Every day, we are forced to make decisions about what product to buy or what services to use. We make these decisions based on a variety of psychological factors that we may not even be conscious of because we are used to drawing on these resources regularly.

When we are making purchasing decisions, here are some of the ways in which we make our decision on what to purchase:
Past performance: if we have used a product or service before, we will use our past experience to determine our future behaviour. We will judge our next purchase decision on how well the product or service delivered when we used it previously.

Other’s opinion: this is what other people say about their experience with a product or service.

The opinion of others can take on a wide range of formats:
  • Celebrity endorsement: this is a powerful weapon and still widely used in advertising. If someone we admire uses or recommends a product, then this can positively influence our buying decision.
  • Expert endorsement: this is where someone whose credibility we believe in. A good example a dentist endorsing a toothpaste.
  • Consumer endorsement: this is where another person who has used the product gives the product a positive review. The closer the relationship to the person endorsing the product, the higher the weighting allocated to the endorsement. For instance, if it is a friend, the weighting given will be higher than if it is a stranger. However, a stranger’s endorsement will still rank higher than the business giving the product or service a positive review.

As we can see, there are many ways that a consumer makes their purchasing decision but all of these fall under the manner of a psychological term “social proof”. Social proof means that we look to others to confirm our own beliefs. It is applied in a large variety of circumstances such as predicting how groups of people will behave ie they will conform with each other. But it also explains how we look to make decisions ie what have others done so that we can conform. Despite the belief that we are free-thinking individuals, for the most part we will seek to conform with the group. This means that in marketing terms, providing support to help someone make a decision is a very powerful tool.

So in your business, are you providing “social proof” of your products or services? Remember, for the most part, social proof will come in the form of testimonials.

Facebook has made it incredibly easy for us to harness the power of social proof by allowing people to leave testimonials about our business. Has your Facebook page got any reviews? If you are very new in business then maybe it doesn’t but if not, what is your excuse? Remember, we need to be brave and ask for testimonials. For the most part, people do not just spontaneously write them on our Facebook page. There are lots of occasions you can ask for a review or testimonial. I have one built in to my email invoice template as when people are paying is a good time to capture their happy experience. I also collect them at the end of every training workshop and I frequently ask people to go on to my page and leave me a review. The result is a lot of great reviews about me and my business on my Facebook page. This means that if you find my business and want to get to know me better, the reviews are a great place to get that “social proof” you are seeking as you gather information.

My challenge for you is to ask for a review on your Facebook page. Send an email, post an update or make a phone call. People are usually more than happy to do it.