The Principle of Social Proof

By Tom Mann, Principal, Executive Vice President

Lady wearing IpodWe continue to discuss the Principles of Influence and how they relate to selling to seniors. Thus far, we have covered three of the six – ConsistencyLikability, and Authority. Today, we’ll be covering The Principle of Social Proof.

When a number of people agree on something, we are likely to be persuaded too. Apple knew what it was doing when it gave the first IPODs the glaring white wires and base. Soon you were seeing these glaring white music makers everywhere. When I walk into your retirement community’s sales office, do I get a sense of social proof? Have others gone before me?

How strong is this principle? Dr. Cialdini tells of a group of researchers who went door-to-door in Columbia, South Carolina, soliciting donations for a charity campaign and displaying a list of neighborhood residents who had already donated to the cause. The researchers found that the longer the donor list was, the more likely those solicited would be to donate as well. To the people being solicited, the friends’ and neighbors’ names on the list were a form of social evidence about how they should respond. But the evidence would not have been nearly as compelling had the names been those of random strangers.

The fact is that persuasion can be extremely effective when it comes from peers which is why Love & Company loves to utilize resident testimonials when selling to the mature market. The science supports what most senior sales professionals already know: Testimonials from satisfied customers work best when the satisfied customer and the prospective customer share similar circumstances.

Do you have pin maps showing where your retirement community’s residents came from? Do you have Polaroid pictures (yes, they still sell these) of your residents and new deposits pinned up on a sales wall (the sales person should be in every photo)? Both of these become visual clues of social proof to new and old signups!

Do you have testimonials and letters posted around your office and in your marketing materials? Do you provide opportunities for your members to bring in friends for special occasions? Maybe a special appearance by a chef on how to prepare heart-healthy meals?

Social proof makes perfect sense in a busy, overwhelming world. It’s proof that others have done the thinking for us and it turned out alright.

Are you ready to learn about Scarcity?

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For more information on how to apply The Principles of Influence to your community, contact Tim Bracken at 240-575-5596.

Attending LeadingAge Iowa? Contact Chris Carruthers at 513-833-6673 to schedule a time to meet. We’d love to introduce ourselves.

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