Social evidence: one of the strongest influencing techniques
Social evidential value is the application of influencing techniques. Robert Cialdini,
professor, social psychologist and author of world-renowned books on influencing principles, has conducted a great deal of research over the years showing that social evidential influences people in making (purchasing) decisions. The idea behind that? Do you know the saying "If there is one sheep over the dam, more will follow"? If everyone does it, it will be fine. Cialdini calls this "wisdom of the crowd".
Forms of social proof
Social evidential value has existed for a long time, offline and later also online via websites, web shops and social media. Over the years, more and more shapes appeared.
Examples of social proof:
- commercials with consumers
- number of products or articles sold
- best-selling items
- total number of customers who went before you
- pop up with the number of people currently viewing an accommodation, for example
- customer reviews
- assigning numbers or stars
- customer cases
- awards (awarded by customers)
The tendency to see an action as more appropriate when others are doing it
What are the benefits?
Social proof works especially when people (customers) still have doubts. When we are insecure, we let the people around us determine our behavior. Our subconscious looks for evidence so that we feel safe when making a decision. For example, if we see enough reassuring reviews (and one review may be enough), the decision is made in no time. And you? If you are going out for a weekend in an unknown city and want to book another hotel, do you book purely at the beautiful-looking location or do you just read the figures and reviews that accompany it? I always go through the pros and cons lists before ordering a new product. It makes me feel more secure when I see that other people are satisfied or enthusiastic about the product I want. Social proof thus leads to trust and reduces fear or uncertainty. It promotes imitation behavior. Imitation is also accelerated when people see that their friends (social proof on social media) or other people with the same age or interests have already preceded them. Wow! Imagine what that could mean for your proposals?
Social evidential value in your proposals
If you want to use social proof, make sure it complies with these four elements. Discover what this entails and how you can easily apply this in your proposals.
Make sure your evidence is credible regardless. A customer case is considered to be very reliable. When you add a customer case to your proposal, you show how your product, service or solution has already led to success. As affected companies are mentioned, this evidence is considered factual. Do you participate in an external customer review system? Awesome! Use it, even or especially if a critical comment is made every now and then. It strengthens your credibility and thus the social evidential value.
With numbers you make the social proof concrete. Preferably use the actual numbers and avoid rounding. It is precisely rounded figures that make people doubt this form of social proof. Be as specific as possible. For example, you can indicate in your proposal that X number of companies have already used product or service Y this year alone. Make it even stronger by adding value to it. You do this on the basis of figures that customers have given to your product or service. So: In 2020 alone, 95 customers have used our content service. They gave an average of 7.4 for this service!
Only use relevant and compelling evidence. It makes your proof more powerful and an still doubting customer will be convinced more quickly. Therefore, use recent reviews from comparable companies / customers with similar problems. Or let consumers with the same wishes or goals say something about your product or service.
The visual aspect of social proof is also important. A testimonial with a photo is much more credible than without a photo. Add customer company logos or create a video in which customers say something about your product, service or service. Besides, quality marks also strengthen trust and speed up the decision-making process. Quality marks give prospects confidence in the (sales, payment or work) process. A good example of this is the Thuiswinkel Waarborg or Webshop Keurmerk logo. If you see this logo, you know that it is good with both the quality and the service.
Are you enthusiastic now but wondering how you can get all that social proof in your proposals in a nice way? Fortunately, our online proposal tool offers a solution. This allows you to quickly and easily create an attractive, convincing, interactive presentation of your proposal!