We'd all like to be more persuasive.
"If only I could persuade more people to work with me," is a thought I'm sure you've had many times.
Interestingly, many people equate persuasion with personality. However persuasion has very little do do with personality, except perhaps for the personal trait of learning and trying new ideas.
Persuasion is a science, with certain laws that work unfailingly - if we only apply them. This is the premise of a new book by Noah Goldstein, Steve Martin and Robert Cialdini called, "Yes! 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive."
The book is based on scientific studies that reveal these laws and how they can be applied in a variety of situations. As I read it, I couldn't help but think of all the ways these laws of persuasion could be applied to marketing for Independent Professionals.
For the next several weeks I'm going to share with you some very practical application of these laws. Instead of theory, I'll give you hands-on strategies and techniques you can apply to your business immediately.
But first... Is persuasion manipulation?
Here's how I think of it. Persuasion is communicating in such a way that more people respond to what you have to offer. If you have a valuable service and deliver what you promised, and your clients are satisfied, then you are not manipulating.
Manipulation, on the other hand, has an agenda that fails to take your clients' satisfaction into account. Manipulation is all about what you get but little about what your clients get.
If you're not manipulating, please don't feel guilty about increasing your persuasive skills! Ultimately, persuasion will benefit your clients while enriching yourself at the same time.
The Law of Social Proof
This one is simple, but one of the most powerful laws of persuasion. People will more likely buy something if you can offer proof that others have bought the same thing and gotten favorable results.
This law can be applied in quite obvious, and also subtle ways. Here are a few that most Independent Professionals can apply.
1. Collect and communicate testimonials. My favorite example is Alan Weiss's testimonial book. Alan asks all his clients for a testimonial letter if they are happy with the service provided. He has collected hundreds, usually on the client's letterhead.
Alan then copies these letters and binds them into a book about an inch and a half thick. He gives this book to prospective clients at their first meeting. The proof of these testimonials is very powerful and they help him to close many large projects.
2. Case Studies should be at the heart of any web site. Stories of clients you've worked with and the difference your services made are more powerful than any other written marketing materials.
3. Prepare stories about client successes to relate when someone asks what you do. "Perhaps the best way to explain what I do is to give you an example of a client I worked with recently..." This tends to be more effective than most "elevator speeches."
4. Drop names appropriately. If you've worked with certain clients who are known and respected, don't keep it a secret. List them on your web site. Bring them up in conversation with some degree of subtlety, making sure not to reveal proprietary information.
5. Incorporating audio and video testimonials and case studies on web sites is a growing trend. The bottom line is that sound and sight are much more persuasive than just the written word. The best of these talk about real results achieved with your services.
6. When using testimonials or case studies, the key is believability. Never stretch the truth. Provide enough details to give your prospects a real sense of the value your clients have received. Identify key benefits, results or outcomes, not just the fact that your clients liked working with you.
What social proof can you provide when communicating about your services? Ignoring this law will greatly diminish your ability to get more clients to work with you.
The More Clients Bottom Line: Apply the Law of Social Proof in all your marketing communication. This universal law will help your prospects feel more confident about your services and assure them that they are taking very little risk by working with you.
What other ways have you applied the Law of Social Proof? Please share on the More Clients Blog.