Last week I gave you an example of how one marketeer used the “scarcity principle” to influence potential customers to take action.

Today we’ll be taking a look at another of Dr’ Robert Cialdini’s principles of influence – Social proof.

I was reminded of this recently during the lunch break from a course I was running. The delegates went off to choose a cafe from the many that were located close to the training room. When they came back, I asked them what had influenced their decision.

One of the commonest factors was whether the cafe was busy or not. People said that they tended to avoid empty restaurants as they assumed that they were not very good and instead headed for the establishments full of people on the assumption that the food was better there.

This is a simple but elegant example of the essence behind the principle of social proof. “If it’s good enough for other people, it’s good enough for me.”

So how can we utilise the principle to help us sell more successfully? Here are some ideas to get you started.

  • Testimonials in our marketing materials, brochures and websites. If you don’t put any in there, people may look at you in the same way as the empty restaurants and pass on by! And now with web2.0 streaming video and podcasting, there is no excuse for not having compelling multimedia testimonials as well as written quotes.
  • Case Studies – again as above these are a great way of demonstrating that your service was good enough for others.
  • Client lists. Don’t hide your light under a bushel, publish a list of your top clients and see how this helps build your credibility and making attracting you clients much easier.

Audience Participation bit: – Why not send in your own examples and I’ll happily publish them in this blog. You can post a comment using the link on the blog or you can email me at

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