Reciprocity Is a Helpful Tool of Influence, Negotiation and Sales—INFLUENCE SERIES #4

Reciprocity: Offer Help and Never Look at “Thank You” the Same Way

One powerful tool of influence is reciprocity. When you’re looking to speed up the rate by which you have influence with others, reciprocity is a tool you can use. Not only is reciprocity used in influence, it’s used when negotiating, it’s used when selling, it’s a customer service tool. We are forever trading things of value with other people. *You scratch my back, I scratch yours. *

Transcript

One powerful tool of influence is reciprocity. When you’re looking to speed up the rate by which you have influence with others, reciprocity is a tool you can use.

Not only is reciprocity used in influence, it’s used when negotiating, it’s used when selling, it’s a customer service tool. We are forever trading things of value with other people. *You scratch my back, I scratch yours. *

I want to make two points about reciprocity.

Point #1: Offer help to others. You want to generate currency with other people that will result in their willingness to do things for you? Offer help.

A lot of people say, “Oh, wait a minute, I’m using other people!” No you’re not! In order for things to be manipulative, you need to have the intent to do harm to the other person and you want to attempt to suspend their free choice. Offering things of value to others by helping them will not guarantee that they will help you out, but it will increase the probability that they will do so.

Which leads me to my second point:

Point #2: What happens when they say, “Thank you.” What happens when you do help others? They will say, “Thank you.” And think of how we respond to “thank you” in most cases: “No problem.” “It’s nothing.” “Don’t mention it.” “That’s my job.”

There’s a problem with that on a number of levels. Number one: what value have you put on the support or assistance that you’ve given to others when you say that “it’s nothing”? Nothing!

Second of all, why in the world would you devalue the help you’ve given other people? I’ve actually had someone in a class once say to me, “Well, I don’t want people to think it’s a big thing because I don’t want people to feel beholden to me.” Yes you do! That’s where this currency of influence comes from... that feeling of beholden-ness.

So the other piece of advice that I give: When people say “thank you,” recognize that a door opens giving you a chance to ask for something in return and that the probability that the other person will say “yes” will never be higher than that moment. I know you’ll never look at the words thank you the same way after this moment. Just recognize that they trigger the opportunity for reciprocity.

Other topics in the Influence Series:

1. Learn How to Gain More Influence

2. What's the Difference Between Persuasion and Influence?

3. Use Contrast to Speed-Up the Rate of Influence

4. Reciprocity Is a Helpful Tool of Influence, Negotiation and Sales

5. Social Proof—Peer Pressure—Helps Speed Up Influence.

…More to come!