Written by Sean McPheat |
When you hold a door open for someone to follow you, what do they naturally say to you?
When you offer someone a compliment or admiring comment, what do they normally say back?
You’ll probably answer those questions with something like ‘Thank you’ or ‘That’s kind of you. I appreciate it’
This follows a social law that we habitually follow and subscribe to.
It’s called the ‘law of reciprocity’, and means that when someone does something for us or to us, we tend to want to respond in the same way, or, as its definition suggests:
“Reciprocity in social psychology refers to responding to a positive action with another positive action, rewarding kind actions. As a social construct, reciprocity means that in response to friendly actions, people are frequently much nicer and much more cooperative than predicted by the self-interest model; conversely, in response to hostile actions they are frequently much more nasty and even brutal”.
Yes, we often see the results of our generosity or otherwise in the payback we receive from others, and this is important to recognise as it helps us in a myriad of sales situations.
That’s why, if we are able to give something to our prospect first, we almost inevitably create the situation why they subconsciously feel they need to give something back. It could be described as a behaviour in which two people or groups of people give each other help and advantages that both benefit from.
So, what could you give as a sales consultant that would encourage a prospect to give back to you?
Here are some ideas that you could try when working to generate business from a prospect:
1 – Write an article on LinkedIn or similar that specifically focuses on a challenge or problem that is affecting your prospect(s). Send it to them, mentioning that you published it, and you thought they might be interested in it
2 – Get interviewed on a podcast talking about subjects that are valuable to your prospecting list. Don’t make it a sales pitch but a valuable piece of information that you can send on.
3 – Determine what problems your prospects are facing and research how you as a company or individual can help. If you’ve helped a similar company in similar circumstances and it got a result, send the prospect details of how you turned things around. Because they are so close to the problem, they may not have seen the correct journey they need to take, so your answer may be just what they are looking for.
4 – Build a value proposition for them by giving them resources or your time on things that really matter to them. Give some advice freely. Set up their blog for them, or write a guest article for them if they already have one. Do some market research for them, or anything that makes you a valuable asset for them and their company.
Of course, I’m not suggesting you’ll always get business from these suggestions, as there are lots of other areas for the buyer to consider. But it may well open the door to further opportunities, as the client realises you’ve given them something valuable and therefore has the desire to reciprocate in some way.
Talking of freebies, grab your complimentary copy of ‘450 Sales Questions – What To Ask In Any Situation’ here
Originally published: 7 October, 2015