The Proof is in the Laughter

Mortgage and Lending with Washington Mutual

You know those silly, annoying, insulting recordings of laughter that are played during TV sitcoms? You hate them, don't you? Well, guess what...they work! Research shows that audiences laugh longer and more often to shows with canned laughter than to those without it, even though audience members find the laughter annoying.

How is that possible? It's a concept called social proof. And if you understand it, you can use it to your advantage.

The concept is pretty simple. When people find themselves in unfamiliar situations where they don't know what to do, they look to others around them for guidance. In the case of the canned laughter, your subconscious thinks, "Well, if other people think it's funny, it must be!" And so you laugh. Another great way to sum up social proof is: "When in Rome, do as the Romans do."

So how do you use social proof to get more sales? Incorporate quotes, testimonials, and compelling stories into your marketing materials.

When a person is about to buy or sell a house, that person is in a state of uncertainty. By using social proof, you establish your clients as the experts that have "been there and done that," and are now lighting the way for others to follow. Your client's quotes, testimonials, and stories act as the laugh track to your message, encouraging your prospects to laugh along too.


Quotes are short and sweet, and should be kept that way. Some examples are:

  • "We were nervous to buy our first home, but Ms. Agent was so patient and helpful. Thanks to all the info she provided us, we were able to make all the right decisions for our family. It was such a great experience for us!"
    Jane Doe, Boston, MA

  • "I've been investing in real estate for many years, and I've worked with many agents. Through working with Mr. Agent, I found several great investment properties with above average cap rates. I look forward to buying four more properties with Mr. Agent's help this year."
    John Smith, Phoenix, AZ

Use quotes in email signatures, web page sidebars, scrolling text, and other marketing materials as highlights.


Testimonials are similar to quotes, but are longer and more detailed. They are written in the first person from the client's point of view, as are quotes. Go here to see how to get a testimonial that will "wow" your next prospect.

Display your testimonials on a dedicated page on your website, in your e-zines, and anywhere space will permit.

Compelling Stories

Have you ever read an interesting article in a magazine, only to discover it was an ad? You didn't see the word "advertisement" printed in small letters at the bottom of the page, did you? Chances are, you were half way through the article before you realized it was an ad. And you probably finished reading since it was so interesting.

You have just experienced a compelling story, and using them will help you sell yourself and your services better than anything else. They are written like newspaper articles, where your client is the subject of the story and you are the hero.

Use compelling stories wherever you can: mailings, web pages, e-zines, etc. They are powerful and effective!

Make Them Laugh

The next time you watch a sitcom on TV, think about the canned laughter and the principle of social proof. By employing the use of quotes, testimonials, and compelling stories, you can entice your clients to laugh all the way to your bank!

I'd love to speak with you about how we can create compelling stories together. Give me a call today so we can mutually explore this unique sales strategy.

Comments (3)

Allen C. Wright
RealtyU - Aliso Viejo, CA

Interesting point ... we are always trying to get testimonials from clients ... the big the better ... I have found that our ads with quotes get more attention than those without ... now I know why

Nov 13, 2007 05:27 AM
Mary Ann Daniell Realtor
Coldwell Banker United, Realtors - Subsidiary of NRT LLC - Killeen, TX
Delivering Successful Results Since 1999

Thanks for reminding us that the personal touch, the unique story, told by a client is far more powerful than all the pontificating we can do about ourselves.

Nov 13, 2007 05:40 AM
Shannon Stites
Keller Williams Realty - Seven Lakes, NC
Great observation.  I believe it. 
Nov 13, 2007 05:49 AM