The Day Out With My Children That Reminded Me of One of the Greatest Sales Tips

It’s a rainy day at home so I can’t lock the kids out to play in the yard (1 Week left to school…it’s the most wonderful time of the year…♬), so Crystal and I decided to take the 4 munchkins to an awesome indoor gym jam kind of place that caters to the parents who want to get some work done while their children have an awesome time.


I had my first cup of coffee and went for a refill when the barista tells me that the refills are free. Surprised and impressed, I look for the tip jar I had previously dropped some coins into and I noticed; that it was empty.

I dropped the three dollars that I would have used for the coffee, but also gave her a really important lesson in addition to the 3 bucks. Now this tip is powerful for any coffee barista, bartender and in fact; any other salesperson in the world.

If you want to collect more tips, always keep your jar half full even if it means putting the money in yourself. This will automatically trigger validation by social proof and people will tip you without even realizing it”.

After the 4 kids had played till their little hearts were content, we packed up and began to head for the car but before we could get to the door, the barista dashed over and thanked me. It turns out that after she & I had exchanged a refill for advice, she saw a spike in her tips to the point where it now was more than her hourly wage (not bad considering the average spend is $3!).

How Many Salespeople Don’t Know This

I left there wondering to myself…how many professional salespeople are unaware of what the barista now knows?!

How many sales are lost, how many bills were paid late, and within their personal lives how many dates were just “appetizers and a drink” instead of “a great steak and a bottle of wine”…

….All because professionals across the world weren’t operating using these proven methods of Prosuasion?

You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know

Another way to put it is that you are unconsciously incompetent if you are hearing this for the first time (if you are unaware of the four levels of consciousness, reach out to me on my page to gain a better understanding…). You see, just like the barista, many of you are unaware of what these laws are and how they can help you to become AMAZING at what you do, because isn’t that what it is all about?! That feeling, that rush that you get from closing a deal, from doing a job well done, from helping someone in a time of uncertainty??

So What Really Happened When She Filled the Tip Jar

It seems like a simple question but I bet that you will be surprised by the answer!

The first Law of Prosuasion that came into play, as I previously mentioned, was the Law of Social Validation.

What is social validation? Well, within psychological terms, it is when one or more people set an example of behaviour, and their experience causes another group of people to take the same action.

You’ve seen this many times, maybe you noticed it, and maybe you didn’t. At Church, when the collection plate comes around, it ALWAYS starts out with at least one contribution in it.

Another example, maybe a less emotional one for some, is the busker at a street festival. You’re walking by a street performer and you are more likely to stop and see what all the fuss is about if there is a crowd around them. You’re even more likely to throw a coin in their cap if you see that others have done it.

Law of Social Validation for the Professional

The Law of Social Validation doesn’t just work for buskers & baristas; it has power within the professional salesperson’s world too.

Take an insurance agent, or brokerage, that wants to use this law to be able to help more people. By using testimonials on their website, or within their office or sales pamphlet, you can show others the success stories that you have helped to create. You can show that others, just like them, have successfully made the right decision to do business with you.

We can also apply this to the entrepreneur that runs an e-commerce company. Three ways that you can use Social Validation to your, and the customer’s, benefit is by:

  1. Allowing previous customers to rate your products. Keep it brief, don’t count to 10 on the scale and realize that these types of surveys are used to show the average response of your previous customers.
  2. Similar to testimonials for the insurance agent, there should be an option for past customers to leave reviews of their experience.
  3. Offer a selection of similar products that others bought. You’ve probably already seen this on a website, “people who purchased this product, also purchased these…”. This allows your customers to see what other products people liked and increases your opportunity to increase the average spend of your customers.

The Second Law of Prosuasion That Happened

So while I told the barista that people will be more likely to contribute to her tip jar if they see that others have, I didn’t explain to her the other ripple effects that happen when the tip jar is half full.

There is a second Law of Prosuasion that is at play here, and that is the Law of Congruency.

What is the Law of Congruency?

Well, essentially it comes down to our beliefs and our actions. As humans, we feel a discomfort when our actions and beliefs are not aligned. When this happens, we either change our actions to be aligned with our beliefs, or vice versa.

So, when I see a tip jar that is half full, and I believe that I am a good person that rewards good service and I receive good service, I feel compelled to take action and in this case that means dropping a dollar or two into the jar. Now, following this principle, if I were not to take action and not leave a tip, then I would need to change my belief (the service was subpar) in order to relieve myself of the internal discomfort. It’s either one or the other, but something has to give.

Law of Dissonance for the Professional

What is important to understand about the Law of Dissonance is that it is centered around commitments, the commitments that we make to maintaining our beliefs and justifying our actions. As mentioned within the barista example, if I believe that I am a good person that rewards good service, then I am committed to leaving a tip when I receive good service OR I am committed to justifying my actions of not leaving a tip when I receive poor service.

So the value of this law to the professional salesperson will revolve around building commitments that will lead to the deal getting done. Here are a couple types of commitment that you can use within your sales process.

  • Verbal commitments

    Getting someone’s word or having them explicitly say that they will commit to a task, a meeting, or a trial offer has a lot of weight. When people say out loud that they will do something they have taken the first step to committing to buying from you, and it also gives you leverage to reference that verbal commitment as the sale process continues.

    Let’s say that you are calling a lead for the first time (cold or warm, doesn’t matter here) and your goal is to close the prospect on committing to a time and date for you to get in front of them. Let’s assume that you are successful, if not we can help with that ;), and they agree to meet with you, the next step would be to ask this question…

    …”is there any reason that you would not be able to make this meeting?”

    Why ask this question?

    Well, the value in the question is that this is where the actual commitment for the prospect lies. It gives them the opportunity to double check their calendar…or, let’s be honest, think of an excuse as to why they can’t meet with you. Once you get that out of the way, they are all in because they undoubtedly see themselves as a person of their word and they have now officially committed to meeting with you.

  • Written commitments

    Realtors use this all the time…the buyer’s & seller’s agreement. For those of you who aren’t realtors or have never bought/sold a home, these agreements are simply a “contract” that states that the customer has committed to using them as a realtor. This is the next level of commitment.

    How can you get more of these signed if you are a realtor?? Take the financial penalty away from the agreement and offer a cancelation agreement at the same time. Why do this? Two reasons.

  • It’s not about the money!

    This isn’t about securing your 2.5% commission if the buyer purchases privately, it is about building the relationship and making sure that everyone’s time is valued. If you are 1000% certain that you will do the best possible job that ANY realtor could do for them then you are probably in the wrong business anyways (remember, the most important sale is to yourself!). Here’s the best part…replace the financial commitment with asking for 3 referrals should they not buy with you. Win/Win!

  • People want to move away from uncertainty and towards certainty.By adding the cancellation agreement you are creating certainty that you will do the best job POSSIBLE or they have the option to replace you. SIMPLE.
  • Public Agreements

    Making a verbal or written commitment is important however getting someone to voice that commitment to others creates a sense of accountability to that person to fulfill that commitment. We’ve all been there, we made a decision to stop an action (quit smoking, eat healthier, get to the gym) but we kept that decision to ourselves juuuuuust in case we didn’t fulfill that commitment because we wanted to avoid the embarrassment if we didn’t stick to it.

    Getting your clients to make their commitment public, either by having them having them share their decision within their office or over social media will decrease the chances that they don’t follow through.

But Wait, There’s More

This story of a barista is so valuable to what us professional salespeople do! Already we have touched upon some very important pieces to the Prosuasion puzzle however, there is more….

The third Law of Prosuasion that the barista is using is the Law of Reciprocity.

The Law of Reciprocity states that when someone receives something of value, they feel compelled to return the gesture/favour.

In the case of the barista, I felt compelled to tip her because of how warm she was with her greeting, how authentic her smile was, and I felt that she genuinely cared about my well being. All of this just from the greeting!

Where Have You Seen This Before?

Ever bought a car? I bet you have, and when you did…have you ever been offered a soda from the salesperson? It probably went something like this…

…You’ve been negotiating the details of the new car and the salesperson has made a few trips to his manager’s office to see what he can do for you. As they near the third trip to their manager’s office, the salesperson pulls out a dollar, heads towards the vending machine and asks if you’d like something to drink, you refuse but they insist. They bring back the soda, hand it to you and tell you that they are going to speak with their manager one last time to get the best possible deal for you. Next thing you know, you are driving off the lot in your new car!

What happened here? Did you actually feel compelled to buy the car simply because of the free soda??

Well….kind of….

It is very subtle; this didn’t happen consciously…I mean no one buys a car in exchange for a soda! But subconsciously it created a level of discomfort in you if you didn’t return the favour. It sparked you to TAKE ACTION.

Use It So You Can Close more Deals

Ok, so we know how this can be applied to negotiations however, the Law of Dissonance can be used very powerfully throughout the sales process and is very effective as a tool to help you get your foot in the door.

Give something for FREE and the favour will be returned.

I recently had a contracting company come over, and the reason that I called them was because they offered a free estimate which I then had to meet them at their office to review with them. So I gave them my time for the second meeting because I felt obligated to return the favour of them giving me the free estimate.

So, if you are offering a service then a free estimate or free consultation is a no brainer. If you are offering a product, a free trial use is a great way to get people to give you some of their time and consideration not to mention that it builds trust.

Let’s look at my business as an example. Let’s look at this article as an example. I am offering you free information that has TONS of value, in order for us to build a rapport and for me to gain your trust. You’re not going to find any sneaky sales pitches here but there will be the opportunity to sign up for a webinar, again FREE, and at which point I will make you the offer of the webinar transcript & audio of the webinar for…less than the cost of a couple coffees.  By educating you for free, I am hoping that you will give me your time and consideration and that we can take the next steps to doing business together.

One Law Causes Another

I mentioned before that I felt compelled to tip the barista because of how warm she was with her greeting, how authentic her smile was, and I felt that she genuinely cared about my well being.

What the barista was doing that she was not conscious of was that she was using the Law of Connectivity.

Essentially, the Law of Connectivity states that the more we feel that we like someone, the easier we are influenced by them. Using our gestures to create a positive interaction with someone is one of the easiest ways that we can create a connection. Your smile is the first thing that people are going to connect with but there is also the positive intonation to your voice, and open body language that you can use throughout your interaction that will create a connection with your customer.

In my example here, the barista’s use of the Law of Connectivity sparked Dissonance within me.

To really drive this home let’s bring back the Law of Reciprocity. Hopefully you remember that the when you give a favour, you get a favour (if you don’t remember, just stop reading now!!). Well, the Law of Reciprocity is directly linked to the Law of Expectation.

The Law of Expectation, for those sociology majors, plays on the theories associated with the “self fulfilling prophecy” which essentially states that someone else’s expectations of how we will behave ends up influencing how behave and thus makes their original statement true.

How Did the Barista Use It?

Ever been to a restaurant? Ever felt pressure to leave a tip even when the service stunk? I have, and that’s because there was an unspoken expectation of leaving a tip. So in this instance, when the barista places a tip jar in front of the cash register, it creates the expectation that you SHOULD leave a tip. You see this on debit machines too, the option to leave a tip.

How Can You Use It?

Regardless of what industry you are in, the Law of Expectation can be used throughout the sales process, and most of you are going to know this as assuming the sale.

When you use assumptive selling to create a mental picture of the customer using the product or service that you are offering you begin to create ownership within their thought process. The language and words that you use here is critical to how effective you are at using this law.

If you’re a car salesman you can paint the picture of them behind the wheel driving on a gorgeous summer day, or them taking advantage of a safety feature during a big storm in the winter.

If you are selling insurance you can ask when they would like the policy to start.

If you are a realtor, you can describe them walking up to the door of their first home and describe what it will feel like opening the door to their family eagerly waiting for their arrival.

Why Does This Work?

The Law of Expectation has power within the sales process because you are taking the focus away from the actual transaction and you are building an emotional case for them to use the product. I like to call this building Results In Advance, or R.I.A. for short.

When you start to build R.I.A., and connect the emotions to the use of your product or service, the pendulum begins to shift from the “pain” of spending money to the “pleasure” of the end result.

That’s What It All Comes Down To

Essentially you can boil it all down to the principle of pain vs pleasure. W as humans are wired to either move away from pain or move towards pleasure when we are making what our decisions and our previous experiences dictate which one we focus on.

You could be the rookie salesperson that is fed up with not seeing results….moving away from pain.


You could be the seasoned vet that wants to take their business to the next level…move towards pleasure.

Customers do the same thing. If you are a car salesman selling new cars maybe your prospect has had a negative experience buying a lemon of a used car so they wanted to go with a new one. If you are a realtor helping a young family purchase their first home, than you are helping them move towards the pleasure of having the security of being a homeowner.

Do These Laws Even Work?

So by now, I hope that you’re starting to pick up on how subtle these Laws really are. They may even seem too good to be true!

Trust me, they WORK!

Using these Laws of Prosuasion I was able to sell 87 properties in my first year as a Realtor, 150 in my second, and 220 in my third before I began My Real Estate Investment Company that became the largest seminar company in Canada!

My goal with this article was to shed some light on the psychology of our buying habits. I hope that I was able to teach you something new, and if I was telling you something that you already knew then I hope that I helped to give a deeper explanation of why we do what we do as professionals.

Steve Martel is a serial 8-figures/yr business magnet, real estate mogul, philanthropist, author, educator, public figure & happily married father of 4 little munchkins under 10. His teachings and concepts have revolutionized the lives of over 100,000 entrepreneurs around the world and he has consulted 428 clients who’ve collectively created businesses worth over $560 million in the last 5 years alone.