10 Ideas How to Create Reciprocity With Your Prospects and Clients

Whenever you feel ‘short’ or in ‘need’ of something, give what you want first and it will come back in buckets. That is true for money, a smile, love, friendship.

“We all had a tough year last year, and things didn’t get better at Christmas. There were no Christmas drinks, family meals, or late-night shopping nights out. But we are going to make up for it this Christmas. From our family to your family – Merry Christmas!”

How would you react if you received a Christmas card in the mail with this message and a family photo from Phillip Kunz?

You don’t know Phillip Kunz – he is a complete stranger. In 1974, hundreds of people received cards like this from Kunz when he carried out a sociology experiment to see who would reply to his randomly sent cards. And to his surprise, he was flooded with mail from people who didn’t care who he was and didn’t want to get to know him.

They just responded to his action with a reciprocal action.

People feel an obligation to do something for you when you’ve done something for them.

This is known as the principle of reciprocity.

  • You’re more likely to buy a gift for someone who bought one for you;
  • You’re more likely to invite someone to your wedding if they invited you to theirs;
  • You’re more likely to buy something if the seller gives you something for free.

Whether you target new clients or look for ways to strengthen your connection with existing clients, reciprocity is a perfect tool when you use it in the right way.

Here are 10 ideas how to create reciprocity with your prospects and clients:

1. Add Value

By making helpful information available to your prospects and clients, you add value to their lives while demonstrating your expertise. Offer downloadable how-to guides, ebooks, videos, or checklists that help them achieve their goals. 

2. Be the First to Give

From the moment a potential client engages with your business, start giving. Offer something attractive. Besides the fact that it’s hard to pass up something for free. Maybe they won’t be able to offer their money in return, but they will certainly offer their attention.

3. Make Them Feel Special 

You can offer a customized treatment (intake session, 30-minute free treatment, assessment…) You can add a personalized, handwritten note. A little extra attention shows them you care about them as human beings, not just as a potential revenue source.

4. Listen In

It’s no good giving something for free if it’s not what your specific audience wants or needs. Study your audience and find out what they value most. For example – if they comment on social media about something they struggle with – create a free guide helping them do it.

5. Keep it Real

Authenticity is crucial to inspire reciprocity. Don’t use sales language when offering your gift or content. And don’t fill up your gift with sales messages.

6. Make it Memorable 

People will only buy things from a business they remember. This means that when you give them something, it should be valuable rather than cheap. People forget cheap. As a rule – make the entire experience a memorable one.

7. Help Them Outside Your Business

To maximize your business success, your prospects and clients need to be engaged – even when they’re not thinking about you or your business. Deliver value long before they’re ready to purchase to establish your expert position and top-of-mind awareness.

8. Keep the Relationship Going

Once the client buys from you, don’t let the relationship end there. Instead, engage them in another social interaction either by offering another reward or by sending a personal thank you note. Reward them for posting testimonials or reviews and for sending referrals your way. Let them know about upcoming offers and events…

9. Give Them Ways to Show Their Support

Allow your clients to thank you in other ways than only buying from you. This is sometimes even more valuable than the purchase itself. For example, ask them to like your social media pages, to comment on your blog posts, to post testimonials, to refer new clients to you, to rate your brand…

10. Continually Show Appreciation

Thank them for their loyalty and continuous support. Let them realize you value them. Offer special deals or discounts to loyal clients. Ask for their input and feedback for new products and services. Make them your partners and show your appreciation for anything they do for you.

Now It’s YOUR Turn

For five minutes… come up with as many ideas as you can… how could YOU create more reciprocity with your clients and prospects?

Let's Brainstorm


Please share your ideas (all of them or just one) in the comment box below… and let’s get WOWing.

Live fully, stay awesome,

Nisandeh Neta

Top Commenters – last 30 Days

Let's Brainstorm


Please share your ideas (all of them or just one) in the comment box below… and let’s get WOWing.

Live fully, stay awesome,

Nisandeh Neta


    1. If Possible I refer my clients to people I trust.
    As a result my clients trust me more and the people I refer to are very happy. I even got a Christmas box

    2. I work with children. However with long intensive programs I set up meetings with the parents regularly as a gift

    3. If I recognize I am not the right fit for the clients, I try to find out a better solution for them

    4. I talk to people, give advise even if they do not buy for me.

    5. I try to make the whole experience, if they come to my office, but also online as pleasant as possible.

  2. Give something they are not expecting. Either a small gift or a tip for their business. Customers that we are having an overall business discussion tend to trust our experience more. Let them talk! It makes our job better and efficient.

  3. For Christmas, I brought presents personally to my staff and clients.
    Send my VA a random present (actually I hate all those chocolate eggs with Easter, Mothersday... I prefer random, surprising)
    Send a handwritten note with my book
    Send an email a few days later to see how the patient is doing.

  4. In fact the only thing that comes in my mind this Easterday is: Be Personal.

    I noticed lately that sending a personal message or mail to someone, led to encouragement, feedback, helpful comments, much more than
    broadcast a message on Facebook or LinkedIn. To get more reciprocity (difficult word for me) from potential customers, I will try to reach out to them in person.

  5. Contact the client after one or two days how it is going since their visit.
    Call clients you haven't seen for a while how they are doing.
    Send a birthday card on their birthday.
    When they need to buy something so they can do their exercises at home, lend them fist the material to experience the benefits.
    When you are not the right person at that moment to help them, help them to find the right person who can.

        1. It's pretty easy - every time I get a new client or employee (freelancer) - I put their birthday in Greetz and I get a reminder to send a card - you can also prepare the cards in advance so I will be sent on that date to arrive in time for their birthday. I use the colours and sometimes logo of my company.

          1. I Naomi,

            I love the greetz idea. I work with children. I do not do birthday cards, just because I am afraid I will forget one or two.
            I will check it out.

  6. I really loved this topic to brainstorm I always believed that GIVING is the best marketing strategy, but somehow with all the "craziness" in the last few years it somehow dropped off my radar.

    Here are some things I used to do in the past and should go back to doing it again:
    1. Organize a free reading event for a specific group
    2. Join a volunteering group and add my skills to what they have/need
    3. Once a month create a special newsletter for those of my clients born on this date
    4. Every day call 2 random clients of mine just to check how they are and wish them an amazing day!
    5. On special occasions - I used to offer local business that I will organize for them a poetry/reading events for free

      1. Thanks @Dunja - happy to inspire others... I really like this one it brought a lot of reactions from them and it's good also for reactivating old clients.

    1. I really like the newsletter for people on their birthday. That is quit easy to do.
      And to call random clients is also great.

  7. Ways to give first:
    - Invite people over for a drink/coffee/borrel
    - Bring by a gift (flowers or sweets or even better if it fits your business) We use growing plants as a metaphor quite often. I can see us giving seeds or small plants to grow alongside the trainings.
    - Connect clients.
    - Refer people to your clients
    - Showcase them in a newsletter or blog
    - Send a hand written note

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top