- Why does a long line of people outside a restaurant make the dining establishment so much more appealing?
- Why do teenagers flock to buy the newest pair of kicks when their favorite celebrity is spotted wearing them?
- Why do most toothpaste brands claim that 9 out of 10 dentists prefer their brand?
Answer: Social proof
Social proof, also called informational social influence or herd mentality, drives consumers to make decisions based on other people’s actions to avoid FOMO (fear of missing out). That is, when individuals don’t know how to act or what to do in certain situations, they emulate others. So, when customers seek out HVAC companies, they aren’t looking for companies with the flashiest logo or the newest vehicles. They’re looking to see which company their neighbors are using. They’re using social proof to decide.
As a concept originated in 1984 by psychologist Robert Cialdini, social proof improves consumer trust, which can result in more sales. For HVAC business owners and decision-makers, understanding social proof is vital to company longevity. Companies that skillfully use their websites, social media and crowd-sourced review sites can come out ahead.
Cialdini identified five forms of social proof:
- Expert approval
Credible experts give credence to positive reviews about a product. Consider all those experts (dentists) who approve of the leading toothpaste brands.
- Celebrity endorsements
From the earliest days of advertising, celebrities have been hawking products, and consumers have been buying in. Today those celebrities are more than who we see on the big and little screens. They’re social influencers, musicians, athletes and others.
- User reviews
User success stories can drive more traffic to a business than a well-placed print ad. Websites like Yelp and YouTube have been great platforms for user reviews.
- Crowd wisdom
Indeed, all those people standing in line to get into that new restaurant can’t be wrong, can they? People are more likely to follow the crowd when they’re unsure rather than making an independent decision.
- Wisdom of friends
If you can’t trust your friends, then who can you trust? People will look to friends when they need recommendations or ratings for goods and services.
With all of this in mind, HVAC company owners should use various means to showcase their social proof and attract new customers, including:
- Highlighting customer testimonials
Testimonials provide solid social proof because they are (usually) unbiased and objective. Ask loyal customers to write reviews on Yelp, Facebook, Nextdoor or the company’s website. If the review is less than stellar, talk to the customer privately to rectify the situation.
- Showcasing clients
Use the company website to display client logos to establish credibility. For an added kick, include a testimonial from a company representative.
- Emphasizing awards and digital badges
HVAC companies that receive online awards or digital badges should proudly display them on their website. These credentials tell customers your company has expertise and skill in the field.
- Encouraging referrals
Referral marketing depends on trust and friendship and is considered the best way to drive sales. Happy customers want to share their good experiences, whether through word of mouth or social media. Boost positive referrals by doing a good job and asking customers to share their experiences.
Like it or not, social media is here to stay. For HVAC companies using the EverRest method, establishing social proof is crucial to building a customer base. User reviews, crowd wisdom and wisdom of friends, in particular, can propel an HVAC company’s business. Of course, once in a home, it’s up to the technician and supervisor to carry out Lead Generation Tasks and inspect for Secondary and Mandatory Lead conditions.
Remember, the EverRest method only works if technicians are in homes. Establishing social proof is a first step to opening those front doors.