Posted by: housingdabble | June 13, 2011

Using social proof to influence vendors and landlords

Social proof, the principle whereby we view a behavior as correct in a situation to the degree that we see others performing it, is one of the 6 principles of persuasion identified by Dr. Robert Cialdini in his book Influence: Science and Practice.

The principles he identified are the key ways to make people say “yes” to your messaging and management and if you are involved in sales or marketing you have read the book.

On the principle of social proof, Cialdini and a team of colleagues ran an experiment to see which types of signs would most encourage hotel visitors to reuse towels. They tested four types of signs:
#1 Cited environmental reasons to encourage visitors to reuse their towels
#2 Said the hotel would donate a portion of end-of-year laundry savings to an environmental cause
#3 Said the hotel had already given a donation and asked: “Will you please join us?”
#4 Said the majority of guests reused their towels at least once during their stay

Percentage of those who reused towels per request:
Sign #1: 38%
Sign #2: 36%
Sign #3: 46%
Sign #4: 48%

When guests found out that most people who stayed in the same hotel reused their towels, they were more likely to comply with the request.

How can you use this principle in your Estate or Letting Agency marketing?

One great example of from Marsh and Parsons is the way they display their client feedback results.

The majority of estate agents nowadays monitor client feedback and proudly announce to potential clients that 90 something % of their clients would recommend them to their friends.

Marsh and Parsons however, despite having 99% of clients who would recommend them to a friend, advertise that 71% said they would recommend them. Here comes the principle of social proof – they also show very clearly that 28% of clients already have.

Not only does it present a very positive message to potential new clients, it also sends a message to the remaining 71% of existing clients that would recommend them saying “why haven’t you already recommended them? – This is the way that others are behaving”

I have no doubt that they maintain regular contact with all current and past clients and include this type of message and it is a great example of and Estate Agent using the 6 Cialdini principles to influence their clients.



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