Reciprocity can be the key to never taking a fresh-up, a phone pop, or another “moochie” internet lead. Reciprocity can be the beginning to your professional career of helping nothing but repeat and referral customers. Wouldn’t it be nice to not have to deal with the grind customers, who just want to grind you down to nothing, waste all your time and then give you bad reviews and csi surveys. Wouldn’t it be great if the opposite was true and every one of your customers, paid you a fair profit, the transactions were quick and easy, and your customers give you perfect reviews and cdi scores. Earning these customers is easier than you think and it begins with Reciprocity.

So what is this reciprocity anyways?

The technical definition according to the Oxford Dictionary is:



the practice of exchanging things with others for mutual benefit, especially privileges granted by one country or organization to another.

According to Wikipedia, “in social psychology, reciprocity is a social norm of responding to a positive action with another positive action, rewarding kind actions. As a social construct, reciprocity means that in response to friendly actions, people are frequently much nicer and much more cooperative than predicted by the self-interest model.”

Like reciprocity in everyday life, reciprocity in business offers something to potential and/or current customers, in return for them performing an action that helps your business. This will also foster stronger, deeper, and long-lasting relationships with your customers. The is to use the principal of reciprocity to trigger your customers to behave in the way you desire.

4 Types of Reciprocity

  1. Material – Material reciprocity tends to be physical or even virtual in this day and age. An example of this would be offering a customer an article or book that could help them in their business.
  2. Emotional – Emotional reciprocity is when you make your customers feel good about themselves and that you appreciate them. Using phrases such as: “Thank you for your time,” or “It has been a pleasure working with you.” Whenever you say anything that causes others to feel better about themselves, they will have an unconscious need to reciprocate in a friendly and positive way.
  3. Financial – Financial reciprocity in business can be a little tricky. You do not want to come as you are trying to buy your customers loyalty, however people are driven by the value of money. A successful way to walk this fine line is to implement customer loyalty programs, rewards programs, and referral programs. DIT TIP: These do not need to be dealership sponsored programs. These can be programs offered exclusively by you. Not only does this differentiate you from other salespeople, it build value in your brand (a key to Repeat & Referral business). Investing a little in your customers can pay large long-term rewards.
  4. Convenience – Convenience reciprocity is offering the customer something that will save them time. Time, to a lot of customers, is actually more valuable than money. People can always make more money; however, no one can ever make more time.

In each of these examples the customer or potential customer will feel obligated to reciprocate in some way by doing something nice for you. The goal is not for the customer to reciprocate in the same way that you did something for them, the goal is that they do something that will benefit you.

7 Rules of Reciprocity

  1. Always Be Authentic – You must truly believe that what you are offering to your customers is of value to them. If you do not believe it, then they will not believe it. If your customers view your actions as anything less than authentic, these actions will not be taken seriously and will not get the desired results.
  2. Always Give First – You should always be the first to give, without expectation of something in return. Remember this needs to have value to the customer and should be something that other salespeople do not typically offer to their customers.
  3. Always Make Your Customers Feel Valued – Make your customers feel special and give them the option to choose. Please like choices.
    • For example, instead of picking rewards that you think are best for your customer, allow them to make the selection. This shows the customer that you truly value them.
    • A gift certificate to your dealership is a great way to build a relationship with your customer, get your customer used to spending money with you, and keep them coming back once the certificate has run out.
    • Also surprise your customer with out of the blue conveniences, lunch offers, free gifts, thank-you notes, or any other special customer service gestures. Do this just because with no strings attached. The customer will attach them for you.
  4. Always Offer to Help Your Customer Outside of your Dealership – Especially with all that is going on in current times, you need to differentiate yourself by going to the customer. The more convenient you can make things for them, by going to them, the more they will want to do business with you and the more they will tell others about this special treatment. Can you say word of mouth referrals!
  5. Always Make it WOW! – It has been said that over 80% of customers can’t remember their salespersons name after 12 months of purchase. This is because most salespeople do not do anything to be memorable in their customer’s mind. You must WOW you customers with all of your interactions, just meeting their expectations is not enough. At the end of each customer interaction, you want your customer to say, “WOW!”
  6. Always Keep the Relationship Going – The relationship DOES NOT end with the sale. Actually, this is only the beginning. Too many salespeople move on to try and find the next sale, instead of growing already existing relationships. Reward, Loyalty, and Referral programs will naturally keep the relationship going. However, this is not enough, you must keep these communications personal and in front of your customers. Keep your customer current on upcoming events and offers through newsletters, email blasts, and text message alerts. Doing any and all of these actions will make sure your customers reciprocate by helping you generate more and more revenue.
  7. Always Offer the Customer Ways to Show Their Support – You can not expect your customers to always be in a position to spend money with you. You must allow them to thank you in other ways. These can actually be just as valuable if not more valuable to you. This can include:
    • Like your social media pages and posts
    • Write online reviews and record testimonial videos
    • Refer you new business

Keep an open mind for any and all ways that your customers can support you and your brand (your brand is you not your manufacture). Sky is the limit if you and your customers are creative enough.

Whether you are trying capture new customers or looking for ways to strengthen your relationship with your existing customers, reciprocity is the perfect tool.



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