Give $1 to a Stranger, or Some Knowledge, and You Might Gain a Client

This isn't exclusively for dedicated servers, the web hosting industry. In fact, the idea of giving something to get something back has gone on for a lot longer than anyone reading this has been around, but it's just as effective today.

What got me going on this is a book that Dan Ushman recommended to me- The Psychology of Influence, which is a good read. The author writes the book based on what's influenced him toward making a decision in the past. One point that I really took note of was the idea that when you give something, the person receiving will have a sense of loyalty to return something to you.

If you think about it, we run into real world examples all of the time. You're at the grocery store, you take a sample and the smiling person says "How do you like it?" She doesn't tell you how much better it is than everything is, she doesn't offer you a coupon, etc. Perhaps without knowing, she's reminding you that you were just given something. I don't know how many times I've ended up at a checkout counter buying some new natural juice that I'll likely never drink, or liked very much.
Survey companies have also really taken this up a notch by sending surveys with a dollar. Just a dollar, and the response rate goes through the roof because recipients feel that they shouldn't take the dollar without doing something- oh, how about sending back a survey, yes?

At our company, while we LOVE all of our customers, the most profitable are those that buy managed web hosting services from us. We like to find ways to let our current clients, and anyone else, see how talented our technicians are and how much there is to benefit from our managed services. It's not something that we learned from a psychology book- it's more of looking at simple karma in business. At times, our very talented technicians have a bit of downtime, so we have them seek out people needing assistance. One benefit that I'm sure we're seeing, according to this book, is the internal programming that some of us have in wanting to reciprocate.

I found this interesting, and maybe you'll find a way to apply the thinking to your business. Share some knowledge, or give something away. If the psychology stuff is all wrong then, if nothing else, you might be due for some good karma.