Attracting customers to your business – post 1/6

This is the first in a series of 6 posts explaining how to implement Professor Robert Cialdini’s six ‘Weapons of Influence’ in your business. We begin with Reciprocation.


The rule of reciprocation says that we try to repay, in kind, when someone else has given us a gift or kindness. If somebody does us a favour, we try to do something for them in return. If a friend buys us a birthday present, we remember their birthday and reciprocate with a gift of our own. If we are invited to dinner, we will invite our hosts for dinner at a later point. This is a very powerful principle that can significantly improve the attractiveness of your business to prospective clients.


The principle of reciprocation leads to the giving of ‘free samples’. The beauty of the free sample is that it is also a gift and, as such, can entice the receiver to reciprocate. Perhaps the most prevalent free sample now is ‘Give us your email address and we will send you this wonderful free report’. One interesting aspect of the principle of reciprocity is the tendency towards spiralling escalation. A small initial kindness can produce a sense of obligation to offer a much larger return favour or gift. Thus, giving your prospective clients a free gift, particularly one that has genuine worth, can induce within them a sense of obligation to return your kindness. While genuine worth is advantageous, it is not always necessary. How many times have you been given a free pen, for which you have very little use or need, and then found yourself giving a charitable donation in return?

There are many ways to enhance the power of the principle of reciprocation. Combining this principle with other techniques can be particularly effective. For instance, once your prospective client has accepted your first small gift, in return for their email address, it may be that you offer them a more valuable gift in exchange for more information about them – information that is more valuable to you than their email address. Once you have established this dialogue in the form of ‘offer, accept, provide’ you are starting to build a relationship with your prospective clients. This relationship gradually builds in value and, over time, increases their sense of indebtedness and therefore their propensity to buy from you.


Implementing all of the ‘Weapons of Influence’ in your business needs diligence, determination and a systematic approach. The Congruent Client Attraction System™ provides the framework you need to implement effective attraction marketing in your business in an ethical manner.