I love my neighbors!
I’ve got the best neighbors. The other day they were in the mall and saw a cake. They decided it looked like something my husband and I would enjoy so they purchased it and asked the store to wrap it up. As they entered the subdivision they asked the guard to deliver it to my house. I was glad it was the guard that was delivering it and not the neighbors because I didn’t have anything to give them in return.
It’s a terrible feeling to accept a present and only have a thank you to give in return. I knew I had to make a trip to the mall and purchase something for them. Don’t get me wrong, I know they purchased the present out of love and fun, but it still created a feeling of being obligated to return the favor. With a gift of equal or greater value. I even opened the present to make sure I didn’t buy something of less value. When someone gives you a present it obligates you to return the favor. You will continue to feel obligated until the favor is returned, even years later. The only way to remove the feeling of being obligated is to do something for them of equal or greater value.
Swapping gifts and favors is what makes us human. It’s necessary for our survival. If you give someone food, shelter, money, a gift or even a favor, it will cause that person to fell indebted to you. The only reason you are here now is because your ancestors shared their food, shelter and skills an honored their obligations. When you give someone a gift you trigger a feeling of being indebted. The only way to get rid of this feeling is to respond and return the gift or favor. Sometimes you can ignore these feelings, but they will linger. It could take years for you to act on them but the feelings will remain until you return the gift or favor with something of equal or higher value.
If you return a gift of lesser value it will leave you with a feeling of an unpaid debt. So, in most cases you are going to have given something of higher value than the original gift.
There was some research done in 1976. They sent Christmas cards to total strangers and not only did they get a large number sending cards back to them, but these people (who were total strangers) continued to send Christmas cards many years after the experiment was over.
This works in the real world for making money.
Think about it like this; you are working in a room with another person. The bell rings and its break time. Your team mate leaves the room and you remain in the room. As break ends your team mate returns to the room and tells you he bought you a Coke. He hands you the Coke and both of you return to work. At the end of the day as you are getting ready to leave your team mate walks up to you and ask you to buy a lottery ticket. He goes on to explain that he’s selling them in hopes of winning a prize. You are already obligated to buy the ticket because of the Coke he gave you earlier. And we all know how hard it is to say no to a gift!
This person obligates you to buy a $5.00 raffle ticket with a .50 cent can of Coke.
They did that experiment!
Half of the time Joe offers the soda. The other half he doesn’t. The results?
When Joe brings you a soda you’re twice as likely to purchase a raffle ticket as when Joe doesn’t bring you a soda. You feel that you have to buy the ticket because he gave you a gift even though the raffle ticket cost a lot more than the soda.
It is difficult to say no to a gift.
BUT NOT every time you give someone a gift does it obligate them!
Let’s say you have an e-commerce website that offers free shipping on orders over $175.00. This does not make me feel obligated to you because you are forcing me to spend a certain amount of money to receive your gift. A true gift has no strings attached.
Okay, here is an example of what I could do with my web design company. When someone decides to take that first step and contact us we could immediately have certain steps we take to remove the more likely to buy buyers from the less likely to buy buyers. A serious of emails that we use to decide how serious someone is, once we have a list of people we feel could buy we begin contacting them and trying to get a better understanding of their business. We take information and decide if it sounds like something worth messing with and how likely the salesman feels the potential client is to make a purchase. If the salesman wants to move forward then the salesman and designer work together to put together a website that has that WOW!
I know what you’re thinking; this looks like a big experience. And it could be!
But the question is can the expense be paid for by the increase in sales that we create by giving a gift to our clients? Of course it goes a lot further than that. We are forcing our salesman to interact with the customers on a higher level because they have one chance to get it right. We are forcing our designers to take our ideas and knowledge and giving them full range to put together a mind blowing experience for the client.
This means we are able to take both our business and our clients business to a whole new level. We are able to take 10 years of online marketing, search engine optimization, website design, and website conversion and put it into a website with all the bells and whistles it needs to make it successful. The question is will the increase in sales be enough to pay for the gift?
We also save money on refunds by identifying problems before money has exchanged hands. Another bonus is that we’ve worked so hard with the client on the preliminary design that we should be able to nail it the first time out. If the client accepts the design they immediately pay the deposit, we make a couple tweaks and the programmers start programming. The website should be functioning and ready to go online within 24 hours. The client pays the balance and the website goes live. Done correctly this would allow you to create a backend and try and sell clients on another service like search engine optimization, online marketing, or social media marketing just to name a few but all those ideas are built off giving away one free gift.
No, this doesn’t guarantee someone’s going to purchase from you, but it does increase your chances.