We recently posted an article entitled Website testimonials: Weapons of influence. It encourages website owners to use customer testimonials to boost credibility and sales, referring to author Robert Cialdini’s insightful social psychology book called Influence: Science and Practice.
While website testimonials are a powerful way to earn a prospect’s trust, they also foster commitment from those providing the testimonials. How? Well, when people put their commitments on paper – or the far-reaching Web – they attempt to live up to their words.
“Whenever one takes a stand that is visible to others, there arises a drive to maintain that stand in order to look like a consistent person,” noted Cialdini. Why? Because, he explained, personal consistency is viewed as rational, assured, trustworthy and sound.
Look at Barack Obama’s presidential campaign; he went with the theme “change” and stuck with it right through to his election to the Whitehouse. Someone without consistency is often judged as fickle, uncertain, scatterbrained or volatile. John McCain started with “experience” and switched to “change” mid-campaign.
Encouraging a small gesture of commitment can go a long way. Amway, for instance, managed to reduce order cancellations during legally enforced “cooling off” periods by getting customers, rather than salespeople, to fill out the sales agreement.
“Once an active commitment is made,” noted Cialdini, “there is pressure to bring self-image into line with action…(and) a tendency to adjust this image according to the way others perceive us.”
So get testimonials from your clients. In addition to helping you secure new customers, the kind words can prompt existing ones to become more vocal and supportive of your business. Powerful stuff. And the price is right, too.