When you were a teenager, did you get invited to parties? Of course, you did. You had friends; you were popular.
When it was your turn to have one, did you feel you had to invite them back, even though you didn’t like them much?
If a colleague does you a favour, do you feel you owe that colleague something in return?
Congratulations, you are the same as most of the rest of the human race.
People feel socially obligated to give back to others what they receive.
Robert Cialdini carried out a study in restaurants.
The last time you visited one, there’s a good chance you received a gift at the same time as the bill. Most likely, this was a mint or something simple like that.
Let me ask you a question. Would receiving a mint have any influence on whether you gave a tip or not? Would it affect the amount of that tip?
Most people would say no, they’re not affected by things like that but think again.
Even though tipping is far more prevalent in the US than in other parts of the world, the results are nevertheless telling.
It gave diners a single mint at the end of their meal; tipping increased by 3% compared to those with no mint.
If two mints given at the end of the meal, tips didn’t increase by 6%; they rose 14 %.
It gets more perverse.
When the waiter gave diners just one mint, walked away from the table, paused and then turned around and said “but for you nice people, here’s an extra mint” tips went through the roof.
A 23% increase, proving that it’s the method of giving and not the gift that influences people.
The same principle works with special offers and free samples. If you receive a free and unexpected gift, you are more likely to listen to the product’s features, donate to a cause or tip a waiter more money.
It is critical however to get in first with this one. Gifts do not have to be expensive or even material; information and favours can work. If it isn’t personalised and unexpected, however, it won’t work.
How could you apply this to your business?
Could you get more sales by doing something for free?
Talking of which.
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