Great brands effectively leverage the power of social proof.
“‘Social proof,’ also referred to as ‘informational social influence,’ is the concept that people will conform to the actions of others under the assumption that those actions are reflective of the correct behavior. In other words, it’s the mentality that, if other people are doing it, and I trust those people, that’s validation that I should also be doing it. This third-party validation can be a very powerful motivator for your site visitors’ and prospects’ actions.”
But are you taking social proof a bit too far?
Recently, I received a 15-page sales letter from a marketing coach who intended to convince me to attend his seminar. It was the perfect example of what not to do.
If you want to attract more customers and make it easy for them to say “yes” to your products or services, you will want to pay particular attention to what I am about to share with you right now.
Make it Easy for Customers to Say “Yes”
There are reportedly over 14,000 sales and marketing books on Amazon.com. Most of them (like the sales letter I received) deal with techniques and strategies that cause prospects to waste valuable time and energy thinking. Without realizing it, these sales techniques cause your audience to use their neocortex (the thinking part of their brain) to process what you are saying.
While some of these techniques may work for some of the people some of the time, they are not reliable or predictable because they are designed to trigger the wrong part (the thinking part) of your prospect’s brain.
So, what do top sales and marketing coaches do to help their target audience to decide quickly?
Clearly there are some proven principles that work.
There is a process to marketing and selling products and services effectively. However, some of these principles (while valuable) have been taken to the extreme. In doing so, you can dilute your message, render it ineffective and kill your ability to close sales. Why? Because you will make it difficult for your audience to decide anything.
For example, this is best illustrated by the concept of “social proof.”
First proposed by Dr. Robert Cialdini, social proof essentially means that before people decide, they will often look to what other people do before making their decision. It explains why customers will choose to dine at a restaurant that is full with a line wrapped around the street corner, when the one next door is almost empty with plenty of available tables.
According to Cialdini, generally you will assume that the busy restaurant must be better because others have decided to eat there.
Social proof is an important driver and on some level. It helps your brain to make decisions more quickly.
Most customer wants to find a solution to their pain points but they are also afraid of taking a risk. Social proof can help to swing the balance in favor of your product or service. However, too often this principle is taken to the extreme.
Social Proof Taken To Extremes
For example, the marketing coach who sent me a ridiculously long sales letter — he took social proof a bit too far. Five out of 15 pages were designed to show me how many people have used and love his products. Does this seem like a bit much to you?
Is it possible that his long winded letter (while designed with good intentions), might have caused an undesired effect? Anyone who received his sales collateral would ultimately have to employ the thinking part of their brains and ask for more time to “think about it.”
Social proof is a great marketing tool. But it is not as effective as understanding the stimuli that trigger our brain’s decision making. Knowing these simple and effective triggers can transform how you talk to customers and the results you achieve.
The 7 Stimuli which trigger the part of the brain that decides, are part of my simple, step-by-step process called Sales Seduction. Based on neuromarketing principles, it can help you go from confusing your prospects, to convincing them.
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