What is social proof?

In a consulting context, what does it mean when we say “social proof” or testimonial”?

Social proof

Third-party confirmations of your work, expertise, trustworthiness, etc. used to help build trust with members of your target market. Based on the principle that we look to the behaviour/opinions of others to determine what is the correct thing to think or do.

Traditional examples of social proof include testimonials, reviews, case studies, and client lists. Social proof can also include other forms where a third party is attesting to your authority on a topic (e.g. guest posts, podcast interviews, and other third-party media coverage that showcases you as an expert).

Testimonial

A form of social proof. Positive words directly attributed to a client (former or current) that speaks to their experience of buying from you and acts as a recommendation for your products or services. A testimonial’s job is to address a new potential client’s objections and reduce the perceived risk of engaging you. Elements of an effective testimonial include:

• Addressing the hesitation or concern the client had before buying from you
• Specific results the client saw as a result of buying from you
• How your product or service helped them achieve those results
• Benefits that your client saw from your product or service
• Why the client prefers your solution to other options
• Why the client would recommend you to others


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