When Joe Girald, crowned as the worlds’ best salesman twelve consecutive years in the Guinness book of records, was asked how he year after year managed to continue reaching such fantastic results he said that it was mainly because of the following two reasons:
- He put down a lot of time and effort in adapting each offer to the customers’ specific needs
- He had an ability to really make people like him and agree on his proposals, mainly by using the principle of reciprocity
The principle of reciprocity, a widely used principle within the area of marketing psychology, has to do with the fact that people have a tendency of wanting to repay received favors with favors of their own. Robert Cialdini, a world-wide famous psychologist and lecturer, explains the principle with the following words:
“Every member of every human culture has been trained to play by this rule: You must not take without giving in return”
So how did Joe Girald use this principle to constantly break new sales records as a car salesman at Chevrolet? One of the things he did was to send out a personal postcard to every person who had ever bought a car from him with a big text on it that said:
“I like you, greetings from Joe.”
By showing that he had never forgotten about the ones he had sold to, and by sending a small postcard with a simple but meaningful line of text, he both got more frequently recurring customers as well as new customers based on recommendation than any other car salesman ever could.
So how can you use this in your daily sales work?
The principle of reciprocity can be used when having your first customer meeting (you bring candy or something to drink), during negotiations (you start off by saying that you have succeeded in including something in the contract to the customers advantage) and last but not least after you have closed the deal. The best part of using the principle in the latter is that it can have its full effect, because the customer won’t feel that you are doing something just to get something back.
”If you knew what I know about the power of giving, you would not let a single meal pass without sharing it in some way.”
By Patrik Johansson, Lime Technologies AB