Written by Sean McPheat |
A book that holds pride of place in my library is Robert Cialdini’s “Influence”, where he talks about the principle of social proof.
Cialdini states that “95% of people of imitators and 5% of people are initiators.”
He means by this that most people are influenced by the actions of others, rather than furrowing their own trough and taking the risks of being a tail-blazer.
If we see someone we’ve never seen before on TV, and their title comes up as ‘expert in XXX’ we tend to believe what they say because, of course, they are an expert in their subject.
People these days tend to be interested in the lives of others, hence the rise in popularity of the ‘fly-on-the-wall’ programmes where we see a group of people living in a house together.
You could use this interest in others’ opinions as an example for influencing people to believe in your products that they haven’t tried before.
These two principles (social proof and interest in others) can work in many presentation situations.
Do you have references and testimonials on your websites?
Because you know people will be interested in others’ opinions.
Do you have references and endorsements on your LinkedIn profile?
So viewers of your profile can see what others think about you, rather than just reading your own words.
So, how does this sound in reality and what impact could it have on your prospects?
Here are some examples:
“I was talking to another small business owner like yourself about some similar challenges he was facing, and this is what we were able to do to help him….”
“We’ve worked with 7 similar-sized businesses within 10 miles of here and we’ve been able to reduce their overheads by between 8 and 20%. Let me tell you what we did…”
“I see you’re connected to Joe Smith at ABC Ltd. He’s been using our services for the last two years and this is what he said about us….”
“You’re not the only business facing those challenges at the moment. Personally, I’ve dealt with three companies in the last two months who said exactly what you said today. We’ve been able to help them stop losing money and start increasing revenue again. Let me tell you what they said….”
In these examples, you’ll see the two principles in action.
There is no boasting about your product details or your service initiatives; instead, there are only references to what people have said who have benefited from your solutions.
Remember to use precise facts and figures when you discuss this proof.
Don’t say ‘We’ve worked with dozens of companies like yours’.
Referring to the fact that ‘Twenty seven companies are using our solution in this area’ is more believable, factual and impressive.
It also makes you sound more plausible.
So, offer more social proof and comments from satisfied users in your promotions, and it will mitigate risk in using your services with those who are new to you.
Originally published: 21 July, 2016