Are testimonials a great way to help you get people to believe in your business or program or, are they just so much fluff? Are they worth the bother?
I get asked that question all the time. And every time I am asked, I say the same thing: maybe.
If you have low-quality products, terrible customer service, irregular hours and fly-by-night dependability, testimonials are probably not a good choice. If you are anyone else, however, you should be collecting testimonials and making them work for you.
John Patterson, known to many as the father of professional selling, once said that advertising brings awareness but testimonial advertising brings customers. In his Little Red Book of Selling, Jeffrey Gitomer called testimonials “the single most powerful method of making a sale.” Nothing has more credibility than a third-party endorsement.
So, how do you get them? First, you have to earn them. Work hard to provide the value your customers, members or stakeholders are expecting. Then, simply ask for them to write something nice, something from the heart. If people are happy, they will be pleased to do it.
Next question: As long as they are saying something nice, is there such a thing as a bad testimonial? Well, maybe not bad, but they can be underwhelming, even boring. “I’ve bought this company’s products several times. They provide good service and are very dependable.”.
Yawn. . .
Instead, when a customer says he’d be happy to provide you with a testimonial, ask if he could talk about a specific benefit you delivered: “The reaction at the office to the product I bought from you was phenomenal. I looked like a real hero!” “Your program delivered. I have more energy than ever and I’m finding it easy to stay on track!”
Even better, ask them what they liked about your services and then offer to write it for them. They get to sign off on it, of course. This way, there is almost no work for them to do—it’s almost impossible to say no to the request.
Then, once you have them, use them. Everywhere. They should be in your proposals, on your website, in your marketing collateral—anywhere other potential clients might see them. After all, they may be among your best salespeople. Allow them to get to work.