What’s up, Healthpreneurs! It’s another awesome day on the Healthpreneur Podcast. Thank you for joining us! Today I’m going to tell the story of a terrible sales experience I had while visiting Morocco with my family. This experience was the epitome of what NOT to do if you want your customers walking away from a sale feeling good.

Today’s topic is reciprocity. You may have heard that it can be a good thing, and that’s true. It can be. The problem arises when reciprocity is used to guilt or pressure someone into buying because they are made to feel like they “owe” you. Not nice.

In today’s episode, I’m going to use my experience in Morocco to illustrate just how bad the sales tactic of reciprocity can be – so you can make sure you never do it in your own business. Tune in to find out the genuine ways to provide value to your audience so they are happy to become clients…and won’t want a refund later.

In this episode I discuss:

1:00 – 7:30 – Story: The worst buying experience in Morocco

7:30 – 9:00 – The problems with reciprocity: Guilt, remorse, regret

9:00 – 12:00 – Scarf story: Feeling like you owe something in return

12:00 – 14:00 – Reciprocity used for evil versus offering true value and respecting the client

14:00 – 16:00 – Leading by service without heavy-duty reciprocity

16:00 –  17:30 – The Seven Figure Health Business Blueprint makes business feel good


Today I want to talk with you about one of the worst buying experiences I was subjected to a few months ago. I was in Morocco with my family for two and a half weeks, and something happened that made me realize a terrible way to sell and be sold.

This one selling strategy will skyrocket refunds and buyer’s remorse. So, don’t do it. There’s a big lesson here.


Story: The worst buying experience in Morocco

Let me share with you how it all went down. My dad’s Moroccan so we go back to his hometown. We go to Club Med which is an amazing way to travel if you’ve got kids. It’s honestly the only way we travel right now with our kids.

We use that as our home base and take day trips to the mountains, markets, and ocean. It’s awesome.

So, we went to the Plas Jemaa el-Fnaa which is the big square in Marrakesh. It’s very popular and a renowned destination that is well-known throughout the world. The big square had a terrorist bombing several years ago, so thankfully that didn’t happen again.

In the square, there are snake charmers and little monkeys dressed with outfits. It’s hilarious. It felt like being in a movie back in the day like Game of Thrones or Gladiator. There are the locals, food vendors, and they’re trying to sell you stuff. It’s cool.

They’re very pushy though, so you must be okay with that. If you’re not used to that it can be very uncomfortable. Since my dad’s Moroccan and his side of the family is Moroccan, I understand that culture. If you’re unfamiliar with it, it’s can make you feel a little bit uneasy.

Anyway, part of this big square branches off into souks. Souks are tiny, narrow, alleyways where there are little shops on both sides. Motorbikes and donkeys hauling stuff go through these alleyways and they’re only six to eight feet wide. It’s not a huge concourse like you get in a mall in North America, but it’s a cool experience.

You get local artisans and vendors of all sorts of stuff.

We went into a carpet store. We were interested in looking at the carpets, but we weren’t there to buy a rug. We have enough rugs. It was a huge place. Very deceiving from the outside. You move the curtain back and you’re in a palace of carpets, which was cool.

A guy introduces himself and begins small talking and offers us some mint tea, which is a national treasure in Morocco. Good mint tea. He brought us some mint tea and started rolling out all these carpets, saying, “This one here is a true Arabic rug. It took two women one year to create. Take your shoes off and walk on it.” At this point, our kids were rolling all over the carpet.

We thought, “Guys what are you doing?” They were going crazy and resting on the rugs. So, he pulls out another. The rugs were big, eight by ten foot rugs, all rolled up and standing. One by one he rolled them out. We’re in there for 30 minutes by this point.


The problems with reciprocity: Guilt, remorse, regret

We’re having Moroccan tea and seeing all these rugs, and he got to the point where he said, “Okay, here’s what we’re going to do next. You tell me which ones you like, and which ones you don’t.” I had said, “Well, first, why don’t we talk about the prices. We’re not really looking to buy a rug.” He said, “Nah, don’t worry. You tell me what you like and what you don’t like, and we’ll talk about pricing later. If it’s too much, that’s okay. If not, whatever. It’s all good, right?”

I played along. I look at it as a consumer but also from the sales perspective. I’m very interested in how people influence others to buy. I find it fascinating. So, we pointed to the rugs and said “yes” or “no” in Arabic.

Finally, there were two or three rugs left. He said, “Okay, which one out of these do you like the most?” I said, “I like that one the most, but I’ll be very honest with you, I’m not looking to buy a rug.” He responded, “No, you tell me what you think this is worth.” I didn’t know what it was worth. I had no basis of comparison other than the rugs we bought back home, which aren’t the same because they aren’t handmade.

I asked, “How much do you sell it for?” He said it was $3,500 USD, which I thought was very reasonable considering it took a woman an entire year to do by hand. It was beautiful. He asked how much I’d pay for it.  I told him, “I don’t feel comfortable negotiating this because I would not want to disrespect the craftsmanship that went into creating this rug. I feel that your price is completely valid, but I don’t want to buy the rug. I don’t need a rug.”

We got into a bit of an altercation. He started getting pissed off because he’d spent all this time showing us the rugs and giving us mint tea. I kindof felt bad because I wanted to give back.

And that’s the thing.

The one selling strategy that will skyrocket refunds and buyer’s remorse is reciprocity. That might sound a bit counterintuitive because if you’ve read Robert Cialdini’s book “Influence,” he talks a lot about how reciprocity is an important influencer to make people do things. And it is.

But it does so in a way where you don’t feel good after the fact. You see, if I had purchased that rug, it would’ve been out of a feeling of necessity to repay him for what he had for us; the Moroccan mint tea, rolling out all the rugs, taking the time with us. That is not a good enough reason to make me go from, “I don’t need a rug” to, “Okay we’ll take this rug.”

I had that interesting epiphany during the process. He started explaining, “Listen, we can ship it to you. That’s not a problem.” He started showing me how they ship it in small little bags. “We FedEx it, we can get it there in a couple days.” He finished, “You tell me right now what is your best price.”

I said, “Listen, I really appreciate your time but I don’t think you’re understanding me. I don’t need to buy the rug. I don’t even want the rug. It’s beautiful, but I don’t want it. Does that make sense?” I felt bad because he was making me feel bad for not buying from him. I believe this is a very common practice in that culture; they show you and give you free touches and demonstrations so you feel like you owe it to them to buy.


Scarf story: Feeling like you owe something in return

When we left that vendor, we went a little bit further down to the souks. We came across an artisanal scarf maker. He was making cool silk and cotton scarves that were naturally dyed with crystals and minerals from the earth.

It was amazing to just look at the palette of colors. It looked like a painter’s palette. It would’ve been nice to look at them, see that they were cool, and take our time. But that’s not what happened.

As soon as we got there, the merchant came over and said, “Come on in, come on in!” So, we went into the store. That’s the first step of commitment, right? We were in the process now, in the lion’s den, if you will. He started putting some scarves around the kids. “Oh, so cute! This color’s great!” All that stuff. He was giving the experience of ownership, right?

He’s put a scarf around my mom, around me, around my wife Amy, and the kids. We thought they were nice but I also thought that I didn’t need a scarf. I enjoyed wearing the scarf, so why not? I decided to have a chat about it.

So talked to us about the colors. Remember, it’s not like we went up to him and asked him about this stuff. He sucked us in to his domain and then started making us feel like we owed him something by putting on the scarves and doing the whole demonstration.

So, out of curiosity, we asked the price of the scarves. He told us about $300 USD. That’s crazy. There was no way I’d pay that. If anything, the most I’d pay would be $100 USD for the two scarves, final offer. It was interesting to go through the process because not only did they high ball you right off the bat, but how low they were willing to go was quite shocking.

He started off at $300 and literally ended up at $50 dollars for a scarf. We walked away from that whole experience because it left a bad taste in my mouth. Why ruin a great opportunity to potentially buy something when you’re put in a pressured situation?

The other thing too was that there were no prices on anything. They tell you a price and you take it at face value. Then it’s all about negotiating, but again that’s the way it works in that culture.


Reciprocity used for evil versus offering true value and respecting the client

The lesson I walked away with was that yes, reciprocity is a nice way to start a relationship, but if it’s used for evil to make people feel bad and like they owe you business, that is a very wrong way of selling.

And if you don’t want people to refund your stuff – whether that’s cancelling your coaching or they enroll and feel like they made the worst decision the next day – do not do this. There’s a very big difference between that and how we operate, I believe.


Leading by service without heavy-duty reciprocity

When we get on the phone with people for our result accelerator call, we tell them that it’ll be the most valuable 45 minutes of their time. The goal of the call is to get to the truth and figure out if they are a good fit for us and we for them. If they need it now, we can serve them.

We say, “You owe it to yourself, assuming you’re serious about doing this now, to move to the next step.” In our 45 minutes together, we help them create some breakthroughs on the phone, we show them the exact plan, and explain what to do.

It’s a lot tougher to do on one’s own and, quite frankly, I wouldn’t even bother because it’ll take forever. Or, we can help. We show them that we’re giving an element of reciprocity. We’re showing, helping, leading through the process, but when push comes to shove and they say they can’t afford it or don’t have the time, that’s okay.

It’s about understanding that. Personally, when I’m speaking with someone and they tell me they need this and the reasons why, then they use excuses like, “I need to talk to my husband,” or whatever, that gets me a little bit upset. I’ll tell you why.

The way I see it is if I let them go, I let them down. I know I can’t enroll everyone and I know that everyone’s not ready now.

I had a call with a lady recently. Her sole objective to building a health coaching business was so that she could have freedom and time to spend with her son. Right now, she’s working nine to five and barely sees her son. That was her sole driving motivation.

At the end of the call, she committed and said she wanted to talk to her husband about it. The next day she sent me an email before a follow up call we had, and she said, “I don’t think this is in my budget right now. I don’t think this is right for me.” That made me sad because she needed our help more than we need her money.

But here’s the thing that upset me the most.

She knew she needed to do this. But because she didn’t make the right decision and she let her fear stand in the way of her dream, her son is not going to see his mom for who knows how long now. She’s going to be stuck exactly where she is.

That’s what upsets me. The idea here is that you want to lead with value. Lead by showing people you can help them by helping them. But in no way, shape, or form should you make them feel bad if they don’t do business with you. Some will, some won’t, so what next?

The right people will show up if you just serve them all and let the universe figure out the rest. I don’t believe in this hardcore, heavy duty reciprocity of because I do good for you, you owe me business. It isn’t a very smart way to do things.

If I bought that scarf at full price from that vendor, I would’ve felt pretty shitty afterwards. Especially if I later found a similar type of scarf somewhere else for one tenth of the price. But, that’s the way it goes sometimes in those businesses.

I strongly discourage you from running your business that way. I don’t think you do, but I just wanted to give you some context on that.


The Seven Figure Health Business Blueprint makes business feel good

Hopefully you found this helpful. If you want to find a way to seamlessly enroll your ideal clients without feeling pushy or salesy, helping them see the true path, and seeing if they’re a good fit for you and you for them, then I invite you to check out our Seven Figure Health Business Blueprint.

We’ll show you the quick and new way to build a high six or seven figure health coaching business. This is perfect for health coaches, experts, or practitioners who enjoy coaching people, but not in a one-on-one fashion. We’ll show you the smarter way to do things and how to do business with people in a way that feels good. Both for you and for them.

That’s over at healthpreneurgroup.com/training and that’s all for today.

Thank you so much for taking the time to join me once again. Hopefully these little anecdotes and stories have been meaningful to you. If you haven’t already, please subscribe to the Healthpreneur Podcast on iTunes. Let us know how we can serve you. That’s why I do this podcast.

That’s all for me today. We have an amazing interview with Debora Wayne this week. I did some deep work with her a couple of months ago. I think you’ll enjoy that. She’s an amazing healer and I look forward to bringing that to you on Wednesday.

On Friday, we’re speaking with Doctor Josh Axe who probably has the most popular online natural health site in the world. He’ll talk about how he built that bad boy up in about four years from zero to some ridiculous numbers.

I’ll see you in our next episode. Continue to go out there and be great, do great, and have an awesome day.


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What You Missed

In the last episode, I was speaking with Dr. Lori Shemek, a best-selling author, radio show host, and weight loss expert. She holds a doctorate in Psychology, she is a certified Nutritional Consultant, and she’s also a certified Life Coach.

Lori reflected on her background and how she transitioned into what she is doing today. We also discussed her two books and her experience with both traditional and self-publishing.

Tune in if you want to write a book, if you’re curious about how to start podcasting, and if you want some pro-tips on how to consistently spread your message.