Which of the following 2 scenarios is more powerful?
1) You meet someone at a networking event, and introduce yourself and what you do.
2) You meet someone at a networking event, and while you’re talking, an unexpected 3rd person joins the conversation if only to say how much they appreciate yourself and what you do.
That’s the power of vouching.
Quick case study
I recently attended a local Internet conference. After one of the sessions, I struck up a conversation with one of the speakers after the auditorium had emptied. I liked what he had to say, and was surprised to learn that he was also from my hometown of Montreal. As we were chatting, another attendee came into the auditorium, immediately noticing us near the door. The other attendee came over and immediately told my conversation partner how much he liked my website JobMob. I in turn introduced him to the speaker also.
The speaker was clearly impressed.
Why the vouching worked so well
Our conversation took place at an Internet conference, and the attendee (the “vouch-er”) was recommending what I’m doing online.
While it’s debatable whether an opinion can really be true or false, if it can be confirmed by reliable sources, it’s probably true.
The attendee’s vouching was really what he thought, and and not the result of some preconceived incentive or marketing plan.
I hadn’t beckoned to the attendee, who clearly came over of his own volition because he felt compelled to voice his opinion.
The speaker had already met the attendee earlier at the event, so the attendee was a (somewhat) known entity whose credibility could be trusted. The fact that I – the “vouchee” – was present and actually knew the attendee also gave him credibility. Being present also gave me an opportunity to reinforce the recommendation.
The vouchee – obvious, this is the person on the receiving end of a recommendation.
The voucher – people simply appreciate people who honestly vouch for others in an unsollicited way, as if they might turn around around and vouch for them too at some point. This builds the brand of the voucher as someone worth knowing.
The listener i.e. receiver of the vouching – they’ve just met not one, but two people seemingly worth knowing.
Who have you vouched for recently?