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How does the Ben Franklin effect improve business?

When a business associate does you a favor, it can be difficult to know how to reciprocate. The Ben Franklin Effect can help in these situations.

ben franklin effect

ben franklin effect

How Ben Franklin can help your biz

When a business associate does you a favor, it can be difficult to know how to reciprocate. There’s an interesting theory, known as the Benjamin Franklin Effect that can help you when you’re in a situation where you’re trying to network or make a sale. Franklin wrote this in his autobiography, “He that has once done you a kindness will be more ready to do you another, than he whom you yourself have obliged.”

According to Franklin, you grow to like the people you do nice things for. It’s almost a reverse psychology. Jon Jecker and David Landy studied this effect and published their findings in 1969. A lecturer was more liked by the students he asked to loan him money than the students who weren’t asked.

While not reciprocating may seem counterintuitive, consider that most business owners understand the concept of taking on debt to increase their business. When you ask a colleague for a favor, you’re essentially telling them that they possess something you don’t. You’re showing respect to them, and they will see you in a different light. Their opinion of you will go up.

How does this work in sales?

In the beginning, ask people for advice or expertise. Ask to borrow something tangible, like a pencil. Make the person invest their time in you. When you’re feeling like you’ve hit a wall in a negotiation, ask the other person to do you a favor. Give them a reason to get back to you.

When you apply the Benjamin Franklin Effect to your professional life, it can boost your likability. Maybe you have a person that you just don’t seem to get along with. Nelson Mandela phrased it like this – “If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner.” Encourage people to work with you by getting them to say yes to small favors. You’ll form a bond with them that goes beyond the moment.

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Dawn Brotherton is a Sr. Staff Writer at The American Genius with an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Central Oklahoma. She is an experienced business writer with over 10 years of experience in SEO and content creation. Since 2017, she has earned $60K+ in grant writing for a local community center, which assists disadvantaged adults in the area.

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