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#20 The first principle of persuasion: Reciprocation

Reciprocation is the first persuasion principle of Dr. Robert Cialdini*.

Have you noticed that whenever there is a public election, suddenly, the running politicians are offering free coffee, free cookies and basically free everything to attract followers?
 
They of course want to spread the good election atmosphere and information about their initiatives. This is partly true. Frankly, who doesn’t love free coffee?
 
The deeper ratio of offering something for free is to trigger the principle of reciprocity within the potential voters. The short-cut mechanism in our brain says that we should try to repay, in kind, what another person has provided us. I give you coffee, you give me your vote, right?
 
Obviously, the reciprocity principle is not limited to politics, rather, it is used in all areas of business. The problem arises when there is implied pressure to pay back the favor. “Because I provided with you this one thing, you now HAVE to do business with me.”
 
Using the reciprocity principle requires integrity.
 
How to use this principle in the field of IP?
 
I have found that the best way is to educate your audience with content that is useful and valuable for them and their business. The content should not be generic, rather it should be targeted to certain industry or certain segment of the market.
 
Providing valuable content trigger the reciprocity principle and allows you to start closing your prospects in advance as long as there is no implied pressure for further business.
 
*Cialdini PhD, Robert B..: Influence: Science and Practice 1984

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