The force influencing our everyday decision-making process.
Social proof exists because as a society, we group together. All of the people around you (and their decisions) are pushing and pulling you to either do or not do certain things. This herd mentality phenomenon is a strong force as far as influencing our behaviors is concerned.
As a business owner, social proof is important because it’s such an incredibly power selling tool. It’s a potential killer, too, as negative social proof can kill your brand and your sales.
Social proof is a central facet of B2B sales. Many businesses are already including customer testimonials in their proposals. While that’s great, there’s more to social proof than just a quote from your customer.
In this article, we discuss the impact that social proof has on your B2B sales pipeline and how you can formulate effective social proof to increase your close rate.
The Psychology Behind Social Proof
Social proof (which you may also know as ‘informational social influence’), refers to the way that individuals will follow the actions of the masses. You can attribute this to what’s called “the natural herd mentality,” which essentially explains that when people see a large group of people do something, they’re more likely to join.
Social Proof in B2B
The B2B services market is more saturated than it’s ever been and choosing between similar offers can present a challenge for your client. The last thing that any B2B buyer wants to do after countless hours of meetings is choose the wrong service provider.
You can help prevent this from happening by leveraging social proof to develop trust and authority with your prospective clients.
According to a study by G2 Crowd and Heinz Marketing, 92% of B2B buyers are more likely to make a purchase after they read reviews that they trust.
Prospective clients are tight on time so it is important to help them make an informed decision in the quickest way possible.
The Social Proof that Your Proposal Needs
Now that you understand the impact of social proof, the psychology behind it, and the way it helps you win business, let’s explore the ways that you can execute on social proof in your proposals and win more business!
User, Download, or Purchase Count
Relying a bit on the theory of herd mentality, it is in your best interest to display how big your user base or community is.
The bigger, the better…right?
While it’s true that more can be better, many businesses aren’t guaranteed by user count or community size figures.
This may be dismaying, but it shouldn’t stop you– there’s a way around this!
If you’ve worked for reputable clients or have had features in leading industry publications, this is your opportunity to showcase that your offering is credible and trustworthy.
Not every business has been fortunate enough to work with an industry leader, so if you’ve done so, here’s your cue to strengthen your social proof.
Awards and Recognition
User count and infrequent dealings with reputable clients and industry publications aren’t always enough to develop credibility with prospective clients.
In highly competitive industries — such as the marketing agency space, awards and recognition is given to businesses who execute best practices and are consistently set industry standards.
Your awards and recognition not only validates the quality of your offer, but it helps prove that you’re better than your competitors.
A crucial element to effective social proof is trust. Trust can be built by the natural herd mentality, but it is also contingent on authenticity.
One way to uphold this authenticity is to offer customer testimonials, as these are transparent and offer perspectives that a prospect may otherwise not have access to.
Research conducted on increasing “truthiness” reveals that an effective way to strengthen the truth in customer testimonials is to put a face to the words.
A customer testimonial can be more than just a few words that summarize what your business offers. Take it to the next level to dig deeper and explore the full experience of working with your customer. Case studies are great examples of this.
If your business has conducted a case study of one of your clients, use this as an opportunity to present a story of how you helped them every step of the way, resolved their pain points and exhibit the transformational journey between before and after working with them.
Interestingly, stories that have been proven to be more persuasive and trustworthy than statistics because individual examples put us in a prime position to imagine ourselves in other people’s shoes during a story.
Creating a compelling story can help your prospective customers realize their own latent needs and conclude that your business is the solution.
Twitter is a fantastic platform that allows individuals to openly express their experiences with products and services.
If you’ve cultivated an active following on Twitter where your customers have spoken highly about your service, utilize this to capture every customer experience.
Since tweets are published directly by the person, credibility and trustworthiness of the experience will no doubt be regarded.
With B2B space being overcrowded recently, social proof has proven to offer businesses with the much needed edge to stand out amongst the crowd. Adding diversity and depth to your social proof will no doubt facilitate the selection process for your potential clients– providing you with quicker wins!
Ready to Win Your Next Proposal?
Excited to create your next stunning proposal, but unsure where to start? Luckily for you, we have some stunning business proposal templates — be sure to check them out here!