The Credibility Factor
When you have worked hard and have done a fabulous job for a client and they voice their appreciation; do you just blush and say thanks, or do you turn that feedback into a valuable tool to gain more business.
Word-of-mouth is deemed the most cost-effective form of advertising. Yet seldom is it measured and often we just leave this wonderful marketing tool in the hands of our clients to spread the word. The great thing about word of mouth is that is taps into social proof, which encompasses the need to belong and be part of a group. People like people, like themselves. So when looking for an answer to a problem they are more likely to listen to people who are in a similar position to themselves.
Therefore, what we need are ways of capturing word-of-mouth, to bring it under our control and to direct that social proof to the correct markets.
Too often we are caught up in the features of our products and services and delivering those. We can too easily forget that the customer is the one we need. Moreover, they want benefits. Testimonials not only can tap into peoples’ needs they can also over come the objections that you would find much more difficult to articulate convincingly. It becomes easier for them to buy if they can see that it is relevant to them and the product or service has already bought by ‘someone like them’.
So make it a priority to ask for testimonials from your delighted clients and you won’t regret it. Most people want to help and so if you ask for it they will almost always say yes. Nevertheless, you do need to make it easy for them. Ask them to describe the situation before they used your products/services and then ask them to describe the situation now; the benefits that they experienced and how they now feel because of this.
If you want to give clients an incentive to give you testimonials, you can offer them something of value in return for their time and effort.
The Bad Testimonial
“They were great” – Satisfied in Salisbury
A Good Testimonial
“Caroline at Humphries Kirk helped me with quite a complex contract negotiation. Throughout many months, she kept me up to date at every stage, advised of costs, was very professional and extremely thorough. I would have no hesitation in recommending Caroline and Humphries Kirk, I was glad she was on my side.”
“My fear of public speaking simply dissolved after seeing Steve. I believe anyone’s would”
This is another good testimonial; it shows a benefit relating to a person who had problems and they ‘dissolved’ away. This is appealing to ‘anyone’ who experiences that fear.
But these testimonial could be from anyone and we are not sure whether they relate to ‘me’. If we add a name, a job title and other factors like age, location and website address for example. They would make a significant impact on their perception.
Building to the GREAT Testimonial
Getting testimonials need not be a long-winded process. One of the most effective is an evaluation form, or customer satisfaction survey. Part of the feedback should be directed towards getting that brilliant testimonial. A great exercise is to list all the benefits you provide so that you can generate a testimonial for every one.
What is it that makes you and your company so special? Don’t be afraid to ask for praise; people welcome guidance on any form.
Ask them to explain how they feel. People buy on emotion and justify with fact! And remember to ask permission to use the quotes.
Follow up on everyone and thank him or her if you have used his or her testimonial. Clarify if they have gained any further benefit since the original sale. Get testimonials for every market you work in and within each market every benefit.
Use them anywhere you can expect to a prospect to take action:
- Live audio on your site
- Business Cards
- Telephone message
- Cover letters
The Formula – Your testimonials should say to your prospects.
I am like you.
I had a problem like you and wanted to achieve the same benefits that you do.
Like you, I was concerned about what I should do, wondering if anyone could really help.
Well, now I know. The (product or service) provided (the benefit). Just like, it will do for you.
The reason testimonials are so powerful is because they come from someone, other than you, who has used your products/services and knows how useful they are. You no longer need to sell the benefits; instead, you are just sharing what others have said. Testimonials cost you nothing yet instill a priceless trust in your expertise.
With thanks to Steve Graham for the inspiration for this article.