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Brad Fergusson view on reciprocity in business from chapter 6 of FINDING TRUE FRIENDS

In discussions with friend and business associate Brad Fergusson around reciprocity in business he said the following:

Have you ever wondered why you feel compelled to do something for someone who has helped you, without ever being asked to do so? There is a very powerful force at play in situations like this. In many circles this force if called the Law of Reciprocity. This loosely means that when someone does something good for you, you have a deep feeling or urge to do something good for them in return. It goes back as far as the bible where the Golden Rule says : ‘ Do Unto Others As You Would Have Others Do Unto You ‘ – naturally assuming that these things would be good things as opposed to bad.
In my experience in many cases what happens is the return favour is generally even more generous than the original gesture ever was. Even if you try to resist the urge to do this, it is nature pushing you in this direction like you must do this for someone who has helped you with something. In business the law of reciprocity is vital because most businesses are established to be successful and profitable and not the opposite . To be successful in selling more of your products and services to people you need to develop a rapport with them. A deep down sincere interest in them. To do this it is widely understood that you want them to feel this. The customer gets to know you; they then get to like you, which then allows them to trust you. The way this is generally done in business is to give more in service value then you receive in $ value in return. This needs to be done in a very real, genuine and authentic way. If it is not done like this, customers will realise it straight away. When was the last time you were buying something and you thought.. “I like the product , but this all seems too good to be true” or “I don’t feel like the sales person?” We all normally buy from someone that we like, even if the price is a little more than somewhere else most of the time. When you establish this relationship with a customer, you have generally developed a relationship with them for life , one which allows you to not only continue to sell to them but lowers your ongoing costs as you do not have to spend as much money on advertising because you already have “repeat business” and you now also have what is called a ‘raving fan’ who will tell their friends and family how great you are at what you do. In my opinion what happens in a lot of places is that businesses try to exploit customers by not following these simple rules.
I am sure you have been in the situation where you felt the sales person was being just a little too nice to you right. Even though everything was being done for you, something in your gut did not feel good about the experience. You may buy today but you won’t come back. In fact you will go as far to then warn other people not to go to that particular business and therefore not be a ‘raving fan ‘ and this spells the potential death of many business. The only way to operate in business in my view is to ‘Do The Right Thing’ and you do this by being genuine and sincere with your customers. And I will go one step further…this whole concept needs to run through every part of your business for it to be successful and profitable. Your employees and our own service providers ALL need to have the same good feelings about their day to day dealings with you. If you are following the law of reciprocity across all facets of your business you have developed what I like to call ‘Doing the Right Thing because it is the Right Thing To Do’. Your business absolutely can’t fail if you have this key thing at the very core of everything thing that you do.