June 20, 2020

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, here is the definition of reciprocation:

1a: a mutual exchange. 1b: a return in kind or of like value.

What I don’t like about this definition is that it implies that reciprocation has a “price”—that is, the exchange between two parities needs  to be “mutual” and even “a return in kind or like value.”

So I went in search of another interpretation and found something closer to what I was looking for—that adds a dimension to this very powerful word (from the Cambridge Dictionary):

The fact of feeling or behaving toward someone else in the same way as they feel or behave toward you

That’s more like it.

This Cambridge definition doesn’t presume a “matching party” (i.e. I give to you in the exact amount you gave to me).

This definition also leaves room for over delivering (or even under delivering)…as long as your heart is in the right place…and you are delivering in the same way (regardless of the price).

That’s the way I interpret it (for the purposes of this blog). Thanks for indulging me.

But wait…there’s more.

I will add, in the spirit of Dr. Robert Cialdini, author of the masterpiece Influence: The Psychlogy of Persuasion:

“Reciprocation [is about] you, then me, then you, then me…be the first to give service, information, concessions.”

But I will also add (and this is not in anyone’s definition of reciprocation):

You need to give first but it’s OK to get nothing in return.

At least right away. But maybe never too.

Why I went through this exercise in search of a better definition:

Lesson #1: If you don’t like the definition of a word that you have a different meaning for, keep Googling until you find one that suits you. 🙂

Lesson #2: This Cambridge definitionis the only one I want to use because reciprocation, for me, is not about meeting someone halfway or “matching” them tit for tat (which is implied in the Merriam-Webster definition).

Lesson #3: The Cambridge definition is closer to something I can easily change to add other dimensions—I will explain shortly.

Why is it important to make this distinction?

Back to Cialdini: In his chapter on “Reciprocation” (one of his six principles of “Ethical Influence”), he talks at length about the power of reciprocation because it’s human nature to respond “in kind” to a gesture of generosity (or anything of value).

And I agree with Cialdini to always be the first to give.

I would simply add that you shouldn’t have an expectation of a return every time.

And that over a long period of time, by lowering your short-term expectations, you actually get more in return in the long term.

That’s been my experience—I can’t calculate it favor by favor, deal by deal or in any other form. I just know it’s true.

By putting it this way, I also know I never have to keep score.

And I am by no means knocking Cialdini’s scientific research.

I’m just making this up as I go along. And wondering if you agree with any of it. 🙂

The other thing this kind of behavior does—being the first to give concessions, value, your time, products or services for free etc.—with no expectation of a return—it makes it a “pure gift” which doesn’t have to get paid back with a defined reciprocal “payment” in the same amount or value.

Or during any specified time period either.

Therefore, with this alternative definition, it’s either nothing or something in return…and if it’s something, it’s not necessarily something of equal or more value…and it’s not necessarily something in return immediately.

Reciprocation in the affiliate world of online marketing not only doesn’t follow my rule, it doesn’t follow the “Cambridge rule”…and is much more in the Merriam-Webster school of thought.

For example, if one party gets 100 leads or orders (or whatever the criteria) and the other party gets 50, how often will the party that got half the amount ask for another mailing (or compensation) for those additional leads or orders they “didn’t get?”

I assume no one in my online family would do that.

But if you would, is it really worth it?

Another example: I’ve done email swaps with other folks who have an audience somewhat similar to mine.

Some are much larger lists and some are much smaller…and in either case, it’s irrelevant to me. Relevance trumps size.

We each mailed our online families with an “offer” to opt in to the other’s online family, bragging about each other with emails that were a “mutual admiration society love-fest” (for each other).

Like any good affiliate mailing I suppose.

If you’ve been on my list for a while, you may remember when I did these.

I would do it again with audiences who seem to be similar to mine, regardless of size.

And did it matter how many names each of us added to our online families?


What mattered was that we each got appropriate value—not necessarily equal value—but I will maintain, under my definition of reciprocity, appropriate equals equal.

Whether I leave money (or buyers, leads, whatever) on the table is of no consequence.

I guess one reason it doesn’t matter is that in 75 years, both of us will surely be dead.

Sounds a bit morbid–but you can’t argue that it’s true.

But by looking at it this way, what are a few more names or compensation vs. a simple, clean reciprocal deal?

It’s scarcity thinking vs. abundance thinking.

What ultimately matters is that we end up true reciprocal partners (under my definition); and I am behaving with integrity and transparency that no one can ever question…and never with pettiness.

It’s a great feeling to feel this way and I needed to share it with you.

And what do I have to show for it?

That after four decades of living my life this way, I probably have hundreds of people in my various circles who can ask me for anything–and I will say “yes” every time—and usually before I know what the question is.

Am I a sucker? A chump? Or something even more terrible?

I don’t think so (in my reality).

I said last week:  “You will never make an ask from nowhere again” if you follow the blueprint I outlined in the 4 part video series I recently put together.

And the definition of reciprocation I spoke about today is consistent with that blueprint.

I can ask anyone in my circles for almost anything (anytime) and get an unconditional yes…which is much better than a reciprocal yes.

The trick: I’m never keeping score and neither are they.



P.S. This may not be about reciprocity directly— it’s more about taking advantage of an unprecedented offer—but  there is a “no expectation reciprocity rule” at play here which I will tell you about in a minute.

First, I need to tell you that you only have until midnight TONIGHT (Pacific Time) to join Titans Xceleratorwith these additional benefits (on top of what’s already in this program,which over delivers every step of the way):

  • A discounted price that’s lower than any I will offer in the future
  • A free copy of Breakthrough Advertising or The Brilliance Breakthrough, shipped anywhere in the world at our expense (up to a $225 value)
  • Access to the past 90 days of exquisite content that the Titans Xcelerators have been exposed to during our “COVID period of weekly Zoom calls” (instead of monthly calls)—with speakers such as:

-Jay Abraham

-Perry Marshall

-Nicholas Kusmich

-Susan Berkley

-David Deutsch

-Lori Haller

-Chad Collins

-Joel Erway

-Kevin Rogers

-Kim Krause Schwalm.

My post today about my definition of reciprocation has played a big part in the success of Titans Xcelerator.

We have established a ground rule that everyone gives with no expectation of a return.

And what has happened in the first 6 months of the program has been astonishing.

The returns are abundant (and profitable) despite no one looking for them.

People launching new products in different media, members doing deals and projects with other members, and also with folks recommended by the Xcelerators.—and all in a 100% giving spirit.

Unconditional giving instead of reciprocal giving creates miracles.

There’s 200 of us, all badass marketers and copywriters…can you imagine what being in a group like this can do for your career with that much competence and wisdom with everyone always being as generous as possible?

Simply put, wherever you are—beginner, intermediate, or advanced direct marketer—online, offline or both—this program is an xcelerator—I guarantee it.

Not to mention the hot seats we have done with many of the members which has turned their thinking around and enabled them to start (or continue moving in an improved direction) on their most exciting projects.

It’s also becoming a family within my online family.

I love you guys as well—but wouldn’t you like to be on the inside of this special group, with access to so much additional content than I’ve described above…and more access to your future success?

Check out the free preview “from the inside” in the P.P.S.

Click here for all of the details…time is running out.

P.P.S. I also want to give you a free sneak peek from the inside of Titans Xcelerator.

When you go to the sales page here, there are videos of two recent Zoom calls:

  • Our two hours with Jay Abraham…just one gem could be the help you need to turn around your business at the top of the page.
  • A “regular” 2 hour call with the Xcelerators…open discussion, hot seats…and real time lessons for anyone and everyone who clicks here and pays attention. This video is at the bottom of the page.

There’s no opt in and you will have access to these videos for the rest of the day today with no obligation to join.

I may leave them up longer because they are so valuable and so useful…whether you decide to join or not. Or I will share them again with you in the future. They are that good.

I just want you to see the kind of value we are creating on the live calls.

There is also so much more in Titans Xcelerator than the live calls– and I still hope you will join.

Here’s more of what you will receive every month for a full year if you join with the special offer today:

  • A private Facebook Group where there is tons of action—with expert sharing, helping, advice…and all of us growing together.
  • An exclusive live interview each month (in addition to the call with me) with someone making waves (and money) in direct response marketing.
  • A swipe (winning promotion) of the month from my extensive archives…to “swipe and deploy.”
  • A selection from the Titans Vault (a keynote presentation from a direct marketing superstar from one of my exclusive Titans Mastermind meetings).
  • A monthly USB sent to your home with all of the content above included—yes we will mail it to you so you don’t have to store everything on your hard drive…or your brain. Physical product still has a place in this digital world too.

But check out the two video calls with Jay Abraham and the Titans Xcelerators whether you decide to join or not…you’ll see what you’re missing and hopefully you’ll get just a little FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out).

Or maybe you’ll get the far more terrible disease, TOMS (Terrified Of Missing S%&T) 🙂

At least go here to check out the videos—at the very top and the very bottom of the page–I think you will love them.

About the author 

Brian Kurtz

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