Learning to Use the Law of Reciprocity

Photo courtesy of David Castillo Dominici

Photo courtesy of David Castillo Dominici

Put simply, the law of reciprocity in networking means that by providing benefits (including referrals) to others, you will be creating strong networking relationships that will eventually bring benefits (especially referrals) to you, often in a very roundabout way rather than directly from the person you benefit.  This makes the law of reciprocity an enormously powerful tool for growing your own business’s size and profitability.  Below you will find four very important things to remember as you learn to use the law of reciprocity in your networking efforts.

Tip No. 1–Giving means helping others achieve success. What is your plan to contribute to others? How much time and energy can you spare for this? Do you actively seek out opportunities to help people? You could volunteer to help out with something that’s important to someone in your network, offer advice or support in time of need, or even work hard to connect someone to a valuable contact of yours.

Tip No. 2–The person who helps you will not necessarily be the person you helped. Zig Ziglar says, “If you help enough people get what they want, you will get what you want.” In other words, what goes around comes around. If you focus intently on helping others, you will achieve success in the end.

Tip No. 3–The law of reciprocity can be measured. It is a myth that networking cannot be measured and, in my latest book, Networking Like a Pro, my co-authors and I use the Networking Scorecard Worksheet, part of the Certified Networker Program offered through the Referral Institute, to measure networking. If you apply the law of reciprocity, you will see your weekly total networking score gradually rise.

Tip No. 4–Success takes getting involved.  You have to do more than simply be present to be a successful networker. If you join a chamber of commerce, become an ambassador. If you join a BNI chapter, get involved in the leadership team. If you join a civic organization, get on a committee. The law of reciprocity requires giving to the group; it will pay you back many times over.

A master networker understands that, although networking is not the end but simply the means to growing a business, service to your network of contacts must always be uppermost in your networking activities. Once you have established a solid reputation as someone who cares about the success of others, the law of reciprocity will reward you with an abundance of high quality referrals.

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3 thoughts on “Learning to Use the Law of Reciprocity

  1. This is an interesting reminder…what goes around comes around. I like the fact that there are so many opportunities to help out, and NET WORK, in social, business or spiritual nourishment functions.

  2. I once really messed up by overtly networking in an overly aggressive way at a professional meeting
    Was told that it wasn’t appropriate and to desist
    Only later did I learn the art of prospecting — “even at a funeral”
    Thank You Dr. Misner
    from
    Ron Taylor
    ront@tem-sandler.com

  3. I find that often networkers take too much account of the measurement of results–especially in the near-term! The best networkers just put it out there, based on their faith in the unfailing principle that it will come back to you in spades, in the long term. That means taking the time to go the second mile with someone just strating out in their profession, who shows little promise of payback anytime soon. This solidly underwrites all the other principles you list here: “Give it away, and it will come back to you, many-fold!”

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