The Proof of Social Proof in Sales | radioinfo

The Proof of Social Proof in Sales

Sunday 22 September, 2019
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Peady's Selling Engagement

Success in sales comes down to finding your ideal customers and convincing them that you and your company can help. 

So, how do you convince those new customers of your value to them? What’s the one big thing that will help drive them into your arms? How and where will they find out about you?

Welcome to this week’s post on sales and selling success.

If I had to choose a single factor that is becoming more crucial than ever before to the success of a salesperson, it would be social proof. The term is often misunderstood. It doesn’t have much to do with your presence and reputation on social media networks - though that plays a role. Instead, it’s the psychological phenomenon where people look to the actions of others under the assumption that those actions convey correct behaviour. 

And it’s much more powerful than just ‘word of mouth’!

It’s not new

Even though the phrase social proof was coined by Robert Cialdini in his 1984 book “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion” it’s a well-established marketing tactic. Here’s a couple of examples: 

Using “canned laughter” in television comedies. If the audience in the studio see the show as funny, there’s the social proof. Viewers are reassured!
Back in 1955, McDonald’s began putting the number of burgers sold on the ‘golden-arches’. The social proof of their product is that many buy it.
For years, nightclubs have found ways to purposely form queues at the front door even if the club isn’t full. For those outside it’s the social proof of its ‘popularity’.

Social proof in sales

The easy definition of social proof is using endorsements or assurances from other customers in an effort to build credibility with potential buyers.
Examples of modern-day sales and selling social proof techniques include:

-       Case studies
-       Success stories
-       Testimonials
-       References
-       Endorsements

The goal of these social proof techniques is to create a bandwagon effect: Everyone enjoys working with me, they get great outcomes, so you should too!


There’s a catch

To really ensure your use of social proof resonates with a potential customer it needs to be relevant to them and their business - it’s no use sharing an endorsement, testimonial or case study that is completely dissimilar to the prospect, their business or their problems. 

But when you talk about your other customers and tell a story that makes your prospect think: “Those guys sound like me. They had to deal with the same things I’m dealing with” you’ll gain immediate traction. The relevance and social proof are there. Done right, it creates a powerful motivational force that’s hard to resist.

Make no mistake, humans are pack animals we all follow the herd so if you can master this crucial skill, you’ll create a genuine competitive advantage for yourself.

I’ll leave the last word with personal branding guru Bernard Kelvin Clive who said “Man is a social being; it’s not surprising we love social proofs

​Until next week, good selling!! 

About the author 

Stephen Pead is a media industry veteran of 30 years with significant experience in direct sales, sales management and general management. He is based in Sydney and specialises in helping SME’s market their businesses more effectively and providing training for salespeople and sales managers.

He can be contacted at


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