One of the best ways to build your business’ customer base and retain the customers it already has is backscratching. With backscratching, you’re essentially doing something for another person with the expectation that he or she is going to return the favor. Backscratching puts the principle of reciprocity into action, which is so effective that noted social psychologist Robert Cialdini included it as one of his six principles of persuasion. When you do something for someone else, that person is more likely to do something for you in return. For example, if you own a candy or food store, you could offer every customer who comes in small free samples. When you give customers something free of charge, they’re more likely to make a purchase because they feel indebted to you. The key is that you don’t make the customer feel obligated to return the favor, such as only offering free samples if a customer agrees to buy something. Not only is this less effective because your favor has an ulterior motive, but what started as backscratching can then become bribery, which isn’t legal or ethical. This concept also works with service-based businesses. If you’re looking to land new clients, you can offer to do pro bono work. This gives you the opportunity to create a positive impression with potential clients and demonstrate your abilities. No matter what products or services you offer, there are plenty of ways to provide favors as a way of building customer relationships. Even small favors work, so you don’t need to spend much time or money to get positive results. Give backscratching a try for happier customers who are more likely to choose your business.