For any sales professional interested in selling more to more people in less time, testimonials are an absolutely vital part of the formula for success. Here are 5 ways to collect the right testimonials for your business.
Keep your ears open wide When you’re talking to your customers on the phone, does anyone ever share with you a little story about how they were able to make great use your product or service? Check your email. Has anyone ever sent you a note just to say “thanks for the great work” on that last job you did for them? Or have you ever received glowing feedback from a client who responded to a survey that you sent out? Each of those is a testimonial, just waiting for you to act on it. And that takes me to my next point…
Ask and you shall receive Remember our friend W. Clement Stone? He once famously said: “If there is something to gain and nothing to lose by asking, by all means ask!” When a client says great things about you, about your work or the products you sell, give them the opportunity to turn that praise into a testimonial. Simply ask: “I’d really love it if I could include what you just said in my client testimonials. Would that be okay?” People generally like to be helpful to other people, but they’ll never get that opportunity to give you that all-powerful testimonial if you don’t ask first.
Newer customers are passionate Get on the phone and call your newest customers. No matter which industry you serve, the most passionate praise you’ll find for your work and the service you sell tends to come from customers with whom you have only recently started doing business. Andy Sernovitz, the author of “Word of Mouth Marketing: How Smart Companies Get People Talking” explains why: they are the ones who are most excited about having found you. Your repeat customers, on the other hand, are already accustomed to the great service you provide. But that group can offer another important perspective, too.
Repeat customers are wise and insightful Your repeat customers provide people (and that includes you!) with important insight about what makes your product or service worth coming back to—again and again. So make a point of calling up those that you have been doing business with for a long time and ask them why it is that they call on you. The answers you get will often include a great sentence or two that can be added to your testimonial collection. Again, all you have to do is ask.
Make it easy for people One of the most common comments you’ll hear from clients when asking for testimonials is “Well I’m really not much of a writer, so it’s hard for me to put it in words.” The real power of testimonials comes from the fact that they’re not polished…they’re authentic and from the heart. A marketing professional I know quite well recently shared with me his secret about how he addresses this issue in his business. “I borrowed an idea from John Caples—one of the great copywriters of the 20th century. When asking a client for a testimonial, he’d simply say ‘Finish this sentence in 25 words or less: I really like (product/service/person) because…’ This really works because it gets right to the point about the feelings people have for you, for what you do and for what you’re selling.”
Do unto others Write testimonials for others with whom you do business and whose services have impressed you. It’s a good thing to do. It also helps to deepen those all-important reciprocal relationships. Plus testimonials you write about other sends an important message to everyone about the high standards you have not only as a supplier but as a buyer, too. Social networking site, LinkedIn is a handy tool for doing this. Not only does it encourage reciprocity, it also helps you become part of a trusted network of professionals.
Dedictaed to increase your sales,