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The Benjamin Franklin Effect

By September 22, 2015 Psychology

// The secret to getting anybody to do pretty much anything

“He that has once done you a kindness will be more ready to do you another, than he whom you yourself have obliged.”

If you’re into psychology or (gasp!) manipulation (purely in a marketing sense), this will be fascinating to you.

If not, it will probably make you mad.

Story has it Franklin was dealing with the hatred & animosity of powerful rival on the Pennsylvania legislature. And, his way of overcoming the animosity towards him was counter-intuitive – yet it worked.

Modern psychology has built the theory of cognitive dissonance from this (true) story… and you can use the principles inside to get people to do what you want them to in your copy and marketing systems.

It goes like this:

Franklin found out the man had in his possession a book that was very rare.

Of course, Franklin maintained the largest library (he was a studious student and also owned a printing press). Chances are he probably had the book in his library.


Franklin wrote the man and expressed how rare that book was, and requested the favor of borrowing it.

The man sent the book, which Franklin returned one week after.

And, lo and behold, the next time Franklin saw the man, they spoke (which they never had) very cordially and became friends.

Franklin wrote, “so we became great friends, and our friendship continued to his death.”

Why? How?

The normal “frame,” when people want something from somebody, is to do something nice for them.

Recently referred to as the “Law Of Reciprocity.”

Cognitive dissonance states that people feel more powerfully obligated to justify their own behaviors than anything else.

Micro-commitments, in line with this theory, allow you to “set up” a series of behavior that makes it very difficult for people to not follow through on your desired action…

Taking advantage of this is quite simply asking people for favors…

And framing it as such.

“Do me a favor, hit reply let me know if you got this.”

“Favor – click this link and tell me what you think of this video.”


Anyways… this is all about ‘reverse engineering’ the end result you want people to take…

And building in the appropriate steps that lead people to a place where they feel they should make that decision that you want them to make.

In Franklin’s case, he just wanted the guy to stop being a jerk and like him, so he could operate unopposed…

In your case, it is likely you want to generate income from your network, relationship, and your email list…

Start building in these favors/micro-committments and you'll be surprised at how people respond to them (favorably). And, of course, for more help on this, check out some of our free training:


P.S. Like this article? Download our free report, “How to Build a 3 Step Client Acquisition System.” It's a powerful new strategy to creating lead flow and clients on auto pilot.

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