What Account Executives Can Learn From Reservoir Dogs: The Art and Science of Social Proof

Analysis performed by Raphael Cohen (PhD), Karen Assaraf, and Micha Breakstone (PhD)

In Tarantino's classic “Reservoir Dogs”, undercover cop “Mr. Orange” is required to memorize a cover story about his supposed encounters with law enforcement to come across as a real player. Social proof is a fundamental technique for Persuasion, something we see all the time with our customers. For example, when Matt Millen joined Outreach.io as SVP Revenue Ops, telling effective customer stories was one of his top focus areas.

We used our self-learning Artificial Intelligence engine to analyze tens of thousands of Account Executive calls over 25 minutes long to discover how top AEs use social proof in their selling, and the impact it has.

What the data says:

  1. Social proof is used in the early stages of the sales cycle to educate prospects and appears in a quarter of early stage calls. Social proof only appears in 3% of late stage calls.
  2. Top performers tell customer stories 25% more often than low performers.
  3. When Top performers tell stories, they include concrete details more than twice as often as low performers (~70% of the time vs. ~30% of the time).

How does our AI identify Social Proof:

Chorus.ai automatically records, transcribes and summarizes sales conversations using AI so you can get full visibility into your pipeline, deals and sales calls without joining meetings or asking hundreds of questions. For this Social Proof analysis, we trained a machine learning classifier to detect different forms of storytelling in the transcribed text.

Top Performers use Social Proof more often and include concrete details

1 - percent with stories.png

Consider the following examples from low performing reps that don’t include any concrete details of the customer name, or industry vertical:

  • I have this one particular client of mine that I work with who's gone through a very similar timeline as yourself and ran into those same struggles.”

  • “One of my biggest customer bases is out of Texas and so that's not in that same exact area but you know I mean I I have a lot of customers in Texas".

Compare that to the following transcript from a top performer:

  • Bank [redacted] is a great example of one of our customers who specialize in the [redacted] industry and has been seeing double figure digit growth using our platform...”

How to close more business using Social Proof

Storytelling and Social Proof is a critical sales skill, and understanding your business’s customer stories and being able to share them in detail is critical to winning deals.

  1. Build a baseline: Use recorded calls to listen to how often, and how your team is currently sharing customer stories. Ask your Chorus CSM to activate the Social Proof tracker within Chorus.

  2. Create detailed assets: Work with the relevant AEs and CSMs to create assets with the right level of detail. Understand the business, where it’s located, their challenges, and who was involved. Include names and photos to bring them to life. If possible, include specific quotes in the customer’s own words.

  3. Organize customer stories by vertical and geography: Social proof works best when you can use a story that will resonate with the prospect.

  4. Listen to the best storytellers sharing their stories: Use recorded calls to hear experienced sales reps tell their stories in their own words. Try to pick up on the details that bring the story to life. Some of our customers do this as a team.

  5. Be prepared: Ahead of a meeting, think about 2-3 customer stories you could share based on what you know about a prospect. Or better yet, invite another rep or CSM to share that first person account with a prospect.

“The thing you got to remember are the details, the details make the story”

That Reservoir Dogs scene is still awesome 25 years later (NSFW).

Click here to learn how Chorus.ai can provide this same level of insight for your team.


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