What Makes People Buy: Evidence

You want to sell a car? Say something about the awesomeness of the 350 small block engine under the hood and then open the hood to show the Evidence that the engine is in fact 350 small block.

Same principals apply to almost anything in our lives.

You want your buyers to buy from you, sell them the facts based on the Evidence.

Proving the car has a 350 small block should be easy especially if its true and especially if the buyer knows what they’re looking at.

But what about less tangible Evidence?

What about the Evidence that’s not as obvious? Better yet…

WHAT is Evidence?

Any factual statement, object or opinion not created by the source that is used by that source as support. (Reinhard, 1988)

Now THAT is an interesting (and often applied) definition of Evidence that deserves a closer look.

  • “Any factual statement.”  – As in, NOT a statement of fact, but a statement that was in fact made. Notice the subtle difference?
  • “Object or opinion.” – If the first part left any doubt that almost anything can be used as Evidence the “object or opinion” knocked it out of the park.   An opinion made by someone else constitutes Evidence? Read that again so I don’t have to type it.

This is why many companies seek testimonials. Testimonials ARE a form of Evidence and therefore currency for that company.

The last part of the Evidence definition simply tells me that I can’t be the one to say it, but as long as I can quote someone else to support my product, theory, or service, I’m all good.

If this often used definition of Evidence was a Baseball game, even the kid in the wheelchair would get to play.

Dino Dogan

Global Force for Badassery | Founder of Triberr | Refugee from Bosnia | Writer for Technorati | Speaker | Lousy Martial Artist | Pretty good singer/songwriter | Hi :-)

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  • http://www.itinerantentrepreneur.com/journal/ Robert Dempsey

    And hence why testimonials are the most powerful form of proof. People are hesitant to believe companies, and I don’t blame them (or myself) for being this way. Testimonials from people that actually use the product/service make the sale. If you have them use them.

  • http://twitter.com/GuideGoodsBlog Edwin

    Good points Dino, evidence makes the product more believable.

  • Anonymous

    That’s why gear companies from USA send me stuff. They ask for reviews but they’re hoping for testimonials. :-)

    That’s why GoPro camera has the Gizmodo testimonial on their website:”This is the best sports cam I’ve ever used.”
    Gizmodo

  • http://elevationlife.com Bryan Thompson

    Dino, right on man. Testimonials are huge! I think having that kind of proof that something works will put success where it wouldn’t be otherwise. And by the way, we can always tell when someone has been “paid” to say something and when it’s legitimate!

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  • http://www.slymarketing.com Jens P. Berget

    Interesting, and of course, I am agreeing with you, but I am also seeing a problem. The problem with evidence is that when it comes to Internet marketing especially, everybody is using it.

    I see stuff like this every single day $283,191 per month by legally hacking “the system” and How I earned $4.45 per click or How to get 100 subscribers per day. They are all backing it up with evidence that it works and testimonials. It has become a marketing trick, and people seems to be helping their friends out with providing them with evidence and testimonials.

    The most important part of the evidence is trust. That’s what it all boils down to. Do you trust the product or the author.

  • http://www.realityburst.com Eugene

    Haha. Great Timmy reference. What would this definition of evidence be if it was a murder investigation?

    • http://diyblogger.net/about Dino Dogan

      TIMM-AY!!! :-)

      I think the evidence definition still holds. Expert opinions are just that. Opinions. Evidence is a tenuous concept at best..remember OJ trial?

      • http://www.realityburst.com Eugene

        If the glove don’t fit, you must acquit

  • http://twitter.com/janetcallaway Janet Callaway

    Dino, aloha. Evidence aside, Dino, people are going to believe what they choose to believe. More truth than fiction in the statement: “my mind’s made up; don’t confuse me with facts.”

    People look for Evidence to support what they already believe and/or what they want to do. Rarely, does Evidence to the contrary get people to change what they want to believe/do. Aloha. Janet

    • http://diyblogger.net/about Dino Dogan

      You are so right. The only thing I would add is that it makes a difference depending on whether a buyer has formed an opinion already or not. And you are absolutely right, the “evidence” (in whatever form it takes) serves to quiet down the rational brain so that the emotional brain can get its way.

      • http://twitter.com/janetcallaway Janet Callaway

        Yes, Dino, you are so right. The emotional brain almost always wins because it is so much stronger than logic. Let’s face it, logic isn’t exciting whereas emotions are. Emotions can make us think we are using logic when we are being driven purely by emotion.

  • http://www.thisfurniture.com/ thisfurniture

    Hi I love this article and it is so informational and I am gonna save it. One thing to say the Indepth analysis you have done is greatly remarkable

    • http://diyblogger.net/about Dino Dogan

      thnx…glad you enjoyed it :-)

  • http://www.webguide4u.com Vivek Parmar

    Its hard to sell everything as most of them only promote the things and only few of them will buy it.

    • http://diyblogger.net/about Dino Dogan

      The problem is as old as people. But we aint gonna give up, right? :-)

  • Anonymous

    I’m not convinced that people buy so much by evidence, as they are persuaded by an emotional response. When people read testimonials I don’t think they see evidence, I think they see people they can relate to who have their needs met by the product or service.

    And if they can picture themselves as the people giving testimonials, then you got yourself a buyer.

    • http://diyblogger.net/about Dino Dogan

      Those are all classic buying triggers indeed. Evidence is usually used to pacify the rational brain so the emotional brain can do its thing exactly how you described it.

  • Anonymous

    I’m not convinced that people buy so much by evidence, as they are persuaded by an emotional response. When people read testimonials I don’t think they see evidence, I think they see people they can relate to who have their needs met by the product or service.

    And if they can picture themselves as the people giving testimonials, then you got yourself a buyer.

  • http://twitter.com/StartYourNovel Start Your Novel

    Testimonials as evidence are what sociologists refer to as “social proof.”

    They are, in fact, evidence of something: That the person/brand/company was good enough, savvy enough to motivate a few human beings to express their opinion on a commodity or service.

    We value the opinions of people who we perceive as our peers. We value them especially when they seem to have tried something we’re interested in.
    Testimonials provide evidence of the intangible — an experience. You either take their word for it, or you don’t.

    Let’s not forget that evidence, as a concept, is tied to authenticity. We avoid pseudo-evidence, as a rule, and gravitate towards those things that feel “real” to us.
    Case in point: a book on Amazon that gets nothing but five-star reviews is highly suspicious. One that gets a couple of fives, several fours, the odd 3, has probably been reviewed by people with a genuine interest in the book, rather than the publisher’s sock puppets.

    • http://diyblogger.net/about Dino Dogan

      Coolest phrase I’ve heard all day :-) Sock Puppets lol #classic

      • http://twitter.com/StartYourNovel Start Your Novel

        Speaking of, wherever you have some kind of forum — as you do on Amazon — you will have people posing as somebody else and using multiple accounts to try and sway opinions in one way or another.
        Sony did it, probably still does it to promote their movies. They got found out once, which doesn’t mean they’ve stopped. All major companies dealing in entertainment employ “professional impersonators.” I’m pretty sure of that. Goes to show how important social proof is.

        Incidentally, I knew this Canadian lady on Flickr who had like 4 or 5 separate accounts on the site… and “they” all wrote each other testimonials and commented on each other’s photos. Basically, she was trying to generate social proof all by herself.
        As Evilbunnies66 said on Twitter, the benefit of multiple personality disorder is that you can be your own pen-pal and fan club. Well, I have no doubt that she was.

        • http://diyblogger.net/about Dino Dogan

          Very interesting that you brought that up now…Im working on something that will authentically, ethically, genuinely AND automatically create social proof for people with close nit group of social media friends.

          So I have a question for you…how many close social media friends do you have? People who read you blog and you read theirs? People who tweet yours stuff and you return in kind and so on?

          • http://twitter.com/StartYourNovel Start Your Novel

            Your idea for providing genuine, automatic social proof sounds very interesting. Maybe some sort of recommendation engine?

            Anyway, to answer your question. I have two separate answers. (I know how that sounds, please bear with me a moment.)

            Answer #1. I launched the Start Your Novel blog last January. It’s still gaining traction and it has a long way to go. I knew it would be like this and I’m willing to put in the hours to grow my audience and connect with more and more people. So far, I’ve motivated a very small group of bloggers -you could count them on the fingers of one hand- to comment on my posts, but they happen to be people whose blogs are worth visiting. Low-profile ones, yes, but they raise concerns that interest me, and that’s what really matters. Finally, I am blogging because it’s FUN and I care about what I’m doing.
            Another issue is, my blog consists mostly in story prompts. It’s probably not very easy to think of something to say about a story prompt.

            Answer #2. I’ve been on Flickr a while longer as redtieguy, and though I’ve amassed a bit of a following, there’s a hard core of maybe 10 people who comment on my work regularly, whose work I also happen to follow. Flickr, by the way, is populated by people with a 3-second attention span. Amazingly enough, that’s how much time the average individual is willing to spend looking at a photo.

            There are way too many people who may appreciate your work but are too passive to actually say something. The Pareto Principle at work, I guess.

  • http://www.plantingdollars.com Ryan @ Planting Dollars

    I think Janet brought up a really good point. Evidence is often proof of what we want to see which reconfirms what we’re already thinking. Perhaps in order to sell we just need to tell people what they want to hear and already believe to be true?

    • http://www.codrutturcanu.com Codrut Turcanu

      in order to sell? yeah… or in other words: find what people want, and deliver to them. I’d say that your results is the best proof out there, even better than testimonials, unless they emphasize your results.

      say you’re a SEO expert, and you claim to get 1st page rankings for 3-word keywords. but you haven’t done it for others, nor for yourself. no testimonial in the world raving about you and your skills would do wonder, better than showing how you got ranked in Google, right? :)

      • http://diyblogger.net/about Dino Dogan

        I agree with both points of course. The point I wanted to get across is for what passes for evidence.

        @Ryan, if you have people who have already made up their mind to buy (or love, trust, hate…) they need a tenuous modicum of evidence to be “convinced”.

        @Codrut Of course you’re right and completely wrong at the same time. While I agree with your point, its more along the lines of what should be. Unfortunately, confidence alone will pass for competence and win over results any day. Sad but true.

        • http://www.codrutturcanu.com Codrut Turcanu

          “confidence alone will pass for competence and win over results” –what do you mean, could you give an example? maybe my brain’s too lazy now to think your affirmation… posting too many comments lately. :)

          • http://diyblogger.net/about Dino Dogan

            What is the No 1 asset to a Matchstick Man? Confidence. Thats how the con is done.

            Unfortunately, the corporate world makes a great example of this. How many cock-sure executives have walked into board rooms and swindled people out of money (investors, share holders, whatever) because they looked competent, when in fact, they were simply confident.

            Its a dangerous trick our mind plays on us which those in the know can exploit. So be on the lookout.

          • http://www.codrutturcanu.com Codrut Turcanu

            yes, I agree, I guess my point was that your results is social proof and that cannot be beaten my con artists confidence… with no results!

  • http://www.plantingdollars.com Ryan @ Planting Dollars

    I think Janet brought up a really good point. Evidence is often proof of what we want to see which reconfirms what we’re already thinking. Perhaps in order to sell we just need to tell people what they want to hear and already believe to be true?