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How to get people to desire your offer





We want our audience to desire our product/service, our idea or us. As all our desires are borrowed from other people we need to display how much others want what we are offering. You will see celebrities being used to promote brands and in the business world the equivalent is endorsement by other brands.

One of the most challenging scenarios is when you have a brand new business and you have no traction, no users, no customers, no viewers and no social proof. Starting a new business means you nearly always have this challenge. You can achieve social proof by giving products and services away for free, to build-up a history of users for your product or service, which can then be used to evidence desire, social proof. Other ways of establishing social proof may be through recommendations, reviews and awards. Often people build their own personal credibility through their association with existing famous brands, for example working with large and well regarded organisations or studying at prestigious universities.

Without question social proof is something I see as mandatory for a pitch.

A great example I like to use is nightclubs. Ever wondered why there are so often large queues outside them? Ever queued for hours, got in only to find they are half empty inside? The nightclub is using its queue to generate interest and demonstrate social proof. If you have ever wanted to enter a nightclub here are three ways social proof may have affected your decision:


  • Quantity: You see lots of people in the queue.
  • Type: You see people that are similar to you in the queue.
  • Frequency: You see people queuing often, not just one evening.

“People are persuaded more by actions of others than proof we can offer and even stronger when you can identify with that person.”

An Evolutionary Theory of Economic Change, Richard Nelson & Sidney Winter

There was a saying in the 1980s ‘no one ever got fired for buying IBM’. The marketing message targeted IT buyers who were motivated not by the interests of their company but their self-interest in keeping their job, buying IBM was a safe choice.

All our desires come from others

I use social proof in my pitches by showing who else had bought from me, I will put up lots of logos from similar customers and say how far back our relationships go. I will also use it to build my personal brand, mentioning with whom I have collaborated, where I have worked etc. “Social proof is a type of conformity. When a person is in a situation where they are unsure of the correct way to behave, they will often look to others for cues concerning the correct behaviour.”



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