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.
A study was carried out by Robert Cialdini 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. You’d be surprised, think again.
The study was carried out in the US where tipping is far more prevalent than in other parts of the world, but the results are telling nevertheless.
The study 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 people are influenced not by what was given but how it was given.
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.
If you’d like my free course about how to frame your ideal client profile, uncover all the problems they suffer and get a plan to market to them, just click here.