Testimonials, Social Proof, and Learning Strategies
Evolutionary Sales
Jason McClain

Episode 16 - Testimonials, Social Proof, and Learning Strategies

In this episode of Evolutionary Sales, Jason informs you about the importance of testimonials; not only as direct and indirect marketing tools, but also as an important feedback loop from your clients and prospects. He even tells you how and when to ask for them-and how to apprehend them from verbal or written communication with the client-with the client’s permission, of course--so the client is not burdened with a task-and you simultaneously acquire more testimonials. In addition, Jason provides you with additional perspectives on learning and deepening your behavioral integration of new distinctions so you can turn knowledge into action and action into results. More details on this episode go to http://personallifemedia.com/podcasts/evolutionary-sales/episode016-testimonials.html



Episode 16: Testimonials, Social Proof, and Learning Strategies

Announcer:  This program is brought to you by personallifemedia.com.


Jason McClain:  Welcome to Evolutionary Sales.  I'm your host Jason McLain and your guide in the 21st-century marketplace.

Because frankly, they are where they are because of the limitations in their thinking or the limitations in their actions.  And if I buy into their limitations, that is if I accept them as true, then really I'm not doing a service to them at all.

The other mind set is that you are responsible for every single result that you are getting with your prospects.

An asymptotic nature of learning and improvement.  And the concept basically is that two objects in theory can forever get closer and closer together out into infinity - and you can plot this on a graph - because you can always divide the space between them in half.

The reason I stress that is because it does two things.  First of all it doesn't have you ever think that you're done.  There is something that you can improve always, always, always, always.

Last time on Evolutionary Sales we discussed referrals and referral systems.  So there are several things that I want to do in this particular episode.  One is I want to talk about, take a step back and talk about the process of learning in general, again for the purposes of you getting the most from these episodes as possible, the most from this show as possible, really in service of your fully integrating the learning.

The other thing is we are going to talk about the importance of testimonials and what marketers call ‘social proof’.  So we will talk about a little bit about that.

I also want to assist you in integrating consciously some of those things we have covered in the entire process so far.  But before we get into the meat of the show today, I was speaking to a colleague of mine and they were talking about how the market, because of the mortgage market currently subprime lending, which some of you may be aware of what's happening and some of you may not be.

But there was what I'll call a major adjustment in the subprime lending market that rocked most of the markets and of course it is late August 2007 as I say this.  And I'm sure the markets will recover.  Bearing that in mind, my colleague had a prospect that was a mortgage broker.  And they ended up not finding for fear of where they were going to be at financially as a result of the market.

Now I know, coming from service and contribution, coming from a commitment to my purpose through the work that I do for people and a commitment to serving their outcomes that it is my duty to leverage them beyond their limitations, because frankly they are where they are because of the limitations in their thinking, the limitations in their actions.  And if I buy into their limitations, that is if I accept them as true, then really I am not of service to them at all.

So the prospect ended up walking away without him signing this prospect.  The funny thing is that I had signed a mortgage broker with these same concerns the day before.  Now they are different people with, you know potentially different financial situations obviously.  And yet I just didn't buy it and in fact the reframe I used was, “Well, given what has happened in the market and in your particular industry specifically, can you really afford not to do this?”

And of course the person signed.  So what organizing principle, and this is the thing I want you to take away from that, that little anecdote there, what organizing principle would have you constantly looking for the solution so that your prospect can ultimately get what they want?

And there are a few things wrapped up in there.  So I want to unpack that.  First of all, the mindset is for me that I do not accept their limitations.  Their limitations got them where they are.  Second, I feel it is my duty to assist them in overcoming their limitations.  Some of them - I even tell them that.  I say, “You know, really, I mean you have wanted this stuff for a long time and it's my duty to leverage you beyond your limitations.  How heavily would you like me to influence you right now?”

And I will actually get permission to use whatever degree of influence they want me to.  And the trick is they know.  And even having a frank conversation like that, obviously you need a background of really solid rapport to do that, really solid nonverbal rapport.  It's just a fun game to play.  It's a fun game to play.

And the other mindset is that you are responsible for every single result that you are getting with your prospects.  The market is not responsible.  The economy is not responsible.  Their inability to find a way or see the value is not responsible.  You are responsible.  That's a powerful place to stand. 

And again, as I said before there is some comfort in it and there is tremendous power, tremendous power and constant, never-ending improvement, which is of course what you are committed to.  That's why you are listening to these podcasts and I'm grateful to be contributing to that constant and never-ending improvement on your end.

I'll add one more thing there and that is this - and I'm going to use a mathematical term here - an asymptotic nature of learning and improvement.  And the concept basically is that two objects in theory can forever get closer and closer together out into infinity - and you can plot this on a graph - because you can always divide the space between them in half.

Now is that true in reality?  Well, not really.  And it's a useful way of thinking about it.  Again, it's not are you doing something or not.  It's to what degree.  It's not are you taking responsibility or not.  It's to what degree.  It's are you fully in your power in terms of influencing somebody.  It's to what degree.  It's not have you integrated these distinctions behaviorally.  It's to what degree.

There isn't an on/off, a digital or binary experience around these distinctions.  It's really to what degree.  It's not that you do it perfectly.  It's to what degree did you behaviorally demonstrate the integration of all of these distinctions.

The reason I stress that is because it does two things.  First of all it doesn't have you ever think that you're done.  There is something that you can improve always, always, always, always.  But additionally it allows you to give yourself compassion.  You are missing the point and you are engaged in a game of pseudo-self-esteem if you beat yourself up or pump yourself up because you’re doing something poorly or you're doing something well.

Get out of the personal domain and get into the practical domain.  Get away from the domain of personal meaning and get into the domain of practical results.

Let's talk a little bit now about learning in general.  When I say learning, I mean a specific thing because there are some of you that give me some feedback that, “Gosh, you review a lot on these podcasts” or “How come you repeated that again and again?” or something of that nature.

One person said, “You know, it takes me a long time to get to the actual new content, the new meat.”  And those are all concerns that I can appreciate.  And actually I want to address them for you thoroughly now so you can really understand.  And I believe I have preached on this in the past.  Maybe I have not but I think it bears repeating anyway.

There is an article on my blog at evolutionaryawareness.com/blog that covers this.  It's called Insight and Integration and I wrote it some time ago, perhaps over a year ago.  And it covers the difference between insight or knowledge and integration, or behavioral demonstration or, frankly learning.

You haven't learned something until you are responding from there emotionally and in situations where there are unexpected curveballs being thrown at you or whatever metaphor you prefer.  Where the responses aren't canned.  Where you are there with a prospect, your client and they say something and you suddenly respond resourcefully with one of those reframes that's when you have ‘learned’ it.  In other words once it has gone from your conscious mind, where you are considering it, acknowledging its value, seeing the truth in it, whatever you prefer, however you'd like to describe it to your actual response behaviorally, your natural response it's almost like dancing or martial arts. 

Or, you know learning any new physical movement there is a time where it feels a little clumsy at first.  But there is also a time further down the road and ever increasingly where you are responding naturally.  Somebody does a particular move in a dance and you respond to it naturally in the same way because you are familiar with it. 

You are engaged in martial arts and somebody moves in a particular way and you respond to it naturally perhaps without even thinking, perhaps faster than you can think.  Perhaps you can stop and go, “Wow, that was pretty good.  I can't even believe I responded so effectively.”

So the purpose for a lot of the repetition that I do is to assist you in integrating unconsciously so it is even easier for you to respond from there.  Additionally I will say that after over 15 years of listening to audio products around success or learning or distinctions in markets or sales or neurolinguistic programming or what have you - I listen to audio products all the time - and you hear things differently because you are different.  You are at a deeper or higher-level of development than you were before.

Or maybe you just zoned out for 30 seconds and you missed a really important concept completely.  And in this particular case, maybe I say it in different way, a way that actually really lands well in the fertile soil of your mind.  Perhaps it lands better than I said it before, perhaps even in a way that you hear it or understand it in a way that you didn't before.  And you become surprised, “Oh gosh, that's what he meant.”  Or, “Wow, you know I hadn't heard that before.” or something of that nature.

So know that while I will be doing it slightly differently, that the purpose of that is to assist you in actually integrating and behaving from there.  We are exposed to so much knowledge nowadays.  We have got access with the Internet for gosh, any metropolitan public Library or audio books or audio products, information products.  So much knowledge.  So much wisdom.  So much brilliance.  So it's genius.  And culminations and summaries of tremendous amount of knowledge and boom successful pathways to whatever our outcomes are, whatever our interests are.

But from my own experience, I would caution you from thinking that because you have heard something and you understand something, that you know it and that you have learned it.  Beware of that ego structure, that pre-rational ego that rears up or be careful of invalidating something that you have heard that sounds similar and resting on your laurels thinking that you have actually learned it and that you actually know it.  OK.

So, next I'll talk about testimonials.  Testimonials.  Testimonials are critical for your business and here's why.  Testimonials access something called social proof that the marketers and advertisers are well aware of.  And I'll give you an example.

I'm sure you have heard that four out of five dentists recommend - or something of that nature you know.  Certain online sites, social communities, social networks, they might say, you know so many tens of thousands of people online right now.  This is all social proof.

An interesting example is if you take a street corner, a common, urban street corner in downtown somewhere and you have one person looking at the sky randomly, you know about one in four people will also look up as they pass by.  You increase the number to eight people looking up and the odds go to 100% that the person walking by will also look up.  What are those people looking at?

And people want to know.  People want to know what they can expect from you.  And the best way for them to know what they can expect from you, is not necessarily their sense of you, although that is very important, and not necessarily the depth of rapport you have with them although that is also critical, but where they look is what experience other people have had, other people have had.

So there are a few ways I gather testimonials.  First of all whenever I work with a client, when we are complete I have them fill out an exit survey for the purposes of my own professional evolution.  I want some feedback.  And I don't care what business you're in, I would strongly urge you to get some sort of feedback sheet. 

Mine is three pages.  Some of it is, you know rating from one to five or from one to 10.  Some of it is open ended.  But at the end of it, I ask for a testimonial.  One of the questions is would you be willing to offer a testimonial for the evolutionaryawareness.com website?  Most people say yes.  Some people need to think about it.  Some people just get overwhelmed by the writing process and I say, “You know, well tell me what your experience is and I will write it up for you and you can approve it” or something like that.  That takes away the burden on them having to do it themselves.

But of course you want to make sure that you get their approval.  The other way to do it is maybe someone will send me an email and they will acknowledge something that I did or praise something that I did or some transformation that they experienced or meant a radical shift in the results they were getting.  They send me an email and let me know and I say, “Great.  Can I use it as a testimonial?  And I might, you know - I'll edit it a little bit, clean it up a little bit.”  And send it to them for approval.

Testimonials.  Testimonials.  Testimonials.  If you go to my website evolutionaryawareness.com, one of the things I have there is a dynamic script.  All you have to do is stay on one page and just keep hitting refresh in your web browser and you will see a new testimonial come up.  And because it's random and nonlinear, unfortunately you may see the same one three times or four times before you see a new one.  But that's technology.  Our love and love relationship with technology.

But what I will say is those are incredibly important and I have had prospects who say, “You know, what have other people said?  Have you got any references?”  And I say, “Well here.  Here is my website.”  And I will hand them my laptop and tell them to hit refresh and they can just see what those testimonials are about, what people have said, what people’s experience of me is professionally.

I'll also say in terms of search engine optimization, which we probably won't get into in this series of podcasts, but if you're looking at it and you are in business for yourself then you are really going to want to learn about search engine optimization or SEO, in the vernacular of the tech industry.

And I have had - I can't tell you how many people I have had come onto my website as a result of a Google search for somebody's name who gave me a testimonial.  Or maybe the company they are with, who gave me a testimonial.

So there are plenty of uses for testimonials and more importantly, you get to gather feedback and you get to see the way people are experiencing you.  Once again, your most valuable asset is clear, unvarnished honest feedback from your clients and prospects.  And one of your most valuable marketing tools is their testimonial.

If you have any questions about this show, please be sure to get them answered by e-mailing me at [email protected].  For transcript of the show or any other show on the Personal Life Media Network, please visit personallifemedia.com.

I'm Jason McClain, your host and your guide in the 21st-century marketplace.  Thank you for allowing me to contribute to you.

Find more great shows, like this, on www.PersonalLifeMedia.com