You probably haven’t come across Robert Cialdini the social psychologist…
He tells a tale about two monks raising money in an airport which we can profit from when augmenting client banks and new firms into your business.
Rather than asking for money, a monk was giving away flowers to passing business people. These business people were in a rush, it was a hot day and none of them wanted to donate or to take a flower. Lets be fair, they wanted to get where they were going rather than being interrupted, nothing new there.
This monk however, insisted that the passers “please take a flower on this beautiful day”
He explained they could make a donation if they wish but they really didn’t have to give anything back, it wasn’t necessary, also the flower was a gift for them made by god.
Now interestingly, nearly all of the people who the monk could persuade to take a flower, also made a donation, some of them sizeable.
It gets better….
In the toilet further down the corridor most business people were disposing of the unwanted flower in the bin or on the toilet floor. Behold another monk was in the toilet collecting up the unwanted flowers. What was he doing with them? Simply recycling them back to the monk in the corridor to be given away again.
Across humanity there are a number of principles which when invoked correctly will elicit an automated response or feeling from a person.
This story illustrates one of Cialdinis principles, “reciprocation” or “indebtedness”. This is a principle so ingrained in societies that “much obliged” is often used as an alternative to thanks.
There are many words used in society for those who take and don’t give back, they aren’t very nice words. People desire not to be associated with these labels.
Cialdini notes that this principle was used by all sales professionals to different degrees of success pending on their mastery of how to invoke the principle.
How does this relate to taking over a client bank?
Most owners are doing it wrong, they are looking to write new business but are immediately pushing “me” messages.
Immediately, calling the clients to review them, immediately sending company brochures about “me”.
What should be done?
I have seen the best results from owners who begin day 1 with a mailing to all clients offering something of value as the first step.
An offer of a free accounting book, a free guide on good investing, a free magazine subscription, a free anything which has value to the clients.
As Cialdini points out the gift to someone need not have any correlation at all to the value of what is given back.
Reciprocation is either evoked or not, usually just the offer of something is enough to utilise the principle. Hence there is no need to send any tangible gift merely offer the opportunity for it to be taken, why not have them respond by email to you (then you can communicate for less than 0.01p with them from now on)
How many people will take your offer?
It doesn’t matter, those that do are indebted and those that don’t are also marginally indebted.
Once the gifts have gone out in the first week, now it’s the time to make the appointments, the warmth and success ratios with your new client bank will climb significantly. Even when you’re introduced by an exiting owner, a gift offer should have gone first.
Let me leave you with a thought…
If you would like a free and complimentary copy of “Influence, Science & Practice” by Robert Cialdini please just get in touch. I would love to send you a copy, you will then discover why new clients wont buy from you and what to do about it.
Next time in this blog I will look at harnessing the power and goodwill from an exiting owner and turning this into long term profits and a competitive advantage.
Wishing you continued success,