When a new prospect encounters your business or marketing for the very first time, there is one factor that will always give you unparalleled influence: social proof. This can come in a variety of different ways like product reviews, client testimonials, video testimonials, videos of you speaking in front of large crowds or on stage, showing how many Facebook fans and Twitter followers you have, etc.
Giving a new prospect the ability to see real world examples of satisfied customers who have spent their money with you is a huge asset in the sales process. Quite often, this makes or breaks the sale because of the perceived elimination of risk.
If more people have purchased your product and appear satisfied with their purchase, your new prospect will feel much more comfortable about becoming a buyer.
Social Proof: What It Is & Why You Need It
According to Wikipedia, when a person is in a situation where they are unsure of the correct way to behave, they will often look to others for cues concerning the correct behavior.
Basically, we seek external validation on subjects we are unsure of from people we trust or that seem trustworthy. If you think about it, how many times have you bought a product because someone who you respect gave it a good review?
Your Secret Weapon
If you’ve ever read The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell, you will remember the part where he describes the point at which a phenomenon turns into an influential trend with the intervention of a number of influential types of people.
- Mavens – These people are data miners and constant info seekers. They like to level the playing field by helping people around them make informed decisions.
- Connectors – People who are well liked by many different groups and are constantly connecting others. You probably have a couple friends like this that have introduced you to most of the people you know.
- Salespeople – These personalities have an infectious charisma that is extremely persuasive and helps influence buying decisions.
Basically, your success depends on the right combination of these elements. You have to realize that not everyone will buy from you but they could help you in other ways. The Maven personality might not necessarily buy from you immediately, or at all, but it’s very likely they have a level of influence over those in their social circle based on their track record of helping people make informed decisions.
My aunt was a maven when it comes to coupons and specials. She would hunt for the best deals and go the right days with all her coupons just to save a few bucks. You might not be a maven yourself but if you can get them on your side, you’ll be greatly increasing the effectiveness of your social media strategy.
Following The Crowd (All the cool kids are doing it)
People have an instinctive tendency to follow the crowd. Whenever we see that something is popular or well liked, we are more likely to follow along due to the comforts of social proof. Tools like testimonials, videos and reputable client endorsements are all very effective in driving social proof for your social media strategy.
People in the city walk by street musicians all the time but when you see a big crowd, the impulsive urge to want to check it out is difficult to escape. Have you ever not gone to a restaurant, bar or store because it seemed unusually dead inside?
Your prospects are more likely to have an interest in your product or service if others have clearly shown interest in it. Check Amazon.com or the iTunes Store and see the correlation between high ratings and popularity/sales if you still need convincing!