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Marketing mastery: The power of social proof

March 13/20, 2017: Volume 31, Issue 20

By Jim Augustus Armstrong

 

Screen Shot 2017-03-06 at 10.45.16 AM“Wow,” I thought to myself. “If I ever need tax help I’m calling this guy.” I was in the waiting room of a local CPA, looking through a very plain, white binder filled with letters from his clients thanking him for getting them out of tax trouble. They raved about how he got their tax bills cut by 90% or more, in some cases; how he saved their businesses; how he gave them their lives back. This was more than 12 years ago, and the impact of those letters was such that I still remember it clearly. Since then I’ve referred a number of people to him.

That’s the power of social proof. Many times during my live speaking events I’ve polled attendees in the room and asked the dealers if walk-ins are more distrusting than they were 15 years ago. At least 90% of the hands always go up. Consumers have been lied to by the government, spied on by the NSA, had their financial world rocked by Wall Street corruption, etc. What you and I think about these things is irrelevant; it’s what consumers at large think, and they are more skeptical and distrusting than ever. The good news is dealers who get very good at providing social proof can gain a big advantage over competitors who can’t or won’t. Here’s a list of social proof strategies that will help you be a “beacon of trustworthiness” in your market.

Written testimonials. Train your salespeople to ask for testimonials after every completed installation. These serve as multi-purpose social proofs that can be used everywhere—your website, in your showroom, a binder (like the CPA), your printed advertising, social media, etc.

Photos. Train your sales team to take photos during the post-installation follow-up visit. Get photos of your client standing on her new floors. Do before and after shots.

Videos. When you get a raving fan, ask her if you can do a quick 3-minute interview about her experience. Interview questions should include: What made you choose Jimbo’s Floors? What did you like about working with us? How do you like your new floors? Would you recommend Jimbo’s Floors to a friend? Post videos on your website, Facebook page, YouTube channel or any other social media you’re using.

Online reviews. My last two columns (FCNews, Feb. 27/March 6 and Feb. 13/20) went into this topic in depth, so I won’t repeat it here except to say reviews are extremely important for dealers. Positive reviews can be repurposed in all your marketing vehicles, both online and in print.

Monitors on your closing table. Your best testimonials and photos can be edited into a video or built into a PowerPoint presentation. Have a monitor on your closing table that faces the client with the video or PowerPoint playing in a continuous loop.

Testimonial brag wall. Install a large corkboard on a wall in your showroom where every walk-in will see it. Cover it with testimonials, reviews, letters from clients and photos.

Review booklet. Hire a graphic designer to compile your best reviews, testimonials and photos into a full-color booklet. Make sure every walk-in gets a copy.

Quotes. When you’re bidding on a commercial job or putting together a quote for a residential remodel, be sure to include testimonials with the quote.

Links. Build a “review” page on your website that has testimonials, photos and videos of raving clients. Post links to this page in your email signature line, e-newsletters, quotes, Facebook, YouTube channel and any other social media platform you use.