’d receive pretty dismal response because people are basically lazy. And we knew that if we made clients an offer for returning the form, their responses would improve significantly.

But instead of doing that, they went one step further. They sent a FREE gift in advance. We sent a feedback/survey form and attached a letter to it which thanked them for being a client and asked for their feedback. In it, we included the following passage:

“As a way of saying thank you in advance for letting us know what you think, you’ll see we’ve included an “instant scratch it” ticket. Good luck. I hope you scratch up a winner.”

Instead of a 5% or possibly 10% return rate on the feedback forms, a whopping 76% of people returned the survey form. Sure, it cost them $1 each for scratchies, but after all, $1 for valuable market research data is nothing.

One of our insurance industry clients also used this “reciprocation” law with amazing results. They gifted business owners a FREE clock, pen set or bag (each worth around $25) just for providing them with the due date on their insurance policies. The campaign consistently pulled 20-22% from a cold list THEN 80% of those respondents ended up insuring with the company when their policies fell due.

What can you do to capitalise?

That answer is heaps. It’s a matter of showing your potential and existing clients that you care … and it’s about making them feel special.

Here are 6 ways you can do that:

1. When clients refer others, send a surprise gift thanking them for the gesture.

2. Send “no strings attached” news articles and information reports that provide valuable ideas relating to their interests.

3. Send surprise gifts thanking people for investing.

4. Create and send out your own newsletter packed with valuable information (not sales material).

5.If you sell a subscription service, provide a 3 month FREE trial.

6. Host special “thank you” events for clients to show your gratitude – golf days, seminars, free tickets to something that interests them.

Kris Mills of Words that Sell ( http://www.wordsthatsell.com.au/ ) is a top selling copywriter, trainer and author of numerous how-to guides including Proposals and Tenders (Bids) that Sell. Kris has also produced a FREE ebook entitled “11 Bid Writing Sins and How to Avoid Them”. To arrange a FREE copy, visit:http://www.wordsthatsell.com.au/tendersebook.htm