It’s Saturday night, and you’re away for the weekend. You’re in a new, unfamiliar city, and you’re damn hungry! You don’t want to waste time wandering the streets or taking a chance on a bad meal that’ll ruin your evening. So what do you do? Have a quick trawl on Google and see where has the best reviews. Then you use that info to make an informed decision with way less risk involved. Those reviews that got you to the Italian joint you’re sitting in are social proof in action.

Social proof is an incredibly powerful marketing tool. By showcasing popularity and positive results, it gives new and potential customers confidence in the product or service that they’re about to buy into.

As an OBM, social proof is a VERY important part of marketing your services. Why? Because when making a decision about whether or not to work with you, your potential clients need social proof in the form of testimonials as validation of your services. They have no choice but to rely on the word of others as your decision-making guide.

Testimonials display peoples actual experiences of working with you vs. what you say you can do. Leveraging them is your way of showing people what you’re made of and proving you’re the real deal!

Strategies for scoring social proof.

When you’re first starting out, it’s easy to resign yourself to the assumption that you have no social proof to show yet. But don’t be so hasty! There are TONS of ways you can leverage your past experiences in order to sell your services.

I’ve put together my top 3 strategies for scoring social proof when you’re first getting started as an OBM, so you can leverage it to land clients like a BOSS. Let’s get into it!

1. Leverage your old networks

As a new OBM, it’s no secret that you haven’t yet got a huge roster of former clients from whom you can request testimonials. However, you don’t NEED to have worked with fifty OBM clients already in order to gain social proof. You can turn to your existing networks – like your old contacts from your previous jobs, or even friends who can vouch for your skills.

Perhaps in your last corporate role, you gained experience managing a team of people. You might have helped form a marketing strategy. Maybe you were a key part of the hiring process, and you understand how to identify the RIGHT hires for a new role. All of this is extremely valuable and valid experience for when it comes to being an OBM! You could request from your former boss a testimonial to vouch for any one of those skills.

There might be other people in your closer circles who can vouch for your talents. Did you help your bestie build her website? Did you help your other friend implement tools that helped her automate her emails? There’s ZERO shame in leveraging these achievements for testies too!

2. Be proactive!

There’s only one way to get a bunch of glowing testimonials – and that’s to ASK for them. Don’t be shy now!

If you’ve only worked with one or two OBM clients, don’t be afraid to ask them for a short testimonial. They won’t come to you – it’s your job to approach THEM. Remember that you’re a Confident OBM and you’ve got this!

If a client gives you praise over email for doing a great job, be assertive and a little cheeky and write them back “Thanks for the feedback! Do you mind if I quote that for a testimonial?”. Nine times out of ten they’ll be happy for you to do so!

You can also work this into your client offboarding. When you’re wrapping things up, send a simple email letting them know how much of a pleasure it was to work together. Then you can politely ask if they’d reply to your email with a few positive sentences that you can use as a testie. However you get them, just make sure that you always let them know where you’re going to use this (e.g. your website) and check with them that it’s ok to use their full name and picture. Permission and professionalism is key!!

3. Check your existing sources

If you find yourself in a position where you’ve hit a wall and can’t score any social proof, it’s acceptable to go through your existing sources and try to pull some positive comments from them. However, it’s important to make sure you ALWAYS do this in an authentic way.

When I say ‘existing sources’, I mean emails from former clients, Whatsapp messages, praise from your last annual appraisal in corporate – all that good stuff! You can also comb through your social media profiles like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram for any reviews or positive comments that you might have missed previously.

If you don’t have anything solid, it’s ok to beef things up a little from time to time. However, this should be your last resort, and you need to be extremely careful how you execute this so that you’re not being untruthful. Here’s an example of how you could beef up a potential email testie:

Original Email: “Amazing job – SO much easier/smoother to navigate the website now. Seeing an improvement on traffic to the sales page already too. Thanks!”

Testimonial: “Sarah did an amazing job at overhauling my website when we needed to improve our usability. She implemented the right tech tools needed to make life easier, and now, our user experience feels SO much more smooth and drives more traffic to our sales page. Thank you Sarah!”

All I did there was add in some relevant context of how it relates to the task I was asked to do. Get it?

Landing Clients as a New OBM

Social proof can work wonders when it comes to landing new clients. Try out a combination of these tactics and see what works best for you! When you’re just getting started in the online space, asking new clients for this can be pretty daunting. It’s all about being confident, and bagging that all-important social proof to ensure your continued success.