How to use the Reciprocity principle to skyrocket your sales

If you are learning how to write in a persuasive way to sell more with your business, one of the techniques you should practice is reciprocity.

With this technique, you’ll get more people to do what you want them to, whether it’s to buy a product, to subscribe to your list or to book an appointment.

In this post, we’re going to see what’s the principle of reciprocity and how you can apply it to your business with some practical examples.

Reciprocity as a sales tactic is not new, it’s been used in the real world for years.

Picture this.

You are walking towards the underground and at the top of the stairs there is a lady selling flowers.

She looks at you, hands you a flower and says with a smile:

  • Here you go, beautiful, for you!

And you look at her with scared little lamb’s eyes and tell her:

  • I don’t want it, thank you
  • But it’s a gift!

Then you feel obliged to accept the flower and give her a few coins.

You leave with the feeling you’ve been cheated somehow, but you felt bad turning down that gift.

This is a somewhat aggressive way of using reciprocity, which is nothing more than feeling indebted to someone.

However, there are many other better ways of putting it into practice, because…

…the truth is… it works.

So let’s see the best ways to implement it within your sales strategy.

Think of reciprocity as sowing to then reaping the rewards.

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Ways to apply the principle of reciprocity in your business

#Share your knowledge for free

People appreciate free advice a lot.

However, it doesn’t mean you should give everything without getting a penny back, unless you inherited a fortune and don’t need to earn money to make a living.

Writing a blog or sending out a newsletter on a regular basis will make people appreciate everything they learn from you, and when they feel ready they will buy from you before buying from another business they get nothing from.

At the same time, free content in your blog or newsletter will show others you know what you’re talking about and will make people trust you when it comes to hiring your services or buying your product.

Yes, it’s a big investment in time (and resources) but it will be worth it in the long run.

AppSumo even gives away subscriptions to some of their Apps from time to time.

They know you’ll feel a little indebted afterwards and will be more open to buying from them than from others who have never offered anything.

Recommended reading 6 compelling reasons to have a blog

How to use the Principle of Reciprocity to Sell More. #Copywriting #SmallBiz #DigitalMarketing Click To Tweet

#Reply to all emails (even those ones that want more from you)

I know, you’re always so busy. But you should never neglect taking care of your audience.

Show them the respect they deserve just for having decided to follow you.

Take your time and reply to emails even if they aren’t to buy something straight away.

Reply also to those you consider a little cheeky.

Because there will be some…

Those emails from people asking you for free reviews, free products, free consultation…

And when you open them, your first reaction is to hit the delete button…

But then you say to yourself, well, don’t be so ill-conceived, maybe that person isn’t aware that you can’t afford to solve everyone’s problems for free.

They might think that just because a person asks you a favour, even if they don’t know you at all, it won’t take much effort from you…

Without realising that there are many others who write to you with the same intention…

Yet I always reply with kindness and empathy, because I once read somewhere (probably on some coach’s wall) something like this:

Be nice to people. You don’t know what kind of inner struggles they are experiencing.

You do it out of humanity but also because you don’t know what the future can bring, maybe that person will become a client one day.

How to use the Principle of Reciprocity to Sell More. #Copywriting #SmallBiz #DigitalMarketing Click To Tweet

#Have a nice and easy-to-navigate website

Isn’t it wonderful?

You’re looking for some info and you land on a well-designed and responsive website, intuitive, with clear and easy-to-find information and that is respectful with people’s time.

Be one of those websites.

Invest in it because a nice and easy-to-navigate website is your passport to your success.

Not everyone understands how important this is, so be the one who has such a website among all your competitors.

I still find it hard to believe when I visit some well-known brands’ websites and they make me want to cry.

Messy, with thousands of buttons calling your attention at the same time, without any visual priority, with tiny font, with endless blocks of text that say nothing. A lot of blah blah blah with the typical marketing buzzword added randomly…

Don’t be tempted to skimp on your website, please.

There are hundreds of exceptional websites that haven’t cost a fortune to their owners, like the last example on this list.

A beautiful, clear and compelling website will give visitors the feeling that your business cares about them because it makes their lives easy.

And once again they will feel more indebted to you than to a business that has a terrible website.

Recommended reading Top 5 most common mistakes of websites that don’t convert

#Ask nicely

Well, is it all going to be giving?

No, you should also receive, and for that, you need to simply ask.

When it’s time to ask for something, don’t hold back.

Don’t be embarrassed to ask your audience to share your content, to recommend you to others, to write outstanding reviews and testimonials.

Because when you have given, people are more willing to give back to you.

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Reciprocity and copywriting

Including reciprocity in your copy will be hyper beneficial for your business.

Reciprocity improves conversion rate.

But how do you include reciprocity in your copy?

There are several ways.

Sharing a story, making the reader feel good, telling them an interesting fact they didn’t know or adding extras to your offer.

When a prospect has the feeling they’ve learned something from us, or we have moved them with an interesting story, they’ll be more inclined to do what we’re going to ask them later (buy, contact, share).

Because most businesses are boring to death when it comes to selling, whenever a person finds a well-written website where they feel understood and listened to, they will show their appreciation (reciprocity) by continuing to navigate.

And you know how important that is!

For your SEO and for your sales.

The more time spent on the page, the more Google will want to see you in the top positions, and more traffic means more sales, if the product and the copy are good, of course.

Tell it with a compelling story that makes the reader want to know more.

But be aware! The story is not about you and how good your product is.

It’s about the reader, he or she is the protagonist.

It’s like when you want to entertain a child, and to get him to pay more attention, you tell him a story about a child who is exactly the same age as he is, who likes the same things, and so on.

This is how you attract people’s attention and increase their desire to stay and learn more about you and your product.

Make everything revolve around your future customer.

Recommended reading How to use the power of storytelling to sell more and better

How to use the Principle of Reciprocity to Sell More. #Copywriting #SmallBiz #DigitalMarketing Click To Tweet

You’re also introducing the principle of reciprocity when you add bonuses or extras to your offer.

Prospects feel you’re giving more than you should and they show their appreciation by buying from you.

Of course, they don’t buy only because they feel in debt, but also because – if you’ve done a good job presenting your offer – your future customer will feel that the value of what they’re getting far exceeds its price.


Don’t hesitate to introduce the principle of reciprocity in your business and in your sales copy. It will help you convert more customers.

You can do this in different ways:

  • Sharing your knowledge for free
  • Replying to all emails
  • Having a clear, intuitive and compelling website
  • Asking nicely for help when needed
  • Telling a story that entertains and excites
  • Teaching something new and interesting
  • Offering bonuses or extras with your offer

See you around!

How to use the Principle of Reciprocity to Sell More. #Copywriting #SmallBiz #DigitalMarketing Click To Tweet

Sobre Elena de Francisco

Siento un placer inmensurable aplastando textos zombis que no dan resultados y transformándolos en textos llenos de vida que provocan muchas ventas.

About Elena de Francisco

I find real pleasure in crushing zombie copy that doesn’t provoke any emotion and turning it into vivid words that convert prospects into smiley paying customers.


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