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How to Get the Top Names to Endorse You

How to Get the Top Names to Endorse You

April 26, 2008

Create a crowd so everyone has to stop and look at your offer

It's tough to pass by a crowd without looking to see what's they're so interested in, isn't it? It's a natural reaction to stop and look.

As humans we're affected by those around us. We see it too when we see another person yawn. It influences us in a very controlling way. So much so, that 63% of the people will tend to yawn when seeing another person yawn.

We're even more influenced by those closest to us. We tend to imitate our family, friends and those we admire.

When around people of high moral standards, we're more likely to behave more ethically. When around people who invest their money, we tend to do the same as well.

Perhaps it's the crowd mentality. Research done on a street corner in Manhattan demonstrated that when one person stood and pointed up to the sky, he was berated by passersby, according to Robert Cialdini, author of Harnessing the Science of Persuasion. Car drivers honked and shouted, 'Get out of the way, you idiot!' When three people stood and pointed, they achieved a certain validity, whereby no one would yell at them. In fact, five more would stand there with them and start looking. After reaching a critical mass of five to ten people, the group experiment was large enough to cause a traffic jam. Because so many more people stopped to look up, the group nearly created gridlock in Manhattan.

How to create a crowd

You can also create a crowd around your sales and marketing. How? One of the best ways is to have someone who your prospects respect and admire test your product and recommend it; you'll achieve tremendous leverage. I call it the 'power of endorsers.'

You often see an endorser on television or radio, recommending a car, shampoo, deodorant or a politician. These are powerful marketing techniques that can be done on a smaller scale in the form of testimonials. A large bank of testimonials will create a virtual crowd that will make your prospects stop and look to see what everyone else is so excited about. Although it takes time to build your testimonial bank, subscribe to the principle that you can never have too many testimonials.

When creating your testimonial bank, try to find as many different types of testimonials that your 'hungry fish' audience will relate to. Find some 'small fish,' find some 'big fish,' and find some who are analytical or who want just specifics on pricing. Find others who relate to the emotion of your offer. When your 'hungry fish' prospects look at your bank of testimonials they can point to one and say, 'Oh, that's just like me.'

I once had someone call me and say, 'I didn't know that your Lumpy Mail was for us. But when I saw that Dr. Schamroth used your services, I realized that he is a doctor just like me. Then I felt comfortable trying out your program.'

Get as many testimonials as you can. There's no such thing as too many testimonials. For a great example go to www.lumpymail.com.

Here's what you need to know:

The goal is to identify the top 10% of endorsers in the market who others tend to follow. There are four categories of endorsers in every market.

1. Self-Proclaimed Endorsers. These are people who will tell you that others already look to them for advice and recommendations. To find them among your customers, send some of your best customers a survey or postcard mailing asking them for referrals among their contacts (click here for a sample). But you have to give them a reason to fill it out. Simply asking them to help you often works. Or, offer them a
discount on their next purchase in exchange for their help. Nielsen ratings service sends a $1 bill along with its TV survey hoping that the guilt of accepting the $1 bill will encourage response.

2. Professional Schmoozers. Analyze the job titles of your targeted hungry fish and customers as an indicator of whether or not they are an endorser fish. Job titles that suggest they're heavily involved in your category will indicate whether they will be able to spread word-of-mouth marketing and influence their peers.

To find the Endorser Fish - the top 10% of the most influential prospects in your market ' recruit from these four groups:

Self proclaimed endorsers. These are the folks who will tell you in surveys or questionnaires that others come to them looking for advice.

Professional schmoozers. Using word-of-mouth, these folks have a powerful influence over their peers.

Bloggers. Some have very loyal online followers that can affect your sales.

Narks. These are folks in your association or in your customer base, who can tell you who the leaders and influencers are in your market.

In a legendary story of how 3M marketed the Post-it Note, they identified the secretaries of the top CEOs as their endorser fish. They gave away their newest product (which wasn't catching on at the time) to this group to attempt to win product loyalty and increase public visibility of their newest invention. This small group of secretaries had enormous impact because of who they worked for. And lo and behold! The Post'it Note caught on. Although this approach is not as scientific as the self-proclamation approach, it's quick, cheap, and easy to identify these sorts of professional schmoozers.

3. Bloggers. Scour the web for people already writing to the audience you are trying to reach. Look for blogs, websites, discussion boards, news groups and web forums that are relevant to your particular business or industry. Send your products or information and ask the writers to kick the tires and comment/critique it. You'll get valuable feedback and they'll help create a buzz around your product or service.

There are even search engines just for blogs, where you can search by name, topic, market, etc. Here are a few I recommend to help get you started:


4. Narks. Narking has a very negative connotation. However, in our context, narks are very helpful and positive. Ask a limited number of people who are knowledgeable in your industry to tell you whom they recommend as endorser fish. Go to your current customers, industry associations, prospective customers, or the journalists that cover your market, and ask them who the leaders and the influencers are in your market. This strategy is best suited to finding endorser fish in smaller markets or in certain organizations.

Hasbro used this strategy to identify young endorser fish to spread the word about their handheld electronic game called the POX. How did they do it? They went to video arcades and skateboard parks and playgrounds where there were boys 8 to 13 years old and asked, 'Who is the coolest kid you know?'

When they got a name from a nark, their research team went in search of the cool kid and would ask him the same question and they continued all the way up the hierarchy until they found the coolest kid ' until someone answered, 'Me!' (Humility didn't seem to pay in this study!)

Once they had found the key endorser fish, the research team invited him to participate in a free trial. They would be rewarded with 10 new pre-released POX game units that they could give to friends. The word spread from the top down.