New silver color pen with red ribbon on canvas fabric over white wood texture background, business gift

A recent study in The Journal of Applied Social Psychology revealed that the act of giving during a business transaction might actually help generate more revenue, or for salespeople, help them make a sale.

The study, Sweetening the Till: The Use of Candy to Increase Restaurant Tipping, reviewed four groups of restaurant waiters. In three of the groups, researchers instructed staff to provide mints to customers sometime during the payment process. In the fourth group, the control group, no mints were provided to restaurant patrons.

The goal was to determine whether the waiters who provided mints would receive larger tips. Here's what they discovered:

•   The control group, which did not offer mints with the bill, had no increase in tips.

•   The first group, which merely offered mints with the bill, saw, on average, a three percent increase in their tips.

•   The second group, which delivered the bill and then asked the patrons if they would like a mint, enjoyed a 14 percent increase in their tips.

•   The third group dropped the bill off on the table. The waiter left the table and then returned and said, “Oh, because you were so much fun to wait on, here are some mints.”
These waiters, saw their tips increase by as much as 21 percent.

“What’s happening here is social reciprocity,” says Mike Sawchuk, president of Sawchuk Consulting, who works with jan/san and other B2B leaders. “It also personalized the experience. The customers appreciated the waiter for offering the mints with a personal message, and reciprocated by leaving a larger tip.”

As to how this might work in a sales situation, Sawchuk suggests that salespeople always leave a personalized gift. This could be a pen, a pad for sticky notes, magnets, beverage Koozies, even mints.

“And if you find out you and your prospect both support the Cubs, for instance, when you leave the gift, add, ‘and just because we are both Cubs fans, here’s some extra beverage Koozies.’ Try it," says Sawchuk. "This works.”