A customer’s positive report about your services is marketing gold. Here’s how to mine it.
Which are you more likely to believe: a company representative telling you how great their product or service is, or a recommendation from another person about how it worked for them? If you’re like most people, the words from another industry consumer pull a lot of weight when making a hiring decision. That’s why no matter what product or service you’re selling, you need to use testimonials from satisfied customers in every ad and marketing piece you create.
One of the main reasons why a company doesn’t hire a particular support services contractor is that they’re fearful of making the wrong decision. So when they see a service endorsed by another energy or resources company – fear is minimized. Therefore, testimonials are a great way of influencing others to feel comfortable about calling you for stellar contracting services.
Unfortunately, few business professionals actively seek customer and client testimonials. They mistakenly wait for people to give them testimonials, and when they do get them, they don’t know how to use them
effectively. In reality, getting and using a list of strong testimonials is easier than you think. The following tips will help you land testimonials to increase your profits.
Choose satisfied customers.
The best testimonials are written by people who are similar to your ideal customer. Therefore, be specific about who you solicit a testimonial from. Look over your customer files and choose the people who exemplify the best case scenario for your product or service. Say to them, “I’d love for you to share your experience with my service. Would you please write a short testimonial?” Most people will cheerfully say yes. Since you want more happy customers just like these, let their words sell for you.
Offer to write the testimonial.
Often, if someone declines your request to write a testimonial, it’s because they’re too busy or feel they don’t have adequate writing skills. In that case, offer to write the testimonial for them. Simply say, “I’ll be glad to write the testimonial for you. Just tell me what you’d like to say about the product. You can review what I write and we can use it as is or you can change it.” Most people will leave the testimonial as is.
Review notes and correspondence.
Chances are you’re sitting on a pile of testimonials and don’t even know it. Go back through your past emails and correspondence from customers and clients. Are there a few nice sentences in some of those messages? If so, ask the person if you can use their words in your marketing materials. They’ll often agree.
Whether you write the testimonial or your customer does, it needs to specifically show what results the person experienced from the product or service. A testimonial that simply says what a wonderful company you have or how nice you are is not saying anything meaningful for the reader. A specific testimonial will speak to results, for example: “Dick Smith’s Trucking Company helped me make an important deadline.” “Jones and Johnson CPA Firm reduced my tax liability by 30 percent.” The more specific a testimonial is, the stronger it sells for you. Specific testimonials help people feel safe about the purchase.
Keep it short.
Each word of the testimonial should have value. If someone writes you a page-long testimonial, edit out any words that don’t directly address the end result he or she received from your service or product. This doesn’t mean you change the meaning of what someone writes; you simply edit out the parts that don’t contribute to the message. For example, if someone writes a page about everything your company did to help them save 30 percent on their heating and cooling bills, you can condense it to one sentence, as in, “As a result of ABC Company’s inspection of our home, we saved 30 percent on our utility bill.” Often, the more words you take out, the stronger the testimonial becomes.
Include a name and title when possible.
Rather than attribute your testimonial to “John S., Nebraska,” use the person’s real name, company name, title, and/or location whenever possible, as in “John Sanders, salesperson at Acme Company.” This makes your testimonial more believable. Many customers will be happy to include their full name and other information, because the strongest human desire is to feel appreciated and recognized.
Include a testimonial in marketing.
Whether you’re doing a print, online, radio, or TV ad, be sure to include some testimonials. Other marketing pieces that should feature your testimonials include your website, brochures, direct mail pieces, postcards, newsletters, and even social media updates.
Keep a file.
Each time you receive a kind letter from a customer or client, highlight the key parts (the parts that state benefits to the customer), put the letter in a clear plastic sleeve, and compile it in a big binder. Keep this book or binder of testimonials in your store or office for customers to browse through while they’re waiting. Or, if your business is online, create a page where you feature all your testimonials. There’s no limit to how many testimonials you can include in your book or on your page. If you get a lot of foot traffic at your business, frame and display some of the best testimonials.
THE ULTIMATE SALES TOOL
The next time you’re writing copy for an ad or marketing piece, go to your testimonials. It’s always better when someone else sings your praises, so let your customer sell for you. The sooner you start using testimonials in every marketing message you create, the sooner you’ll realize that testimonials really are the ultimate sales tool.