Are you using the principle of reciprocity when you market to attorneys? Here is how to harness the power.
Principle of Reciprocity Applied to Legal Nurse Consulting
- You are making a marketing call on a potential client and wonder if you should bring along a gift.
- The holidays are approaching and you wonder if you should send gifts to your best clients.
- An attorney has contacted you about a case. You wonder if sending him a gift might increase the chances he will hire you.
The principle of reciprocity answers these questions. As described by Robert Cialdini in Influence: Science and Practice (5th Edition), psychologist Dennis Regan designed a study to explore how this principle worked. He asked some subjects to rate paintings as part of an experiment on art appreciation.
His assistant, “Joe” posed as a subject and did an unsolicited favor for a real subject. During a break, Joe left the room and returned with two Cokes. He informed the subject that he asked the experimenter if he could buy a Coke for the subject and himself. The experimenter said it was alright. In other cases, Joe left the room for a break and returned empty-handed.
Later on after all of the paintings had been rated, Joe asked the subjects to assist him win a prize. He requested the subject to purchase a raffle ticket for 25 cents apiece. “The more tickets you buy the better.” The experimenters found that the people who received the small favor (Coke) purchased more raffle tickets than did the people who had not received the Coke.
How do you apply the principle of reciprocity to giving gifts to attorneys? People like to do business with people they like. People are more likely to do business with another person when there is a sense of obligation.
Your gifts should be:
- Affordable to you – yet not look cheap
- Something the recipient can use
- Related to your services
- Durable – food is an appreciated gift but disappears quickly
- Imprinted with your company name
Examples of gifts I used to give to attorneys: a book on Social Media for Legal Professionals, a magnifying strip, a combination calculator and post it note box, flashlights, legal pad imprinted with our contact information, computer bags, pens, pencils, media loungers, and mugs.
What gifts have you given to attorneys that were appreciated? Share your experiences in the comment box.
Pat Iyer MSN RN LNCC is president of the Pat Iyer Group and the former owner of Med League Support Services, Inc.