When salespeople hope to close a deal, they may try doing favors for the client. In fact, scientists who study human behavior know that the opposite strategy can work: if you can get someone to do YOU a small favor, they are much more likely to grant a bigger one. This has been shown to work in many situations, including one experiment in which people agreed to have a large yard sign installed after first accepting a small window decal. A favor as simple as answering a request for the time of day can lead to granting more complex favors.
In my book Brainfluence, I suggest that a salesperson should ask for a cup of coffee or glass of water, or seek a tiny trial order, as a means of opening the door to closing a sale. Now, a set of experiments performed by Warsaw professor Dariusz Dolinski shows that there’s an even more powerful favor strategy. […]