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Launch: How to Quickly Propel Your Business Beyond the Competition by Michael A. Stelzner

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Using Social Proof

Giving gifts is merely one way to engage your base. Another powerful motivator is the concept of social proof.

When you were a kid, did you ever get swindled? “I'll trade you this big penny for that little dime. . . .” When I went to a fair a few years back with my family, I saw something that surprised me.

A group of people were in a frenzy standing by a big wall of computer monitors, where some were taking surveys using touch-screen displays. As part of the surveys, they were inputting their household income, age, phone number, and interest in buying certain types of products.

Why were at least 20 people always in line in front of these machines? Because by completing the digital survey, they received a free pass to come back to the fair over the next 25 days.

My mom was one of the people in line. Afterward I asked her, “Why did you give them all of that personal information?”

She said, “You know, I probably shouldn't have. But I saw everyone else doing it, and I got some tickets. But I'll most likely never use them.”

By the way, each ticket was worth $9 and worked only with valid photo identification!

When people are not sure about something, they often look to the behaviors and actions of others. Thus, social proof is the process of validating an action by looking to the actions taken by others. Some people have referred to this concept as the “herd mentality.”

The premise is that people make snap judgments regarding whether they should stop and do something ...

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