Now, we come to Cialdini’s last principle: social proof. People follow the lead of similar others, and this condition of social proof intensifies when there exists a condition of uncertainty (Sales are down! What should we do?) or similarity (All the other computer companies offer package deals.) The most powerful example of this is peer pressure among teenagers. Studies show that teens are more likely to vape if their friends and family approve.
Social proof holds sway in the office, too. If you notice coworkers signing up for the United Way HomeWalk, you will be more inclined to do so. If you see that others are working late at the office, you more than likely will start setting aside a few evenings to stick around, as well. If everyone appears to be on board with the new marketing direction, you will probably be on board, too — even if you’re not a fan of the new marketing direction.
We are social creatures.
The absolute best way to leverage social proof in a business setting is through the use of testimonials and referrals, which demonstrate that others have benefitted from knowing and working with you. And now your target will, too. That is the power of social proof.
It’s important to know that people often use Cialdini’s six principles, individually or in combinations, to make decisions. And now that you know them, so can you.