Prime the pump
October 18, 2019
“Wisdom of the Crowds”

Imagine walking around town looking for a place to eat. Four out of six restaurants have people inside eating. The other two are completely empty. Which one will you patronize?

For fear of missing out, you will choose one of the four. This is not a coincidence. It has to do with a psychological phenomenon called social proof and this example is called “Wisdom of the Crowds” – When lots of people are using or buying a product, others want to follow suit.

According to Robert Cialdini, in his book, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, “we view a behaviour as more correct in a given situation to the degree that we see others performing it.”

Just saying that you offer the best product, or the best price will not convince people to buy. The recommendations from people we know and trust carry far more weight than other types of promotions or advertising. One study showed 92 percent of consumers are more likely to trust non-paid recommendations than any other type of advertising. So, a good testimonial can be more useful than a catchy jingle or an appealing advertisment.

Recently when I was looking for the services of a builder, I contacted someone who was nominated in the Best of SVG People’s Choice Awards. When you are shopping online, do you buy from the supplier with no review, the one with negative reviews or the one with several positive reviews? If social proof can influence your decision to or away from someone’s business, don’t you think that it also influences prospects decision to or away from yours?

There are several types of social proof that you can use to your advantage in your business. In an article by Sophia Bernazzani titled “20 Examples of Social Proof in Action in 2019”, Bernazzani listed some of the ways that social proof can manifest itself. For example, Expert’s Stamp of Approval. Celebrity Endorsement. User Testimonials. Business Credentials. Earned Media. Social Media Shares. Wisdom of the Crowds and Wisdom of your Friends.

You may not have access to all, but you have users’ testimonials. Use it to leverage your competitive advantage. Instead of an ad with product and price, try one with a user’s recommendation. “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” Be creative.

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