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“Social proof, also known as informational social influence, is a psychological phenomenon where people assume the actions of others in an attempt to reflect correct behavior for a given situation. This effect is prominent in ambiguous social situations where people are unable to determine the appropriate mode of behavior, and is driven by the assumption that surrounding people possess more knowledge about the situation.”
Often while selling video ads on Youtube as part of my Google sales team, the skippable ad format on Youtube which allows you to skip an ad after 5 seconds, was amongst the most popular ad formats for video ads. Not only was this influenced by perception of skippable ads being more user-friendly but also for one overlooked critical factor. Skippable ads also increased your total visible view count as all the views accrued through paid medium were opted-in views i.e. the user decides to watch the ad every single time. This was not true with unskippable ads as the user did not have a choice to skip the ad and thus any view was not counted in the overall views of the video.
This small fact was very important for a lot of the advertisers. They did not see the video view count as just another vanity metric but as an important social proof of the popularity of the brand.
Even during our sales presentations while selling Youtube ads to a particular brand, we often used to draw comparisons on video view count and total subscriber count from the competitors’ Youtube channels as an important social currency in the digital world.
In a similar fashion, social proof is an important tool for your company while selling to set trust and credibility with the audience. Presenter’s bio, founder’s experience, past customer testimonials, twitter comments, youtube video views, case studies, awards, marquee clients, growth rate, literally anything and everything that can set you apart.
Also called as the Bandwagon effect, which says that people tend to follow what other people do, explains the following examples of social proof embedded in their advertisements to drive more sales.
Infact another very useful study on Bandwagon Effect in High Technology Industries, it has been found that people are willing to pay a higher price over time to join an existing group of users using a certain product. This in effect, not just means better closure rates but also higher revenue per customer.
So don’t forget to make good use of your social currency while you’re making that all important pitch.