Admit it, you’ve been there.

It’s Christmas and you’re passing gifts to your family—and you’re also receiving gifts.

As soon as you open a gift, your brain shifts into calculator mode. You think of the approximate monetary value you just received—and immediately compare your gift to that amount of money.

Been there?

Me too.

Our minds keep a balance. We don’t want to be indebted to other people. If we receive value, we want to reciprocate.

Now you’re thinking “this is basic persuasion, everybody knows this”.

You’re right. So let’s take it a level higher and go more advanced.

Some marketers put their free eBooks on Amazon so they can say “it usually sells for $9.99”. I’m sure it works. And I like it much better that way than to assign some arbitrary dollar amount (a $47 value for FREE!!!) to a free download.

But, to take it back to Christmas presents, what if your aunt made you a nice wooden sign with your name hand-carved into it?

I’m sure you’d appreciate that. All that work—JUST for you.

Now what if you knew she just made it using a CNC machine in a few minutes?

That gift just became a whole lot less impressive.

Why am I telling you this?

To put people “in your debt”, money doesn’t *have* to be the metric by which value is measured.

-F