We’ve all heard the old adage, “you’ve got to give to get.” No matter if you call it karma, paying-it-forward, reaping what you sow, doing unto others as you’d have them do unto you, or the golden rule. The point is, when you give first, you will get back in return.
Business reciprocity as a strategy has huge advantages. People do business with those they know, like, and trust. When you give first, without expecting anything in return, it goes a long way in helping to build the like and trust factor.
The Law of Reciprocity
What is your business giving away? What product, service, bit of knowledge, or piece of information could you charge for, but should probably give away instead? When you give away valuable information to potential customers for free, your business has greatly increased it’s credibility and likelihood of picking up new customers through this strategy. Think of it as a loss leader.
When someone does you a solid, you feel compelled to return the favor. The same goes for your customers. No good deed goes unpunished. But remember, this isn’t just a marketing tactic. It’s an underling strategy that needs to permeate the very core of your business. If you’re not sincere, customers can tell, and it will backfire.
But you’re probably arguing:
“I could be charging for this!”
“My competitors will steal my secrets!”
“If I give away my insider knowledge, my customers won’t need me anymore!”
It’s completely counterintuitive, but without fail, when you give first (without expecting anything in return), you’ll get back much more than you initially gave.
Will some “potential” customers take the information, use it themselves, and never purchase from you? Of course. But typically, they’re the high maintenance ones anyway, those who suck up the most time, for the least profit.
Will competitors take the information and begin using it as well? Possibly. But whose credibility and reputation just went up, your business who is providing enormous value for free, or your competitor, who is now trying to sell what you’re giving away? (Trust me on this, your competitors will not try the pay it forward strategy using your info. If they’re stealing your materials, they won’t understand how or why the law of reciprocity works.)
Some of the side benefits of giving first include:
- Improved SEO ranking
- Increased brand recognition
- Customer loyalty
The benefits far outweigh the risks. If used consistently, this strategy WILL BE your competitive advantage, and your customers will love you for it!
Your turn. Are you employing the law of reciprocity in your business, and if not, will you start?