Ben Franklin Effect

friend

When Ben Franklin was a young man, he turned a rival into a fan with a brilliant, counterintuitive move.

Ben had co-founded a literary and debate society and served as clerk. When he ran for reelection as clerk, the rival ripped Ben in a long, hateful speech.

Rather than counterpunch, Ben asked the hater for a favor.

Ben wrote a letter asking if he could borrow a “very scarce and curious book” that the rival owned.

The rival loaned the book to Ben who quickly acknowledged the favor with a “thank you” note.

From that day forward, the former rival treated Ben with great respect. They became great friends.

The moral of this story: If you want people to like and bond with you, master the Ben Franklin Effect.

Yeah, “The Ben Franklin Effect” is really a thing.

Here’s how psychologists explain it…

We humans want our actions to make sense. So our subconscious mind crafts stories to put everything in order.

If you do a favor for someone, your subconscious tells this story: “I’ve done a favor for this guy. That means I must like him.” (Because it wouldn’t make sense for you to do a favor for someone you don’t like.)

So when you ask someone for a favor, you create a bond. The person who grants that favor is more likely to work well with you in the future.

Ben put it like this in his autobiography: “He that has once done you a kindness will be more ready to do you another, than he whom you yourself have obliged.”

I thought of Ben last week when I discussed “calls-to-action” with a client. I encouraged her to end her emails and social media posts with more direct calls-to-action. Ask people to share the post or forward the email or buy something.

“I don’t want to be too pushy,” she said.

Can you relate? I can. Many of us fear that we cross the “too-pushy” line when we ask for something. We reason that we’ll put people off. We even fear that friends and followers will get so annoyed with us that they’ll stop liking us.

Ben would see it differently. He would tell you that most people are happy to do you the favor if you ask. They’re happy to share your post, happy to forward the email, happy to refer a friend, happy to check out your products and services and even buy something. Just ask.

And whether they realize it or not, they may even like you more when they do you that “favor.”

Here’s the bottom line for marketing your business: You can’t drive action unless you call for it.

You may be surprised how well people respond.

p.s. Coaches, consultants and other business leaders turn to me to power-up their stories because most dish out the same old boring, "blah, blah, blah" content, turn off prospects and then feel frustrated and stuck. So I help them transform content from boring to brilliant, turn the marketing process from frustrating to fun, and convert results from pitiful to profitable. Bottom line, you can fire up prospects and inspire them to hire you with story-powered content that's simple to create. I'll show you how. Whenever you're ready, here are several ways I can help you land more clients without pitching and prodding:

1) Connect with me on LinkedIn and Facebook and (if not subscribed already) join our email list.

2) Watch the free, 7-minute Micro-Training: “The 3 Most Important Storytelling Keys to Captivate Prospects and Inspire Them to Act -- Without Pitching and Prodding.”

3) Become a Story Power VIP in the Content Transformation Academy: Master how to discover, assemble, and deliver business-building stories. Weekly masterclasses. Members-only content. One-on-one feedback and consulting sessions. And more… If you'd like to learn more about our VIP program, just reply to this email and put "Story Power VIP" in the subject line. I’ll contact you with more details.

4) Work with me one-on-one: If you’re interested in working directly with me -- to discover, assemble, and deliver powerful, business-building stories -- simply reply to this email and change the subject line to "Private Client." Tell me a little about yourself, your business, and what you'd like to accomplish, and I'll reply to discuss options.

5) Invite me to speak at an event: I can tailor a presentation that meets the specific needs of your organization. Informative. Entertaining. Virtual or live. Potential for continuing education credits when applicable for your group. If interested, reply to this email and change the subject line to “Speaking Engagement.” I’ll circle back to discuss the possibilities.

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Tom Ruwitch

Tom Ruwitch is the founder and CEO of Story Power Marketing. For more than 30 years, he has helped businesses grow by delivering powerful stories using a variety of different media.

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