Attracting new business

Send sales through the roof using social proof

- May 8, 2011 2 MIN READ

In the psychology of persuasion, the phrase ‘social proof’ refers to the way other people’s actions guide our own. Here’s how you can use social proof to increase your sales.

Generate trust through testimonials

When someone else writes positive comments about you and your business, it sends a strong message that you can be trusted. Prospects are afraid of wasting their time and money doing business with someone they don’t know or trust; but testimonials generate trust through social proof. People think, ‘If Joe Bloggs got great results using Tom’s service, then I want to use Tom’s service too’.

There’s no doubt that client testimonials win customers.

Don’t restrict yourself to written testimonials either. One of my clients has recently experienced a marked increase in daily enquiries, due in part to placing video testimonials on her home page. Why the increase? Because social proof is powerful.

Win business with word of mouth and referrals

As with testimonials, word of mouth and referrals are a verbal form of social proof, and can have a huge impact on sales.

While personal recommendation is the gold standard, you don’t need to wait for your clients to talk about you in order to harness the potential of word of mouth.

If you’ve ever bought a product from Amazon, you’ll be familiar with the line, ‘Customers who bought this item also bought…’

Not only are Amazon reassuring you that other smart people have purchased the product you’re about to buy, but they’re using social proof to persuade you to buy additional products at the same time.

Creating an ‘Our clients’ page on your website that lists a range of people and businesses you’ve worked with is another excellent form of social proof. It shows that other people have trusted you enough to hand over their money – and the world didn’t end as a result of this transaction! Indeed, quite the opposite.

Want more articles like this? Check out the attracting new business section.

Spread your reach with social media

Having a certain number of connections, followers and fans is another way of harnessing the power of social proof. People see other folks connecting with you, and they want to be part of the action.

Highlight facts loaded with social proof

When you visit the Flying Solo website you’ll see a series of numbers in the top right hand side of the screen. As I write this article these facts are: 35,312 members, 270 online now, and 25 joined today.

If I was a new visitor to this site those facts would make me more inclined to join the Flying Solo community, because I’d think, ‘30,000 other people can’t be wrong’.

Even if you didn’t know what the term ‘social proof’ meant before reading this article, I bet you’ve already harnessed its power to generate leads and increase sales. Now I hope you can find ways to use it even more strategically.

So, how do you use social proof? Be social, and share your thoughts here.