how-to-overcome-the-lack-of-social-proofSocial proof is showing your potential clients that other people think that what you want them to do is smart. When you say something, what you say is obviously biased. But, if someone else is saying it, it’s much more credible.
Although this is extremely powerful, very few business owners actually use social proof. My goal here is to show you the different kinds of social proof and how you can use them to skyrocket your sales.
This one is a classic. However, most testimonials out there are really bad. This is my formula for getting killer testimonials every time:

  1. Find the most common objections your potential clients have. If you have salespeople, have them write down all the reasons why people don’t buy (“too expensive”, “what if it doesn’t work?”, “a friend of mine tried that and his ear came off”, whatever)
  2. Send your happiest clients guiding questions (not “what do you think about us?” but “how did our customer service handled your complaint? Were they fast? Did they solve your problem? How?”)
  3. The idea is to tie testimonials to the main objections. If one of the main objections of your prospects is your high price, include a few testimonials from clients that address the issue of why you’re more expensive than your competition. Remember the “loaded” questions: “what did you think of our price before making the purchase? How do you feel about hiring us? Were we worth the extra $50?”

A few extra tips on getting killer testimonials:

  • Don’t ever make them up. Your customers are smarter than you think, you can get in trouble and you won’t feel very proud about yourself.
  • Consider “third-party testimonials”. This is when someone other than the product user gives the testimonial. This works very well in B2C markets. An example: “Since my husband started using StopSnoring Pro I sleep a lot better and he wakes up full of energy.”
  • Try to get VIDEO testimonials if you can. They’re extremely powerful! The second best kind of testimonials is the audio/photo testimonial. Regular “text” testimonials are OK, just make sure they’re not signed by “C.M., New York”; include real names and cities/company names/websites.

Celebrity Endorsements
If you’re a small business owner, chances are you can’t afford to pay a celebrity to endorse your product. So, here’s a way you can do it for free: just mention what celebrities do and say. Some examples:

  • “Oprah and Larry King talk about the law of attraction and believe in it” (your reader thinks: “I admire Larry and Oprah; if they believe in this, this might be a good thing”.
  • “This tuxedo is the same style Pierce Brosnan wore to the Oscar Awards last year”

You get the idea, right? The good news is that the celebrities don’t need to be talking about YOUR specific product. If Oprah says she eats 4 eggs each morning and you sell eggs, profit from that, even if Oprah doesn’t buy the eggs from you.
Expert Reviews
Again, you don’t need an expert to review YOUR product. If you sell a weight loss supplement that contains Vitamin X and the Mayo Clinic and said that Vitamin X has been successfully used for years to lose weight, use that in your copy!
Find the authorities in your industry and borrow their credibility by quoting them.
As Seen On…
Once again, if CBS features a news on a special kind of massage technique that you happen to offer, add an “As Seen On” badge to your site. (Note: talk to your lawyer before doing this; make sure you’re not breaking any law. Most of the time, if you give credit when credit is due, it’ll be fine.)
Case Studies
Case studies are very powerful because you’re not just showing what other people are saying; you’re showing actual results. Show before and after photos, charts, screenshots or present your evidence in the best way possible.
If you say something, it might be true. If someone else says it, it’s likely to be true. If you SHOW EVIDENCE, it IS true.
Our Clients
Consider having a list of your clients on your site. By showing people that others trust you with their business, you’re removing a lot of the risk, which is your ultimate goal.
Awards and Seals
These don’t really fall in the category of social proof, but can be very effective. If you’re certified in something, a member of the Better Business Bureau or even PayPal verified, put the seals on your site. Most of your competitors are too lazy to do this, so profit from their laziness.
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