Samples are a staple in the world of retail sales. Even walking through most grocery stores, you will be offered a taste of Vienna sausage or a sample of some new salsa mix. There is a subliminal message in the offer of a free sample, a sort of, “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” feeling. There is no obligation, of course. Anyone who has walked through a shopping mall has been inundated with the concept of samples.Claim your FREE Practice Diagnosis
Reciprocity and the psychology of samples have not always been factored into healthcare marketing. However, retailers know that a free makeover, a two-for-one deal, and a tire change with a tune-up are all motivators for an instant purchase. It also almost inevitably leads to an escalating sales performance. Supermarket News reported sales boosting as much as 2,000 percent when samples were involved.
Not traditionally tied in with the business of mainstream marketing, some medical professionals have resisted the thought of freebies. While all practices are different, the technique of offering free stuff requires individual adaptation. This may boil down to something intangible, such as free information.
If you look into the reasons why samples are so successful, you may become inspired as to how these practices can apply in your own business.
The Law of Reciprocity is a psychological trait that is innate in most humans. The obligation to return a favor becomes almost compulsory. There is an urge to give back, to buy something, or help the giver in some way.
With a sample, there is very low risk. It is human nature to be hesitant about that which is unfamiliar. The hesitancy happens even with the most minor of risks. However, a taste, a tidbit, a proffered gesture will raise confidence.
When implemented into the healthcare system, which for a patient is almost always accompanied by some level of stress, the free sample can provide a bit of relief. Depending on what is offered, it can even make the first visit a much easier process.
When they are with a company, people are more inclined to take the plunge and invest in something. In a group setting, the free sample technique works best. In the presence of others, people tend to feel reciprocal. There may be an element of peer pressure involved.
A sample marks an initiation into a relationship. At least, this is what the seller hopes for. The customer may be back for more. This is the ultimate goal in the gesture of samples: To trigger the psychology of reciprocity, so that there will be a loyalty factor and future business.