Reciprocity in Action
Ideas for Sales Techniques

With just a few words and a simple action here’s how reciprocity was used to multiply the number of paying customers and the revenue generated in a real life example that sales people can adapt and copy.

I’m always on the look out for ideas that I see work in real life that can be adapted for sales training and this was an excellent example and one that you might be able to use.

On a recent trip to Turkey I took an organised tour of some of the local tourist sites. 

But what really caught my eye was the way the tour guide used reciprocal giving to boost his earnings and how this same technique could be used by sales people.

The dictionary describes reciprocity as: Something done mutually or in return.

In sales training and marketing strategies it’s where a small gift or action given to the prospect encourages them to give something back in return, usually an order or an agreement to meet. 

Sales Lessons From a Tour Guide

The tour guide was a really nice guy who genuinely enjoyed his job and was very good at what he did. 

Towards the end of the tour he gave a nice speech about how he had enjoyed the day and the time he had spent with us all. 

He then held up a small pendant and explained that this was the Evil Eye of Medusa, and it was used to ward off evil spirits and bad luck, and almost anything else negative if it was hung at your home. 

But the magic only worked if the Evil Eye was given to you as a gift by a friend.

The tour guide continued saying that over the day we had become his friends and he wanted to give us all an Evil Eye pendant to give us good luck and protect us when we got home. 

It was a really nice gesture, which I know is done in different ways by lots of other tour guides, but this guy did a very sincere and smooth presentation that he had obviously thought about and practiced, and he put reciprocity to work very effectively. 

The short speech was followed by him walking down the coach and personally handing one small pendant to each person with a smile and thanking them for sharing the day with him. The pendants were small and very cheap but the effect was huge.

He returned to the front of the vehicle and praised the driver who had been with us throughout the day, and then came a great line that was the equivalent to closing a sale in a selling situation. 

The tour guide very politely said that if we wanted show our appreciation to him and the driver there was a collection box at the front of the coach next to the exit. This was perfect reciprocity in action, but there was more to come. 

How to Apply the Pressure with a Reciprocal Sales Technique

Picture this seen and think about whether you would feel any pressure in this situation. 

As the trip ended, which timed perfectly with the end of the tour guide’s speech, you walked down the aisle between the seats to the front where you turned to go down the 3 steps to exit the vehicle.

The collection box was there within reach just as you stepped down the first of the 3 steps. In front of you was the open door and the smiling face of the tour guide offering to hold out a hand to assist you down the stairs if required. 

So you’re facing the tour guide, the guy who is now you’re friend, who has given you a free gift, and even now he is being helpful by extending a hand to steady you. You are awkwardly off balance because you have one foot down on the first step. He can clearly see you, and the collection box, and not only can he see if you put any money in he is close enough to see how much you put in as the box is open topped. 

What would you do? 

Would you feel pressured to  put some money in the box?

The pressure people were under to put a good sized gratuity into the collection box was extremely persuasive. This was reciprocity in action to make money and it worked, it multiplied the amount of money going into that box.

It would take a hard person to walk past the box, the smiling tour guide, and the outstretched hand, and not put something into the collection box, especially while wearing their pendant gift.

The reciprocity technique worked in that situation, so how can you adapt it to work for your sales role. Here are some suggestions...

Now Put Reciprocity into Action in Your Sales Role

How will you put reciprocity into action to increase your sales?

What you’re looking for is something free that you can personally give to your sales prospects.

Just sending a free corporate gift to a sales prospect and asking for something in return doesn’t work.

The more personal, useful, and memorable, your gift is the better.

Sales representatives used to be sent out with a box full of corporate give-aways, cups, mouse mats, pen holders and lots more desk top goodies.

These were seen as coming from the company not the sales person, and they didn’t have any impact.

Taking an action for your prospect that shows you have taken some time, or gone out of your way would be a better gift.

The gift doesn’t have to be expensive. The pendants in the tour guide story above were tiny and very cheap.

We are in the information age and that could be your key to giving something that has a low cost to your sales prospects and customers that they will find really useful. Information can be sent by email, in eBooks, or stored online and a link can be sent. Once the information is written it can be used many times for different customers.

Find out what information could be really useful to your prospects and customers. It could be:

  • Latest industry news
  • Legislation updates
  • Market intelligence
  • Related products or services
  • A diary of industry exhibitions

Put it together in a nice package and personalise it for your prospect.

Use Timing in Your Sales Process 

A good tip is to look at the timing when using reciprocity in sales.

The gift should come shortly before you ask for something from the client. Giving a small gift now will have no impact if you ask for an order in a year’s time.

Now you’ve got the idea on using reciprocity as a sales technique look out for good ways to put it into action to make you more money.

This article was written by me, Stephen Craine, as a gift to you that I hope will lead you to new ways of closing sales, making money, and achieving your personal goals in life. I hope you will use the free sales training information given to you here and if you would like to show your appreciation by looking at our Sales Training Online Shop...

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