Follow the leader
Why is social proof such a major factor when it comes to sales? Is there such a thing as “herd mentality?” Is it possible to use any of the information that social scientists have gathered over the past 60 years?
What is social proof?
Wikipedia defines social proof this way:
“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.”
I think this is a great definition and explanation of this behavior. This would explain why mobs form, why ordinary German citizens became Nazis and why people will stare into an empty sky just because a few other people are doing it.
The Solomon Asch Experiment
In 1951, Solomon Asch, a pioneer in social psychology, conduct his first of many conformity experiments. In the experiment, he had 8 people choose which of the following lines are the same length as the first line. The first 7 to choose, were part of the experiment and were told to choose the wrong line. The 8th person was the test subject. Would the 8th person go along with the crowd and choose the wrong line as well?
Here are the lines:
The answer is pretty obvious! However, Asch found that nearly 37% of the test subjects went along with the crowd and chose the wrong line. After he conducted all of his experiments, he found that 75% of the test subjects chose the wrong line, at least one time during the entire study.
The results of Asch’s experiments can be interpreted as showing the power of social conformity. This has also been called, “Normative Social Influence.” Where normative social influence is define as, “the willingness to conform, publicly, to attain social reward and avoid social punishment.”
To me, this is saying that people that are in a social setting are willing to go along with the crowd in order to receive a social or public reward or to avoid a social or public punishment.
Can this help us in network marketing?
Two of the most common places that network marketing companies show their business plans is at home meetings and at hotel meetings.
A home meeting is just that, a meeting held in your home. You can invite people from your warm market to your home and show your company’s business plan to a handful of people at the same time.
A hotel meeting is a larger venue with the same goal in mind. You can show the business plan to dozens and maybe even hundreds of people.
You shouldn’t think that these types of meetings were developed by accident. The network marketing companies know that if a few people, at either of these meetings, want to sign up that night, that people’s desire to conform might get many more people to sign up!
I want to make it clear that I am not suggesting that you “plant” people in the audience and have them act as though they are signing up in order to get others to sign up!
I am suggesting that you do take advantage of this phenomenon and take your guests to a hotel meeting. I see nothing wrong with taking advantage of this.
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