Testimonials are the most powerful marketing you can have. Instead of telling your potential customers what you do and how good you are, testimonials provide social proof from your previous customers that you are as good as, or better than your word.
Business owners who understand the value of testimonials are often looking for the best way to go about collecting them. The strategy you’ll most often hear suggested is to ‘ask for them.’
This is certainly a strategy that can be effective on a one-on-one basis but it requires a lot of effort. When personally asked by a business owner to provide a testimonial, satisfied clients are often happy to do so, even enthusiastic about providing one to let other potential clients know why they should buy from this great business instead of another. However, the approach of ‘asking for the testimonial’ usually requires some sort of personal connection with each client and the time available to be able to do this.
What’s infinitely more effective is to implement a system that ensures every single client is consistently asked for a testimonial at the right time and in the right way. A system with processes, procedures, and scripting designed to have your employees say and do the right thing at the right time to get testimonials from every single client is one that guarantees that your clients hand you their testimonials automatically. With a system, the task of getting testimonials isn’t just easy, it’s something you no longer have to even think about.
Imagine having your clients automatically hand you a testimonial when their purchase has been taken care of. A system for collecting testimonials automatically can be implemented in almost any business. Here are just a few examples.
Instead of chasing your clients for a testimonial, repeatedly following up with them to get their feedback so that you can give your marketing a boost, a system which orchestrates your clients handing them to you automatically will completely eliminate the chore of getting them. You can put all your energy into all the creative ways you can use those testimonials in your marketing with all the free time you’ll have as a result of your system.
When you think about the other systems you have in your business, such as a marketing system, a sales system and perhaps even a system for how the office building is checked each night before the doors are locked, it makes sense to develop and implement a system for collecting testimonials. Your systems for sales and marketing take away the guesswork so that your employees can focus on following the system to promote your business and turn prospective clients into paying clients. It’s no different with testimonials. A system takes away the guesswork and the heavy lifting so that anyone in your business can achieve your goal of collecting testimonials from your satisfied and delighted clients. Processes, procedures and and scripting make it simple for them to follow so that you as the business owner can invest your time and efforts in running your business. The system means that anyone can do it and no-one is indispensable. It no longer has to be you who has to ask your clients for testimonials. Your team can follow your system and make it happen for you.
Asking clients for testimonials one at a time poses other challenges. When you put someone on the spot to say something positive about your business what they’ll often say is that you’re a “nice person” and that they would “do business with you again.” That’s because they really don’t know what to say and that’s the first thing that usually comes to mind. Having testimonials like that for your business are better than having no testimonials at all, but not by much.
Some business owners like to write the testimonials themselves and then ask their clients to sign them and send them back on a letterhead. That’s one way to get what you want but again it’s very time consuming.
By implementing a system that choreographs your clients handing you their testimonials automatically, you can also provide them with a framework that makes it easy for them to give you something that is much more powerful marketing for you business. Framing the client’s testimonial by asking a series of questions makes their responses much more specific. Using cleverly loaded questions, that already assume the client’s answer, will give you testimonials that are consistent with your other marketing activities.
A business with a strong Unique Selling Proposition (USP), designed to attract ideal clients, can ask questions based around that USP. The business can then predict with certainty what their testimonials will say and be confident that they will reinforce their existing marketing message.
For example, a law firm that promotes itself as having ‘staff that are approachable and easy to talk to’ can ask its clients:
“How did our team make themselves approachable and easy to talk to about your case?”
The client can answer any way they want and fill in the blanks that explain why the team members were approachable and easy to talk to. Each client will answer this question in their own way, every testimonial will be different. But they will all have a consistent theme about ‘approachable staff who are easy to talk to’.
If everyone says the same thing about you, then you can become famous for that thing. So the law firm that has every client testimonial talk about ‘staff that are approachable and easy to talk to’ can become famous for exactly that. All that’s needed is the right set of questions to ask each client.
Why leave to chance what your clients will say in their testimonials about your business when you can be confident of a consistent message in each one, when you can guarantee what each testimonial will say? All it takes is the planning of your questions you ask.
What all this means is that the quality and quantity of testimonials you get for your business are totally transformed when you’ve got a thoroughly thought-through system to get them – a system that is conceived and polished before your next client even makes contact with your company.
Just as you know how you are going to market your business by following your marketing system, and just as you know how your employees will close each sale by following your sales system, you can be certain of the results from your testimonials system. You can be confident that your employees can follow it to collect testimonials from every client reinforce your carefully developed marketing message.
Once you realize this is easy to achieve, you’ll wonder why you never did it before.
Testimonials are not a new phenomenon.
Long before the internet, testimonials were used to sell everything from face cream to the fantastic claims of Phineas T. Barnum.
David Ogilvy, one of the original ‘Mad Men’, said “Readers find the endorsements of fellow consumers more persuasive than the puffery of anonymous copywriters.”
Many business owners already understand that testimonials provide ‘social proof’, which is one of the six ‘Principles of Influence’ in Dr Robert B. Cialidini’s book ‘Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion’. It’s a simple concept that’s easy understand:
‘Don’t believe what I say, instead believe what other people say’
Specific details make testimonials more powerful and believable, like saying “sales increased 151%” instead of just “sales increased.”
Whatever it is that makes your business unique is a specific detail. It’s usually those specifics that business owners use to differentiate their businesses.
How do you differentiate your business from your competitors? What is it that your business does different or better? How do you add magic to your customer’s experience?
What are the specific details that should be included in your client or customer testimonials?
When you’ve built a business that prides itself on being different, testimonials help make you famous for that difference. Why would you want testimonials that merely offer vague generalities like ‘great company’ when your testimonials could be praising your difference.
Rather than just being one of the specific details of the client’s testimonial, it could be the headline, the entire theme of what they’re saying.
Imagine how powerful it could be to be known as ‘The Fastest Plumber in Brooklyn, NY’ or the consultant who offers a ‘3 x Return on Investment Guarantee’.
The social proof of others, all repeating the same consistent message about your company, can make your business famous for that difference.
Testimonials provide a showcase of your customers for prospective customers to see. By enabling your ideal customer to identify with previous customers through their testimonials, they can say to themselves “That’s just like me” and “This could work for me too”. The more information you provide which identifies an aspect common to your ideal clients, the easier you make it for them to do so.
What is it about each customer, or what did you do for them, that will instantly chime with prospective ideal customers?
Perhaps being unique or specializing in a particular segment or niche in a market is the whole reason your customers choose your business. If so, your testimonials should enable other prospective customers from that segment to identify with them.
In his new book, ‘The Untapped Goldmine in Your Business’, Simon Aronowitz, the CEO of Testimonial Systems, lays out a formula for collecting and using testimonials in the modern age.
Simon explains how testimonials:
Simon’s formula takes away the guess-work when implementing testimonials in your marketing, opening up the Untapped Goldmine in Your Business to Skyrocket Your Sales, providing a consistent return on investment.
Testimonial Systems can help you open up the Untapped Goldmine in Your Business. We help business capitalize on the use of testimonials, with information, consultancy, systems, training and done-for-you services.
It’s simple to implement a complete system in your business for collecting and using testimonials with our system-in-a-box Testimonial Machine info-product.
If you’re too busy to create your own system with Testimonial Machine, we can develop one for you. One-to-one consultations will enable us to tailor a testimonials system to the exact requirements of your business.