Influence is probably the best business/sales/marketing book I've ever read, and Cialdini is a psychologist. These 6 "weapons" will set a strong psychological foundation for your marketing efforts and will make the potential client comfortable with signing up with you by eliminating their uncertainty and persuading their subconscious to act in a certain way (the way you want them to act). You want to break down their wall by allaying their fears and objections to where they feel completely comfortable with paying for your services.
1. Reciprocation - As I discussed here, I am huge on reciprocation. I believe it builds a friendly trust that is absolutely necessary in any business relationship or transaction. This could be in the form of buying your potential client's product or service, offering them something free of charge (SEO, website, copywriting), sending them a new customer, doing them a simple favor, offering them free advice, etc. The human psyche dictates that they will feel the need to 'return the favor' which works to your advantage. Reciprocation also takes you from being a stranger selling something to a friend.
2. Commitment and Consistency - Stay committed to meeting the client's goals and getting them more customers, and be consistent by keeping promises, honoring agreements, backing up claims and statements, etc. If you say you're going to follow up with them, do it. A year later, you want them thinking you are still helping them as much as you were when they started paying you. I suppose this is rather obvious but I've seen that people tend to get lazy and throw consistency out the window when they take things for granted once they've acquired the client. If you don't keep your word, why should anyone trust you? Without trust, they won't feel comfortable buying from you. Reinforce the prospect's consistency by doing and saying things that align with their expectations in their mind, making them feel comfortable with their agreement or purchase. Assure them that the decision they're making is indeed a good one to allay fears and second guessing.
3. Social Proof - As I've also said before, referrals are probably the most powerful marketing tool out there. A direct referral from a friend provides significant social proof from a 3rd party that you can do what you claim. Testimonials are similar in that they are evidence that you can indeed provide a valuable service that benefits the potential client who may be skeptical about what you're selling. If you can show a portfolio of websites you've built or ranked, or sales copy you've written, do it. All these things allay the potential client's fears, apprehensions, and delusions. Without some form of evidence or proof, the potential client will subconsciously feel like they are taking a risk. We want to mitigate that perceived risk.
4. Liking - Often overlooked, the likeability factor is important in any relationship or transaction. The potential client doesn't have to agree with your values or subscribe to your moral code, but they have to "like" you at least on a very basic level. No one wants to do business with a snobby mean person, so put a smile on and just be friendly. This also fits in with reciprocation in that doing them a favor will subconsciously cause them to like you and see you more as a friend rather than a salesman. If you spilled coffee on your shirt that morning, don't let it get you in a bad mood right before meeting with a client. Clear your head of any angry thoughts and be a generally nice person. This seems like common sense I know, but really think about it the next time you walk into a meeting.
5. Authority - I consider authority to be "expert status." Note that this does not mean you have to actually be an expert, you just have to appear to be. Those are 2 completely different things. As I've said before, people will perceive you to be an expert simply because you know a little more than they do on a particular subject. Chances are you will know much more about internet marketing services than the potential client, so you're already good there. Establish yourself as a seeming authority in your market and you will become the go-to guy for the sorts of things you offer. Be the expert, but don't get so technical that you talk down to them. You don't want the client to feel inferior. Remember, be their friend, just make it evident that you know what you're talking about and that they need your assistance. I believe authority comes with experience, so this one will automatically be taken care of over time in most cases.
6. Scarcity - Scarcity generates demand. It doesn't even have to be real. Perceived scarcity works the same way - the human mind cannot tell the difference between reality and imagination. Making your product or service exclusive in some way makes the potential client want to grab onto it sooner rather than later. Exclusivity also allows you to charge more. A perfect example here is doing SEO for lawyers. Every lawyer I've dealt with has their specific targeted area of law (DUI, personal injury, criminal defense, etc.) and obviously doesn't want you to offer the same services to their direct competition. I tell them that's fine but it's going to cost them much more for a non-compete agreement. They usually understand that anyway, and are happy to pay for it.
If you consciously use any of these in your business, please post an example.
To your success,
John T. Williamson