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Get it in Writing – Testimonials

I have spent this weekend clearing out oodles of paper that I have stored over the years.  The recycling men are not going to be impressed with the extra work from me this week!!

Hidden away amongst training notes and other erroneous documents that I have saved over the years, I found several testimonials about my own work.  These are ones that I have not asked for but had been given willingly by the sender.

I had forgotten that I kept them but having read them, realised why.  I couldn’t believe that it was really me they were talking about?

It is well known that the power of a testimonial can have an equal effect on one’s client base – and yet if you are anything like me, you fail to use these wonderful testaments to your worth. Is it a British thing?

Of course a testimonial can be as damaging as useful, if it is considered to be part of a sales ploy.

“Satisfied in Cambridge” is unlikely to win over any hearts and minds.  However, if the writer of your testimonial is related in some way to your target reader then it lends considerable creditability.

So when using testimonials to support your sales pitch, do ensure you have permission to use the authors name, their position, their company (if B2B) and their geographical location.  To add further kudos you might consider adding a link to their website.  If there is a reciprocal link – better still.

If a customer thanks you verbally for the work you have done for them – as part of the acceptance process; ask them what specifically was so good.  If they can qualify their praise, ask them, whether they would be prepared to endorse their own recommendation for your promotional purposes, if you put it in writing?

I know, I know – it’s easier said then done but then, if someone has gone to the trouble of thanking you for good work done, it is likely they actually want you to do well.  Not to mention it is quite rude not to accept a compliment.

One of the best I have ever read was one that was part of Tony Robbins sales team in an envelope.  This newspaper cutting covered what is obviously one of Robbins’ biggest objections for attending his sell out seminars – the walking on hot coals thingy.  The author spoke of his scepticism for the need to walk on hot coals, especially when he was asked to sign a disclaimer for any injury he may incur.  Nevertheless he did the hot coal walk and lived to tell the exuberant tale with healthy feet to boot.

I have heard that a volume of short testimonials is important.  I disagree!  A few that tell an important story will work better than many with general compliments.


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  1. I have been really useless at using testimonials in writing from people, even when I have got them. I understand the ‘British’ thing….being self-effecing and modest, but that’s not me. I am not modest!

    The problem seemed to be that having completed something and having been (periodically) brilliant, I am often knackered. I don’t then prioritise the accumulation and utilisation of testimonials and time moves on and I just forget.

    Someone asked me a few years ago how I was going to get business and I remember saying that I was going to just turn up, be brilliant and hope that people talked about me to their friends. It works a bit, but actually nowhere near enough. Sometimes I am not brilliant, but the real problem is I don’t give the whole testimonial thing sufficient attention.

    For a while I used an evaluation form which people had to sign to say If they were happy for me to use their comments. I do have quite a few of these but have not got round to utilising them. I think I should start using the form again. I have even taken photgraphs of events and then not put them on my website. This kind of fits with my comment on the Desktop Coach’s latest blog to the effect that I have decided only to do things when I really want to.

    Now I really want to do this…I will keep you posted.

    Thank you for reminding me.


  2. Testimonials are VERY powerful. I’ve always known it, but just haven’t got around to using them to their best effect.
    I’ve recently started putting them onto my web site, and have followed all of your advise…..they are specific, with the authors name and position, they have links back to their web sites, and I have their permission.

    I was wondering…..what with all your linked in contacts, and all those glowing testimonials you have…..didn’t you need to consider having a personal web site?


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