Reciprocation. It’s a powerful societal force that links communities together and keeps our deep seeded selfishness from destroying our collective relationships.
Think about it: When you do a huge, inconvenient favor for your friend, is it because you really desire to? Or is it mostly because one Saturday two years ago he was the only one who showed up to help you move?
Sure, we enjoy performing selfless favors for those we care about. But what happens when someone keeps asking you for favors yet refuses to reciprocate whenever you ask for help? That person stops being someone you really care about, right?
And how would you feel if you heard everyone talking about how you refused to help a friend who has helped you in the past?
No one wants to be labeled a moocher, a user, a deadbeat. These are the dregs of our society, right? Those who take and never give back.
You and I, all of us, we will go through a whole lot of trouble to make sure we are never considered to be this kind of person. We might even go as far as spending a bit of money or considering a service because we feel obligated by the rule of reciprocity.
If a light bulb hasn’t gone off in your head by now, listen up: the rule of reciprocity will help you sell fitness.
Now, before we go any farther, let’s have a quick chat about ethics. This strategy is powerful, but that doesn’t make it dishonest. I’m going to show you how generosity and genuine care will help you make more sales. When people see you as a giver, rather than just a taker, they will be more willing to do business with you. If you abuse this strategy it won’t work; prospects will see your ill intentions from a mile away.
Alright, here are four strategies for benefitting from the rule of reciprocity with your boot camp, group training, or one-on-one training business.
#1 – Swag
Free stuff is the simplest, fastest, and easiest way to invoke the rule of reciprocity. If a stranger asks you to sign up for boot camp, you might consider it. If a stranger gives a free pen and shaker cup, then asks you to sign up for a month of boot camp, you’ll be reaching for your wallet.
People love free stuff. It’s as simple as that.
But swag doesn’t just get people to like you, it encourages them to listen to what you have to say and consider your offer because they feel like they owe it to you. You’ve just given them something for free, the least they can do is hear what you have to say, right?
That’s the rule of reciprocity in action.
Now, a free wristband isn’t going to automatically sell a three-year, paid in full membership to weekly personal training sessions. But it can make a prospect feel they owe it to you to hear what you have to say and consider your offer.
Everyone uses this method. Your bank, your dentist, realtors— business people are constantly giving away free junk to get new clients. So consider a modest investment in some branded swag and give it away to every new prospect or referral you meet.
#2 – Free (or heavily discounted) Sessions
A free session is more than just a test drive. It’s a way of showing your prospect that you are a generous, kind, caring trainer. And once again, when people realize that you have taken time out of your busy schedule, and given them something for free that is normally very expensive, they are going to feel indebted to you.
Now, free sessions are really no big deal for boot camps or group trainers. You just throw someone in there with your clients and it’s no sweat off your back. But this might not be possible if you are a one-on-one trainer. That’s why I suggest you try discounted specials.
These low-barrier offers are a great way to offer something special without having to be completely free. And as long as they know you have created this special price just for them, you will still be invoking the rule of reciprocity.
But that doesn’t mean boot camps shouldn’t also take advantage of the discount strategy. Try a 14-Day Fat Furnace or a 28-Day Sexy Slim Down, offer these packages for less than 100 bucks, and watch as the rule of reciprocity brings you a flood of new clients.
#3 – Email and Content Marketing
You can also shower people with free stuff using email and content marketing. Send them recipes, send them workouts, send them encouraging messages and helpful tips. Anything that might add value to someone’s life is worth sending, for free, in an email or blog post.
And what do you think will happen after you have sent mountains of useful, free information? People are going to appreciate you; they are going to feel they should do you a favor to make up for all the favors you have done them.
And yes, as I’m sure you have realized, that is exactly what I’m doing with this blog post. I’m educating, I’m building a following, I’m getting my knowledge out to you for free. I want you to appreciate me, to see me as someone who cares enough about you to offer you help for free.
See how that works? It’s an equal exchange, value for value. And you can start doing the same thing. Shower your prospects with great info and when it’s time to become a client they’ll owe it to you.
#4 – Cross Marketing
Cross Marketing is a great way to get some free advertising for your business. But what makes it free? Yup, Reciprocity.
Cross Marketing relies on the ‘you scratch my back I’ll scratch yours’ principle.
If you don’t know, cross marketing is just a list exchange. You ask local businesses if they would be willing to send an email promoting your business to everyone on their list. And you incentive this free marketing by offering to promote their business to everyone on your email list. It’s an equal exchange.
In other words, it’s the rule of reciprocity helping your business once again.
When you call up one of these businesses and tell them how excited you are to promote them to your entire list, they are going to feel like the least they can do is return the favor. And that’s how you get popular businesses with huge email lists to promote you for free.
Look, as I said before, these four strategies aren’t going to fool people into buying your expensive services if they really don’t want them. What they will do, though, is influence those who may be on the fence to listen up and make a decision.
There’s nothing wrong with doing a little favor and expecting a little favor in return. It’s literally what allows our entire society to exist. And it will also allow you to make a bit more sales.
So stop being stingy. Don’t be cheap. Don’t be afraid to give some of your valuable services or products away for free. If you don’t show the love you aren’t going to get any. Shower them with love and they’ll love you back so much they’ll buy from you.
Committed to your success,