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August 31, 2009

Want cooperation? Think reciprocation.

If you struggle to get prospects to fill out a lengthy form before meeting with you, perhaps some new research will change your mind.

In a study summarized here in the Nuromarketing blog, rearchers compared the effectiveness of two strategies often employed by websites to collect personal data from visitors: requiring the visitor's info before allowing them to access specific content (a reward strategy), or requesting it after they've already seen the content (a reciprocity strategy).  The result:
It turns out that a reciprocity strategy works better – give them the info they want, and then ask for their information. In the impressively titled Embedded Persuasive Strategies to Obtain Visitors’ Data: Comparing Reward and Reciprocity in an Amateur, Knowledge-Based Website, Gamberini et al found that twice as many visitors gave up their information if they were able to access the information first. It’s counterintuitive, perhaps, but even though these visitors were under no obligation to complete the form, they converted at double the rate of visitors seeing the “mandatory” form.
What does this mean?  Whenever you ask prospects to do something, work with reciprocity in mind.  Instead of demanding their cooperation before meeting you, ask for it after they do.  You'll likely get more cooperation and better information from them, while starting the representation off on the right foot.

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