In a simple experiment, they set up a game with 2 people. The first person is given a choice:
Person 1 knows that by giving Person 2 a chance to play, he/she may get nothing. Person 2 knows that the fact that he/she is allowed to take a turn means Person 1 gave up his/her turn. This is where it gets interesting. Here are the choices for Person 2:
- Take $10 and Person 2 also gets $10. The game is over at that point.
- Take nothing and give Person 2 a chance to play the game.
For Person 1 when they get the first chance to choose, about half choose to take the $10 and the other half choose to skip their turn (get nothing) to let Person 2 take a turn. Person 1 knows that by doing so, they risk getting nothing (if Person 2 opts to take $40 and leave Person 1 with nothing).
- Take $40 and Person 1 gets nothing.
- Take $25 and Person 1 gets $15.
Now, here's the really important result...
When Person 2 gets to choose because Person 1 gave them a turn, over 70% choose to take only $25 and let Person 1 have $15. That's the Law of Reciprocity kicking in!
Think about that and how it might apply to your marketing efforts. I call it "give to get." Same thing really. You give away something valuable (Person 1 risking no reward by giving Person 2 - your prospect - his/her turn in the game). And then you count on Person 2 feeling a sense of obligation to repay the favor. You do this, for example, by giving away a free report or piece of software to your list members. Later, when you ask them to buy something from you, they remember that you were generous earlier and pay you back.
In other words, you delay your gratification. You risk no payoff up front for the chance at a higher payoff later on.
In the game study, remember that if Person 1 chose to take $10 in his/her turn, the game ended and both people got $10. But by waiting, Person 1 stands a 70%+ chance of getting $15 (more money).
I think this is fascinating and a real insight into consumer psychology and how the human mind operates. What say you?