I’m no marathon runner, in fact I’ve never really been a runner at all.  As a kid I had such severe asthma that even a relatively small amount of exercise would result in me requiring immediate rest and oxygen at home or even hospitalisation.

My wife… she’s quite an athlete, she’s run the London Marathon four times now and thinks nothing of a casual 10k run.

Three years ago, I decided that I too should be able to run a 10K race.

10k, 6.2 miles, how tough could that be?  I was about to find out!

Knowing the cross country route the local 10K run, I took off.  I went for a solo trial run like “Macho Man” with, no warmup, training, or preparation. The disastrous result was inevitable.

The next day I found myself in hospital not through asthma, I’m all done with that, thank goodness, but I found myself needing an emergency operation on a torn cartilage!

#salesmadesimple, Steve Clarke, Eureka Selling,The knee is now okay again, and I’m determined that this September I will complete my first official 10K run.

I’ve been documenting my progress towards it quite openly on Facebook.

The support and encouragement has been fantastic.

This time it’s been a slow, steady buildup to avoid injury; 2K, 3K, 5K, back to 2K and repeat…  run walk, run, walk…

In one post recently I mentioned the fact that I was getting numb toes during my run, in came lots of advice, all well-meaning and all appreciated.  But I want to share two things that happened that you could benefit from in business too.

Two things that ultimately invoked ‘the law of reciprocity.’

You do something for somebody – they reciprocate, but do it without expectation.

The first was a post from Dan the owner at Pure Body Health.  Dan is a physiotherapist, he’s someone who’s looked after me in the past through all manner of aches and pains.

“Drop in for an MOT Steve, let’s see if we can work out what the problem is with the toes”.  offered Dan.

Another message was from Stu, he’s the owner of Flitch Bikes, a specialty bike shop in Great Dunmow.  Stu’s not only a mad keen cyclist, but has been an active and very competitive triathlete too.

“ Drop-by the shop Steve let me check how you’re lacing your running shoes”.  came the suggestion from Stu.

Think about that, he owns a cycle shop, not a running shop, yet is offering to help me lace my running shoes… (no, not because I can’t tie a lace as I’m used to Velcro, but there are special techniques apparently for running shoes, I never knew!)

They were both genuinely looking after my interests, not expecting anything in return.

When was the last time you did this for clients or contacts you have in business?

Try this for yourself this week.  Look for someone in business who you could help with some advice or introduction no charge; but think of something that would help them not just serve you.

I visited both Dan and Stuart.  They both freely gave me their time, help and advice without expectation… or charge.

Dan gave me a full hours MOT, head to toe.  He created an entire stretch routine to help loosen my muscles in the hope of reducing the numb toes. As a really nice touch (no pun intended as he’s a great massage therapist too) he sent me a video message follow up with photographs of each stretch and a message of encouragement too – brilliant.

That’s when the law of reciprocity kicked in.

I called and booked a number of sports massages with Dan – full price. Did he advertise at me? No. Did he sell to me? No… Did I buy, yes!

I then dropped in on Stu too.  He stopped what he was doing and checked out my running shoes before spending time lacing them in a way that would give me more room in the width of my shoes.  Again with no charge or expectation.

Yesterday, I dropped off my road bike at his shop for him to service whilst I’m on holiday.  Did he advertise at me? No. Did he sell to me? No…  Did I buy? yes!

Go on – see if you can invoke the law of reciprocity this week too.  Tell me in the comments section below, how you have applied it and the impact that its had on those around you.