Sunday, February 21, 2016

Reciprocity - Your 1st Weapon of Influence

Essentially, the reciprocity principle (one of the basic laws of social psychology), says that in social situations people will pay back what they receive from others. In other words, if John does you a favor, you're likely to return it to him and vice versa.

reciprocity principle

This is especially important in the sales industry as no one does you a favor for purely altruistic reasons. If they do you a favor, you "owe them one" and you are expected to honor your "debt". It is therefore extremely important that you are extremely careful who and what sort of help you ask for, as nothing is free.

Similarly, if someone does you a favor like refer a project to you, you are expected to refer some business to him or her in return. Of course, they would prefer a referral fee, but if you are unable to, then do consider something else like a food basket during CNY, a simple meal or hard to get tickets to shows like the recently concluded Singapore Air Show. It is important that you reciprocate, otherwise you would be seen as ungrateful and you can be sure that you will no longer receive referrals from this contact.

The other way that successful salespersons use the Reciprocity Principle is to proactively do favors for those who are connected. This will help to build a reservoir of goodwill which they can then tap on when they need to. And if their contacts apply the reciprocity principle, they will in turn receive referrals and business deals.

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