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My wife and I were invited to dinner by a neighbor. As we were walking home, she said, “We really have to set a date to have them over for dinner at our place.” She just illustrated the power of the principle of reciprocity.

Helping someone in ways other than reaching their financial goals is a powerful, yet seldom-used way to convert prospects to clients.

The powerful principle

The principle of reciprocity was popularized by Robert Cialdini in his seminal book, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion. The essence of this principle is the well-demonstrated need to give back something when something is received.

In his book, Cialdini set forth a study demonstrating an increase in waiters’ tips when diners were given a mint. When they were given two mints, tips increased even more – much more.

Using this principle when you have nothing to offer

It’s not always possible to use this principle in an authentic and natural way to increase AUM, but you should at least be aware when an opportunity is presented.

I received a call from a reader of my social media posts. She congratulated me on starting my new company, and quickly transitioned to a discussion of her qualifications. Her agenda was to be included on my “short list of referral candidates.” She was very well qualified and I was happy to accommodate her request.