IRaaS baseline is
“Send your customers to other businesses for free and See your business flourish”
IRaaS can often sound too idealistic to companies who have been in the era of the sales pitch too long. Many companies will be thinking, “Spending extra time and resources to help customers with their problems without any request for a sale, without any pitch at all? What’s in it for me?”
IRaaS isn’t completely altruistic. It’s based on a well-determined component of human psychology: the law of reciprocity.
The Law of Reciprocity
People are naturally inclined to imitate the emotions and actions we perceive in others. If someone smiles at us, we smile in return. If they scowl, so do we. It’s an instinctual, impulsive response.
IRaaS takes advantage of this natural inclination and turns it into smart, successful marketing strategy.
What is the law of reciprocity?
The law of reciprocity states that we repay, in kind, what another person has provided us. It’s a common mantra in our culture – the Golden Rule is another example of the law of reciprocity.
By offering to help customers find solutions to their problems, customers are in turn inclined to find solutions to the company’s problem – getting new customers.
IRaaS in Action. Here is a case of IRaaS in action we have talked about earlier.
Sarah, the housewife and Pete
Sarah, a housewife, meets a man named Pete at the grocery store. Pete sells high-quality, environmentally friendly light bulbs. Sarah doesn’t have any need for a light bulb when she meets Pete, but as they strike up a conversation she mentions a few things she does need – a house cleaner, a mechanic, and a place to find vintage records.
Pete tells her he knows his sister is very happy with her house cleaner, and asks for her email address so he can follow up and give her the name later. He sends her the following email:
Hi, Sarah –
Good to meet you at the store; I enjoyed our conversation. I spoke to my sister Julia about her house cleaner and she recommends Lupe Velasquez at xxx-xxx-xxxx. She says feel free to mention her name when you talk to Lupe.
I remember you also said you were looking for a mechanic and a good vintage record store. I didn’t know myself, but I asked around a little bit, and I hear very good things about Hoshi Motors and Rockin’ Records on Broadway. Apparently the guy to talk to about vintage records is named Dan, and he works there on weekday afternoons.
Hope that helps! Looking forward to keeping in touch.
Sarah is grateful to Pete for his help, and her natural response to that gratitude is to do him a good turn in exchange. She introduces Pete a man she knows who does environmental design, and who may need light bulbs for his projects. She mentions his name to a friend who’s looking to cut her electric bill and to her brother the next time she’s with him at the hardware store buying new bulbs.
Why does Sarah put so much effort into helping Pete? Because Pete put so much effort into helping her, without expecting anything in return.
In exchange for the trouble Pete put into introducing her to his network of people, he now has three potential new clients, all of whom need what he’s selling.
If Pete had instead put his effort into selling Sarah a light bulb she didn’t want or need, he might have made a single sale, but Sarah certainly wouldn’t be as eager to refer him to others she knew. Sarah’s not likely to want to help out a random salesman. But she will want to help out – and introduce to her own network of people – a friend.
The power of reciprocity will always be in your favor. The Copywriter guru Brian Clark put it this way
“First, you’ve gone out and either found or created something to solve a need they told you about. You’ve done them a favor, and they’ll want to repay that. If they’re in the market to spend six figures on an automobile, you’re the person they’ll want to buy it from.”