The Power of Reciprocity in Sales

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The Sales Warrior Within | Season 2 Episode 20 – The Power of Reciprocity in Sales

Andy Olen is a Sales & Leadership Trainer and High-Performance Coach. Andy works with talented salespeople, business teams, and leaders who seek empowerment, improvement, and insight. Andy’s clients strive to be the best in class.

“Good Selling, Good Leading, Good Living.” – Andy Olen

The Power of Reciprocity in Sales

  • Reciprocity is a powerful sales force
  • As Sales Warriors, we need to understand and harness the power of reciprocity
  • Reciprocity is the force that compels people to want to “return the favor” to others
  • Andy shares a favorite and powerful story on reciprocity, Mints & Gratuities
  • As a salesperson, authentically and genuinely create moments of authenticity for your customers throughout the sales process
  • Seek opportunities that encourage your customers to want to “return the favor.”

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The Power of Reciprocity in Sales

Speaker:  Andy Olen

| 00:02 | There’s a Sales Warrior Within each of us. My name is Andy Olen, and I’m here to help you discover and empower the Sales Warrior Within. Hello, sales warriors, this is Andy Olen with another episode of The Sales Warrior Within podcast recording both on Instagram Live @AndyOlen, along with bringing this podcast to you all across all the podcast networks that the Sales Warrior Within is available.
| 00:32 | What I wanted to share with you today is the power of reciprocity. Reciprocity is a big word, a lot of syllables. But let me make it pretty easy for you. When someone does a favor for you, you automatically feel or have that sort of desire to return the favor, the feeling that you have of wanting to return a favor. When someone does something nice for you, a good deed for you, you want to return the favor. That’s reciprocity.
| 01:01 | And it’s a really powerful sales phenomenon and sales force that I want you as a sales warrior to take full advantage of. And let me start with a story that really brings home the power of reciprocity. And this is a story that I tell in a lot of my sales trainings, especially to people when they think about what are they going to do and to try to build customer loyalty or even well before loyalty is established, what are you going to do to bring that new client through your doors into your business?
| 01:35 | And reciprocity might play a very key role for you. So let me share a story with you. There was a study done many years ago on the power of reciprocity, and the researchers went to a New York City restaurant. And what they did there was they wanted to look at the phenomenon of reciprocity in terms of the waiter, the server, the waitress giving a gift to the patrons of the restaurant, someone who had finished up their meal, wanted to give them a gift as a way to say thank you.
| 02:07 | And based on the gift giving with the gratuity actually go up as the gift became more and more pronounced or impactful. And it’s this idea of, if I give you a gift, will you return the gift back to me? Will you reciprocate or give back to me the gift as well? So there were three groups of servers that were studied. In the first group went and laid the check on the table with a handwritten note, thank you and their name.
| 02:37 | And the average gratuity that this group of people received was somewhere in the ballpark of 15% to 16% gratuity. Again, done a couple of years ago. We’re probably all at 20% now, but at the time, 15% to 16% gratuity now, the next group of servers were studied and left the bill along with a hard piece of candy, a Mint. We’ve seen the peppermints, the red and white peppermints that we used to get at restaurants. I don’t think we get that much more. But the second group gave a gift.
| 03:05 | They gave a small, inexpensive Mint. All of a sudden, the group one that didn’t leave the Mint, 15% gratuity, group, 217% to 18% gratuity. You saw a rise or a spike in gratuity by that simple act of giving a small gift. Third and final group came in, and what they did was they gave the first minute along with the check and the bill at the end of the patrons meal.
| 03:32 | And as they were walking away from the table, they turned one more time to come back to the table and said, you know what? You were so great. It was a lot of fun having you and serving you today for you. I’d like to give you a second or an extra Mint. So they doubled down on the gift average gratuity. And average reciprocity within that group was 20% to 21%. Tips from 15% to 17, 18% with one Mint to 20 plus percent with two men’s.
| 04:03 | The power of reciprocity was there. The researchers concluded that the simple act of giving a gift created a response from the patrons to one up or increase the gratuity as a way to return the gift back. Returning the Favor that story has always stuck with me as a really important sales lesson. I want you to use reciprocity because one, it’s genuine and authentic to you.
| 04:30 | If you want to give a gift to your customers, you want to give a small token of appreciation, a thank you card, a follow up note, a gift card at the holiday, something like that. I want you to do it first and foremost, because that’s part of your DNA. That’s who you are, and that’s what you do. You like to give gifts to the people that make an impact for you.
| 04:54 | But second, I want you to do it and think about it as part of your sales process, because there’s a lot of power in it, and it’s this real human nature to want to return the favor, that when receiving a gift, to give a gift back in return. I work with a lot of estheticians, as I’ve talked about on the show before, and I work with a great company called hydrofacial in teaching estheticians. And we actually talk about what is your customer or client exit routine look like?
| 05:24 | And let’s put ourselves into the world of estheticians. When you go in, you receive services. Maybe it’s a facial, maybe it’s a HydraFacial, maybe it’s something else. When you’re leaving, there’s often a wall of products, skin care products, and other things, and usually the esthetician or the staff will recommend, hey, based on your treatment, would you like to go home with the same lotions that you use or the same creams that we use during your facial? Would you like to go home with some of those and try to upsell at that time?
| 05:54 | And that’s a good time to do that because if you’ve had a great experience, you want to continue that experience when you’re going home. You want to have the same products to keep your skin feeling great when you get home and sort of recreate that spot environment. So you might as well get the same products in some way. There’s reciprocity there others will take it and implement a gift giving opportunity. Thank you, Andy, for coming in for your HydraFacial. Here’s a bottle of water we want you to refresh with this. Here’s also a little bag of samples because you are great to have here.
| 06:27 | Now let’s go ahead and let me invoice. You and on that invoice or on that touchpad that you have to fill out with your credit card is a gratuity button. And there are options. There’s the 15, 18%, 25% or others. And if you are thoughtful about when you give your gift before that screen pops up and the client or the customer pays the bill, you might open up the opportunity.
| 06:53 | Very similar to what I just shared with you in the survey and the study that was done in New York City with servers that you might be able to maximize your gratuity as a result of the power of reciprocity kicking in and someone wanting to return the favor for you. I give you a gift and then you get a gift in return. And that’s reciprocity. And I think about in my own business, that reciprocity is very powerful. And it could be that if I give my time to someone that they want to reciprocate.
| 07:24 | Hey, what can I do for you? Well, maybe a testimonial. Would you mind just putting down a few words that I can publish on my website? Yes, absolutely. I’ll do that testimonials in return a favor in return for your time, your expertise, your insights, that is all valuable. Anything that you give a value, especially if you’re giving that value as part of your sales process. Do it in a way where you’re going to follow up soon thereafter with some sort of ask.
| 07:56 | And again, I want to sort of fight back this idea that that sounds salesy or that sounds like you’re trying to manipulate the situation. You’re not. You’re just basically as a sales warrior. You’re taking all of the human responses that are studied that are known. We’ve talked about cognitive bias before. We talk about power dynamics and negotiations and influence. Reciprocity is part of our human being DNA, the desire to want to return the favor or give a gift back in return.
| 08:26 | So if it’s already a part of us, then why don’t you use it to try to move your programs forward as best you can? And remember that if someone chooses to give you a gift back, it’s because you’ve done something really special for them. You’ve delivered great service. You’ve delivered high quality. You’ve created an opportunity for them to feel good. And human beings want to share that back. So why would we as salespeople, want to prevent reciprocity? Because often when we are reciprocal and we do give that gift back, we feel really good about doing it.
| 08:56 | That old adage, I’d rather give gifts than receive gifts. I think all of us want both. We love to receive and then we also love to give gifts. Think about the holidays. Think about a birthday. If you’ve gotten a gift for someone, a special gift and it comes to you, let’s say it comes in a FedEx or Ups box and it’s still two or three days before the birthday, how excited are you to give the gift? You’re excited. You like that feeling of giving the gift and making someone else happy.
| 09:23 | So if a customer wants to give you the gift of their business, give you the gift of their testimonial, give you the gift of their time, whatever it may be, then allow them to do it. This is not sales manipulation. Looking at reciprocity and being very purposeful about it. It’s about being a smart salesperson and allowing the human side of all of us, the emotional side of all of us, the natural side of all of us to want to be connected, to want to reciprocate.
| 09:51 | It’s allowing an environment to do that. And if you prompt as a small business owner, as a business owner, as a salesperson, if you prompt with a gift, a small gift, a token of your appreciation, just be ready and maybe look for an opportunity to ask for something in return. And you’ve probably created the right environment where reciprocity can be to your advantage. So think about reciprocity. Here’s my call to action for you. What can you do with reciprocity in your day to day sales activities?
| 10:22 | What type of small tokens of appreciation? What type of gifts can you give? And I’m not asking you to bribe anyone, of course, but small, genuine, authentic gifts, what can you do to express that gratitude to your customers? And then how do you follow up to ask possibly for the next step in the sales process to be taken or the close of the business? Or maybe you don’t ask for anything and see if there’s a natural inclination for your customer to say something like this, hey, that’s really cool.
| 10:53 | Andy, what can I do for you? What can I do to help you out and then be ready with a response and just know that that’s the power of reciprocity working for you, working for the sales warrior within you. So you express it, you bring it forward. You have a great opportunity then to allow for that great space for a customer to return the favor and give you a gift in return. I think that’s pretty cool. Remember the story of the Mints and the servers and think about how you can build reciprocity into your sales process, into your sales approach, and move forward as a stronger and even more confident sales warrior.
| 11:29 | It’s been fun talking with you today. I’ll be getting this update up here on the first day of June. The new podcast and wow it’s already June fantastic seven months to go in the year. Let’s keep on going sales warriors make it the best year possible for you in your sales career. Keep growing. Keep extending your skills. Keep empowering yourself sales warrior voice and thanks for everyone who joined on Instagram live. Good to see everyone. We’ll talk to you soon. My name is Andy Olen. Thanks for joining the sales warrior within podcast and as always, good selling, good leading and good living.