I don’t know about you, but growing up I’d often hear “it’s better to give than to receive”. Now that was often around Christmas, when I might have been a bit more focused on what I was hoping to get rather than thinking of other people, but as an adult, and having been in business for a number of years, I realise that giving is not only enjoyable, it’s beneficial. I’m a firm believer in the law of reciprocity which essentially means that when you do something nice for someone, they will have a strong psychological urge to do something nice back.
So, if you give, you will receive, and in my experience, it works 100 per cent of the time. Similar to the law of gravity, whether you believe in gravity or not, if you step off a 24-storey building in Hong Kong, Tokyo, Sydney, or New York, you’re going to meet the same end by going splat on the sidewalk. The law of reciprocity is no different. If you give your time, give your expertise, give free information, and give gifts, people will innately feel indebted to you in some way, shape, or form and they will want to give back.
In our business, it is important to build trust and rapport quickly and then it is just as important to maintain the relationships we’ve built. Giving can help do all this, and the wonderful thing about our business is that we get literally dozens and dozens of opportunities to give.
Now, maybe some of you are rolling your eyes. Maybe you think it’s patronising, cynical or perhaps cheesy. It’s not! If you’re genuinely giving something out of the goodness of your heart, people will respond to that because nobody else out there does it.
Here are some ways you can invoke the law of reciprocity.
A simple gift, such as a cupcake, macaron or barista coffee should be enough to buyers to open up and begin communicating with you. At the very least they should be happy to exchange details so you can get some feedback for your seller. Some will be that thrilled they will be very forthcoming with their personal circumstances.
Whether it is newsletters, sold/invitations, quarterly reports or direct mail, nothing should leave your office without something of value for the recipient. This could be a voucher for a free coffee, car wash or even dry-cleaning.
Not everyone you contact will be looking for an appraisal of thinking of selling, but at least there will be something in it for them that will make them think favourably of you.
Always make a point of meeting at cafes or coffee shops and most importantly – pay the bill! Believe it or not, they won’t forget, and it will make it easier if you are asking for another $5,000 or extra marketing spend for example.
A great way to build a relationship with sellers is to find out what interests them or what they like and give an appropriate gift. If, in your pre-appraisal qualification call, you find out they have dogs you could send some treats or a toy for the dogs. If you find out they are about to have a baby or grandchild, you could send an appropriate toy or useful item.
And frankly, you should never stop giving. You want to create a client for life, someone that likes you and respects you, will use your services again and recommend you to others. You want them to remember you fondly long after the deal is done.
Gift-giving needs to become a habit, but it also needs to be done right.
If want to know more about the law of reciprocity, how to make it work for you and what sort of gifts to give and when, come along to my FREE seminar/webinar How to BOOM in a Disruptive Decade. I’ll cover this and more to help you take your business to where you want it to be.