You hear all about social networks today, so “social” in a headline is always catchy. I was curious when Robert Middleton used it in his More Clients newsletter (which, these days, is another channel for his blog posts). Middleton focuses on marketing strategies for freelancers and consultants, but his marketing ear is well-tuned and his advice generally applies to all of us.
What he is talking about here is something you can inherently understand: “People will more likely buy something if you can offer proof that others have bought the same thing and gotten favorable results.” You have probably followed his recommendations before, but think about doing them more and more consistently. I give you several, and you can read the rest:
- Collect and communicate testimonials. My favorite example is Alan Weiss’s testimonial book. Alan asks all his clients for a testimonial letter if they are happy with the service provided. He has collected hundreds, usually on the client’s letterhead.
- Prepare stories about client successes to relate when someone asks what you do. “Perhaps the best way to explain what I do is to give you an example of a client I worked with recently…” This tends to be more effective than most “elevator speeches.”
- Incorporating audio and video testimonials and case studies on web sites is a growing trend. The bottom line is that sound and sight are much more persuasive than just the written word. The best of these talk about real results achieved with your services.
When you’re just starting out in business, it is especially important to ask your early customers to provide testimonials and to be references.
Middleton refers in his post to a new book by Noah Goldstein, Steve Martin and Robert Cialdini called, “Yes! 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive.” I haven’t read it, but I believe these authors perhaps coined the phrase “social proof”.
By the way, stay tuned. Middleton called this post “Part 1”.