The Benjamin Franklin Effect for Network Marketers

What Do You Do With an Unresponsive Prospect?

How do you handle a situation in which an interested prospect does not respond to your trusted sales pitches? They fit into your niche market perfectly, and all the stars seem to be aligning just right! But for some reason, everything you do or say seems to push them away.

Or perhaps you have a team member in your downline who does not respond positively to your team building advice and encouragement. The more you try to exhort these specific recruits, the more they tend to shy away. Do you simply give up on them when they don’t respond to you after a few weeks, or do you have another plan of action?

Reel ‘Em In with the Benjamin Franklin Effect

Some people just don’t want to be pursued! No amount of kindness on your end will make an impact on their pocketbook or sales performance. But here’s the good news: you can use an old social psychological technique to boomerang them back to you. It’s called the Benjamin Franklin Effect.

The Benjamin Franklin Effect is named after an anecdote found in The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin. In 1737, Franklin was running as the incumbent for Clerk in Philadelphia’s General Assembly. One member of the assembly contested Franklin’s appointment and argued for another candidate. To get on his good side, Franklin tried his hand at reverse psychology and found an unconventional way to change the assembly member’s mind. He writes:

“Having heard that he had in his library a certain very scarce and curious book, I wrote a note to him, expressing my desire of perusing that book, and requesting he would do me the favor of lending it to me for a few days. He sent it immediately, and I returned it in about a week with another note, expressing strongly my sense of the favor. When we next met in the House, he spoke to me (which he had never done before), and with great civility; and he ever after manifested a readiness to serve me on all occasions, so that we became great friends, and our friendship continued to his death. This is another instance of the truth of an old maxim I had learned, which says, ‘He that has once done you a kindness will be more ready to do you another, than he whom you yourself have obliged.’ (The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin)

Turn the Tables on a Naysayer

The Benjamin Franklin Effect can help you strengthen your sales performance with naysayers or unresponsive prospects because it actually endears you to them. You see, after the assembly member loaned Franklin the book, he had to justify his kind action in his own mind.

Would he have done such a favor for a man he despised?

No, that wouldn’t make sense!

The only reason he would have loaned that book is if he respected Franklin. Therefore he must have had great regard for the politician all along!

Receive a favor = Receive a lifetime loyal friend and supporter

Here’s how you can make this principle work for you:

1. Seek His Advice

When you have a prospect that isn’t responding to your normal sales techniques, think of a way you can ask him for a favor. Find out what he does for a living, or an area of interest in which he has a great deal of knowledge. Then send him a private message and ask for his expert advice or a favor of some sort. Make sure you send a timely and heartfelt Thank You Note.

If he obliges, you are one step closer to coming into his good graces and building a personal, highly respected rapport with him.

2. Don’t Just Give – Receive!

The exact same approach works for the recruits in your downline. Instead of always being the one on the giving end, make the bold decision to switch gears in your relationship. Ask your disinterested team member for help at the next workshop, or his opinion about how you should approach a prospect that happens to have a lot in common with him. Put him in a position to give and contribute his expertise.

3. Get His Opinion

If you don’t know very much about a prospect, you can still use the Benjamin Franklin Effect. Ask him to weigh in on your business, and explain how highly you value his opinion. Find out what he’s looking for in a product, how his preferences have changed over the years, how much time and/or money he invests in this type of product, etc.

The more he gives, the more he will gravitate toward you and want to remain loyal to you!

Give the Benjamin Franklin Effect a try! Then tell us in the comments below how it worked for you.