I’ve recently discovered the free kids’ workshops at home improvement centers Home Depot and Lowes. These workshops let kids put together free small wooden kits with hammers and nails to make things like a coin bank, a car, or rain gauge.
My kids have fun, which is the primary purpose. But these stores have another motive behind their generosity.
To review: the law of reciprocity is where if I give you something or do something for you, you are psychologically on the hook and thus more likely to do me a favor later.
With these free kids’ workshops, Lowes and Home Depot are using the law of reciprocity in their favor.
These stores know that the parents are the purchase decision makers and thus try to influence them to buy.
If you have a good experience at the workshop and your kids have fun, you are more likely to return to the store when you have a real home improvement project.
You may even see the unfinished wooden creation your kid made and think “Hey, I should get some paint” Of course, you can buy that paint at the same store that offered the free workshop.
In addition to the kits, the kids get free aprons that look like the ones the store’s employees wear. These stick the image of the store’s logo and employees in your head whenever you see your kid’s apron sitting around the house. That subtle trigger may very well remind you to visit that particular store.
Think about how you can do something similar with your business. Perhaps you can hold free workshops at your stores or business. What could you give away that would remind your customers of you whenever they looked at it?
Giving things away is a powerful strategy for building relationships. Use it wisely.