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What Is Social Proof?
Let's say you want to find a dentist. There are a number of routines you can take to do this. You could ask your friends and family or perhaps find one on the Internet. When you find a potential dentist they are most likely to say in their promotional pages how good they are. Come on they are hardly going to say how bad they are and the mistakes they have made in the past. In some ways the fact that every dentist makes out that they are fantastic is almost worth nothing to your potential patients.
So how can you get people to believe you are fantastic? Simple. Get other people to tell your potential patients how fantastic you are. Demonstrating how many of your current patients are already using your practice and satisfied with your services is way more powerful than you telling potential patients yourself – and this is called social proof.
Two commonly known examples of social proof are comments on a webpage – when people write what they think about an article, page or service, and secondly testimonials.
Testimonials done in the right way is possibly some of the most powerful and easy marketing you could do – when it comes to convicting people to commit to your practice.
Why You Can not Get Testimonials
Bill Glazer (marketing guru) says rightly that there are only two legitimate reasons why people can not get testimonials.
- People struggle because they do not deserve them. They are not delivering enough value to their patients – and perceived value to their patients. Which means that people will not refer and recommend them to people they know. So if you are not delivering enough value focus on how to do this first before trying to get testimonials.
- The second reason people can not get testimonials is because they do not know "when" and "how" to ask.
The 3-Step Process To Testimonial Success
Step 1. Determine when the right time to ask? This may be straight after a procedure that a patient has had or perhaps on a return visit. You need to test and find out when the best time to ask is and measure how many you get.
Let's say it is when a patient thanks you for the service you have provided for this example.
Step 2. Determine how to respond when they thank you. Something like "I'm really pleased you are happy and wondered if you could do me a favor?" – then wait for a response.
Step 3. "Could you just take a couple of minutes to write down what it is that you are pleased about your experience in this practice – I would love to hear your comments and pass them onto other patients".
Give them a testimonial form – pre-structured – so that they can simply put their appreciation comments down just at the point when they are most happy with your service.
This might not be the right 'when' and 'where' moment for you but you need to work that out for yourself. It certainly is not when you have a drill in your patient's mouth or when they have just walked through the door. You have to make sure you have built a good relationship with the patients and delivered a high quality service.
Using The Right Kind Of Sweetener
Now I would be foolish to suggest to any dentists to offer sweeties or chocolates to their patients – it would go against all that you stand for. What I'm talking about are incentives for people to give you testimonials.
If for example you sent a message to all your recent patients and requested a testimonial, although many would probably be happy to give you one they would just never get round to doing it. They probably even had the intention to but life just got in the way – it happens to us all in this age of incredibly busy lives.
The way around this is to give them incentives. Give them an extra boost to help them get that testimonial back to you. It might be a voucher to spend at your practice, a holiday or some cash. All of these should be tested and tried out for their effectiveness.
See how incentives can boost your testimonial gathering process.
Social proof is something that will boost your practice and get you new patients. But like everything there is an effective way of getting them. Test some things out and see how your patients respond. I bet you will be surprised.