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In sales, your career depends on your ability to get people to take action. You need prospects to open your email, answer your call, continue the conversation, and ultimately, buy your product or service. Sometimes it can feel like you are completely at other peoples’ will. But, there’s one principle that can put you back in control, and that’s the Law of Reciprocity.

The Law of Reciprocity is a term used in social psychology that applies extremely well to sales. The principle of the law is simple: people will respond to one kind action with another kind action. You probably have already noticed this, and may even use the principle subconsciously. But, I want to show you how to use it on prospects to take your sales to the next level.

Find Out What Matters to Your Prospect

Before you take action at all, find out what matters to your prospect. Do your research by talking to them and building a relationship. Really listen to what they say. Do they care a lot about a certain cause? Love a certain baseball team? Own a business? All of these things can be a part of your kind action. Knowing as much as possible allows you to tailor your action to your prospect, and makes it a lot more meaningful.

Decide on An Action

This action doesn’t need to be a custom-made gift. Instead, it can take the form of whatever is most useful for your prospect at the time, and what seems most natural. It can be liking or commenting on some of their LinkedIn content, offering a referral, or even sending them interesting articles or news. Something I like to do is send prospects Spiro swag – people love free things!

Give Without Expectations

While you want this principle to pay off in the form of an increase in sales, a boost in your commission, or some other way, you shouldn’t be going in with the mindset that after your kind action your prospect owes you something. People pick up on disingenuous kindness, and your plan is likely to completely backfire. Instead, take joy in helping your clients, and truly take the time to build relationships with them. Trust that it will pay off in the long run.

Be Thankful

Even if you took the first kind action in the chain reaction predicted through the Law of Reciprocity, always be gracious and thankful when someone returns the favor. This makes people want to continue helping you and develops a strong relationship that will last. The art of a handwritten thank you letter seems to be lost these days, so if you send one out it’s something people really notice and remember.

Essentially, if you’re not using the Law of Reciprocity, sales is a lot harder than it needs to be. Put in the effort to do nice things for others, and they’re likely to help you out in return. And, make sure you embody the principle in your everyday life as well by returning any favors people do for you. This way, the Law of Reciprocity will become completely natural for you.

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About the Author Adam Honig

Adam is the co-founder and CEO of Spiro Technologies. He is a natural sales leader with a mission to help salespeople make more money using artificial intelligence — or any sort of intelligence for that matter. Adam has been a founder of four companies which resulted in two triumphant IPOs and two legendary mergers. He is best known for speaking at various conferences including Dreamforce, for pioneering the ‘No Jerks’ hiring model, and for flying his drone while traveling the world.

2 Comments

  • Angad Sandhu says:

    Excellent!

  • Thanks for this valuable article. Question is whether this is useful for sales only. No, it is useful in your day to day life and in every domain of your life including your personal relationships. Law of reciprocity does not mean that if you do the favour of $5, expect the same favour from your relation or client. It signifies that you care for somebody and he will care for you. Let your care for someone goes without expectation for the time being and it will certainly bring you happiness, success and rewards too.

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