The “Influence” series: “Reciprocation”
Welcome to our series of persuasive writing tips based on Cialdini’s “Influence” principles [for an intro see our April issue].
This one's about the Reciprocation Rule. If someone does you a favour, you feel obliged to return that favour — even if you don’t like them. (See examples.)
In fact, you can often get a “yes” to requests that, except for them feeling they “owe” you, would almost certainly have been refused. And you can harness these conditioned feelings of fairness when writing to prospects.
But check your attitude — this isn't about manipulation, but a demonstration of your desire to help your clients. As Zig Ziglar says, “You can get everything in life you want, if you just help enough other people get what they want.”
So what can you give your readers to increase your “favour-bank” balance? Here are some ideas:
- Free samples of your product/service (but be generous – it must seem more a gift, not a cheap commercial sample)
- Articles, facts or websites you think will help them
- Quality promotional items with your branding. (Sometimes these assume a life of their own, e.g. the Pirelli Tyres limited-edition celebrity calendars)
- Greeting cards, e.g. congratulating them on a win, End-of-Financial-Year, birthdays, Christmas, etc
- Tickets to movies or sporting events
Tune in next month to learn how “Commitment and Consistency” can change the way people think about your product/service.