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How To Use Social Proof In Marketing And Sales

What if I told you that most people are just walking around in a daze and that they think they have control, think they know what they are doing, and think they make their own decisions, but actually most of the things that they do are on autopilot. It is like they are in the matrix and are just walking around and doing whatever it is that they are “supposed to do” like what everyone else is doing.

In fact, this last thing that I said, “…everyone else is doing,” is one of the most powerful human cognitive biases. It is like a bug in our brain.

What it means is that when people see that everyone else is doing something, then they are more likely to do it. You can use it for good or for evil. In this piece I am going to talk about how to use it for good in marketing and sales.

How do you use the cognitive bias of social proof to improve your business, get more sales, and so on?

If you look at random restaurants, some restaurants have four or five stars on a review website, but when you go there it is empty. What is going on? This is a highly reviewed restaurant, people like it, but they do not know about the high scoring reviews. The problem is no one wants to be the first person. I trusted the reviews from TripAdvisor and walked right in to see what happened. Low and behold five minutes after I had sat down, someone walked past and sat down next to me. Five more minutes later, more people arrived, and so on.

You can see this cognitive bias and you can see that once something has been socially proven and preapproved by others, suddenly it is an a lot more attractive proposition.

You probably are not running a restaurant, but if you’re running an online business, just having reviews everywhere on the internet about your business is the equivalent. Reviews are not just a logical part in decision-making. Buyers do not make logical decisions. They make decisions on emotions and how their brain works. This is not completely, but somewhat, out of their control.

If someone sees no reviews of your business, then they see it as not a very good sign. If you see reviews, it is a good sign consciously and unconsciously to automatically validate what you’re selling. I see lots of businesses that have no reviews. They have a Facebook page, a yelp page, their Google map, and they do not put reviews on there. This is a very bad idea.

When I go to these businesses and tell them to put reviews online, they tell me that they have not thought about it yet. The moment they put them up, they are sales go up. When they carefully manage these reviews and make sure their best customers gave reviews, it works like magic.

Most people make purchases based off of reviews

In fact, I would argue that most people make their buying decisions, thanks to Amazon, based on reviews, number of reviews, and what kind of reviews have been written. If you look at the guys who are doing book launches to become New York Times Best-Sellers, it is not because it is the best book necessarily, but they can email their list and ask their friends to email their lists explaining that if a person reviews the book, they will get it for free. Then they send it to tens of millions of people. Suddenly, they are a New York Times Best-Selling author. This book obviously cannot be terrible or terribly reviewed, so some authors may tend to cheat the system slightly.

Some of the biggest names in the industry do this – it is not uncommon at all and this is what everyone does as far as I can tell. This social proof of bias works like magic and makes people buy from you.

How are you going to apply this to your business?

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