Law of Reciprocity; You Scratch My Back…


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By Pierce Marrs. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

“The Sales Moment; Issue #273”

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My research shows that the phrase, “You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” originated with the English Navy during the 17th Century when punishments for being absent, drunk, or disobedient were severe. One punishment would see the offender tied to the ship’s mast and flogged with a cat o’ nine tails by another crew member. They struck deals between themselves to only deliver light lashes with the whip, just scratching the offenders, to ensure they were treated the same should they ever be on the receiving end at some time in the future.

Bottom, line, if I do something for you, then I hope you will return the favor.

Have you ever noticed how you are compelled to do something for people who have helped you along the way? The psychological urge you feel is part of our human nature and can be a powerful rule if used appropriately.

What stands out most about this rule is that it requires you to act first and yes, you run the risk of the person NOT reciprocating. I believe it requires a mindset that states I will do because I want to do and it is the right thing regardless if it comes back to me or is paid forward.

Some of my closest friends and mentors have set an example of abundant generosity without an attitude of manipulation. In almost every case the trust and rapport that is generated because of their willingness to give first have come back to them personally and financially.

Do for people with a proper motive. Using this powerful rule to trick or manipulate people will jeopardize the relationship and it will be near impossible to regain their trust.

However, if this rule is used sincerely and for the right reasons, it can be a powerful way to build relationships..

“Pay every debt, as if God wrote the bill.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Actually, the Law of Reciprocity began a long, long time before the 17th Century when Jesus said, “So in everything, do unto others what would you have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets”, Matthew 7:12.

Have a great week!


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