Testimonials provide high-impact, no-cost marketing for your business.
Your marketing is only as strong as your business’s reputation. Why? Well, it doesn’t matter much what a company says about itself if its customers’ opinions don’t jibe. But when customers have good things to say, that alone will sell to other customers. You could argue that reputation is the main reason people buy — or don’t buy — anything.
That’s why testimonials play such an important role in marketing, and why you should be actively trying to collect them. Here are two simple ways to get more from your testimonials.
Make It Part of Your Process
Many businesses don’t generate great testimonials for one reason: they wait for the customer to come to them. But think about it – when was the last time you offered a testimonial after purchasing a great product or service? Did you email one to that restaurant after your delicious Mexican dinner? Maybe you dropped one off at the dealership to thank them for a great deal on your new car?
Probably not. Most of us never give it a thought, even when the experience was excellent. But if the business had just asked, we might have taken a minute or two to return the favor.
The follow-up is an essential part of any sale, whether in-person, by phone or via email. When that follow-up tells you a customer is satisfied, it’s the perfect opportunity to ask for a testimonial. Make asking a regular part of your sales process, and you’ll have plenty of high-impact, no-cost marketing material ready to go.
Ask for Specifics
Recently, I was looking to get some work done on my house. The contractor that caught my eye had a customer letter posted on their website with details on the day-to-day expectations, the quality of work and the timeline. As a business owner, I know if a client takes the time to write a glowing letter filled with specifics, the company has to deliver. (A bit skeptical, I asked for another testimonial and got a second detailed and appreciative review.)
From the testimonials, I learned this company over-delivered, going above and beyond what was expected. One customer wrote that they even brought their garbage cans out to the curb! It didn’t make them more money – they just thought it was important to keep their customers happy and writing rave reviews. It worked.
The competition I considered also had testimonials, but only one or two sentences with no details. For example, “they did a good job” or “very professional,” with a five-star rating attached. Ultimately, I went with the company whose testimonials didn’t look like eBay feedback.
When gathering testimonials, encourage your customers to paint a picture. Ask “could you explain the problem we solved for you?” And “what stood out about our service?”
Because that’s what potential customers are looking for: in-depth, non-canned, honest testimonials. Get that going and you’re reputation will do the rest.
Does your business have a system for collecting testimonials?