When I was 18 and left the trailer park for college, I took we me the 4 years of experience I had working as a waitress and in fast food. I was practically an expert at scrubbing pots and pans, mopping floors, pulling fat off of raw chicken and changing out the grease in the deep fryers. Being on my own to pay for school, I wasn’t sure how that type of work was going to cut it, and I didn’t love the work anyway, so when I stumbled across a sales job, it was the universe opening up a whole new world to me.
Though I had never been in sales before, I took the position and worked that direct sales job around my college classes. Not only did it pay for my college, including all personal bills, without taking any loans, it is what began my path of personal and professional development.
I graduated college and opened up my own business where I recruited and trained sales people – most of whom had never sold anything before. I did that for six years and was recruited to work in the region office of a sales and marketing company, coaching their top sales reps and training their new sales managers. So I spent nearly 20 years of my life in sales in some way. The business my husband and I own today is sales focused.
As a sales rep, my closing ratio was consistently above 75%. So out of every 10 prospects I presented to, 7-8 were placing orders. The funny thing is... though I know how to handle objections and drop down, those were never parts I enjoyed, so my philosophy has always been – get them to want it so much, you don’t have to handle many no’s.
So do a great job of making a connection with them, building trust and credibility in you and your offer, having a good product or service, good customer service, giving them value, understanding their needs, providing solutions. You get them to like you and your offer, and they are more likely to just say yes!
The concept I’m going to cover here is in addition to all of those other things you do to make sales. If you aren’t doing those things, it won’t matter if you are doing the concept I’m going to share This is icing on the cake to take your sales ratio even higher. It isn’t a stand-alone fix.
It’s not about how to manipulate people into doing something they normally wouldn’t. Instead, it’s about taking someone who is on the fence (wondering… should they buy or shouldn’t they) and helping them make the decision. The great thing about this concept is at its base, it’s really all about making your prospect feel more comfortable making the decision to take your offer. If they feel good about it and you get the sale, it’s a Win-Win.
So the question I want you to ask yourself is… how would it affect my business if more of the people I talk to buy my offer?
The topic today is the Bandwagon Principle,
(Sometimes referred to as the Consensus Principle... The word consensus has Latin roots meaning to “feel together”; it’s modern definition is more about a group coming to a decision that they can all agree on even if it isn’t the individual group members’ first choice. So really, the consensus principle isn’t a totally accurate title for this concept, but it still gets called that sometimes. FYI)
Really the concept is about getting your prospects on the bandwagon.
If you think about where your prospects come from, mentally, it’s easier to understand why this technique is helpful. Many times, they are coming to you mostly not planning on spending money, right? You start them off with a free program or a free consultation. So up to the point where you ask them for money, they probably haven’t spent any yet, or have spent very little. It’s likely that many have never paid for products or services of your kind before, so paying you for your service will be a new thing to wrap their brains around. When you take someone who isn’t planning on spending money, but now they like you and want what you offer, and that shift may have occurred quickly – like after one call or after a few short videos – it makes sense they may be on the fence, not sure if they should dive in.
In the 1800’s a politician named Dan Rice would literally ride in a bandwagon during parades in order to gain attention for his political appearances. As his success rose, other politicians wanted a seat on his bandwagon, hoping to be associated with his success. That is where the phrase comes from of ‘getting on the bandwagon’.
Studies show that the probability of someone adopting a conduct or belief increases as the proportion of people who adopt it increases. Meaning, the more people doing it, the more likely people will do it. This is how fads and trends happen.
So to use this to your and your prospects benefit, you implement tactics to show them that other people are doing it. When people know that others have done it and are doing it, they are more likely to do it too. It makes them feel more comfortable to do what others are doing or have done.
If you've ever been unsure of what to wear to an event and you look at photos of past events or reach out to someone else attending to get an idea of what they will wear, you've used this concept. If hearing of others' success stories helps you feel more comfortable going after the same thing they succeeded in, you're using this concept. It's the same as when we read product reviews to get other people's opinions. It makes us more comfortable to make our own decision.
Here are 4 tactics you can use to implement this idea.
· Testimonials. Have people who have used your p/s before write a testimonial and make sure you have them somewhere your prospects can see them. They don’t have to have paying clients; they could be people you’ve helped for free and they got results.
· Happy customer list. Everyone who bought from me, when I was in sales, went on a list. All it had was their name and city. It can be as simple as their first name and their state or whatever you want to do while keeping their info private. At a certain point in my presentation, we’d come across this list and I had it on one side and testimonials on the other. People would often comment, “Wow, that many people have bought from you?” It builds their confidence to know you have many happy customers. The number of clients (10, 100, 1000) isn't as important as just having social proof that people use your services.
· Real life examples. It’s so much more powerful to use real examples than analogies. How do these sound different to you? “A mom who has put every effort into making her family happy sometimes forgets to take care of herself.” Vs “I have a client named Sarah. When Sarah came to me she felt good about how much she had helped her kids and her husband. She had a happy family. But there was something missing. She hadn’t taken the time to take care of herself. After we worked on some things, not only is she happier and healthier, but where she thought doing so would take away from her family, she found it actually added to their quality of experience also.” Use names and real examples! They are easier to relate to and they show others are doing it.
· My favorite technique of the bandwagon principle is in the way you phrase your answers. When a prospect asks a question or gives a concern about buying, whenever possible, your answer should begin with something that puts the thought of others doing it in their minds. Something like, “many of my clients” or “most of my clients”…
o Example: (listen to the difference) When a prospect says, "I'm not sure if I should spend the money." A1 – “That’s a valid concern, Joe. What you may find is the value you’ll get will outweigh the expense to such a degree that you get to a point in which you can’t imaging having not taking this step.”
o VS… A2 - “That’s a valid concern, Joe. In fact, many of my clients had that same concern initially. What they found was the value of what they received outweighed the expense to such a degree that they now tell me they couldn’t image having not taken that step.” Then you follow it with another question.
o You should use this technique but use it in total honesty. When I was a direct sales rep with a 75%+ closing ratio, I often would say, “Most people decide to place an order” or similar things because it was true. Do you know your ratios? If some aren’t great, think about ratios you could use that are great. Repeat buyers? Sales after a certain step in your program. And if you can’t honestly say most, than use words like many or others. The point is you put the idea of other people using your services in their minds so it’s not this vacuum of just you and them, which makes them feel the pressure of making the right decision with no extra guidance. Knowing others do it gives them that little bit of extra guidance.
o If you’ve ever heard of the Feel, Felt, Found method of handling concerns, it is directly related to this. "I can totally understand how you feel. In fact many others have felt the same way. What they found was… they were so happy they did it."
o It's very nonchalant; not obvious. You aren't throwing it in their faces that people buy, you are just casually mentioning others use your product or service. You can always use statements like “I’m so grateful to have the opportunity to help so many people”. “My most prized possessions are the notes of thanks many of my clients have sent, because it makes me feel great to impact people positively.”
So that’s it: The more social proof you can provide (through testimonials, a happy client list, real life examples, and the way you phrase things) to show prospects that others are doing it, the more likely your prospects will do it as well.
- Amiee Mueller