Testimonials are powerful. Why? We are bombarded with thousands of advertising messages every day.
Call me a sceptic, but it’s hard to believe that they’re all telling the truth about their products and services.
Humans are wired to trust the opinions of people they know or respect. Think about it. If you’re looking for a plumber are you more likely to believe the claims of the flyer in your letterbox or the enthusiastic recommendation of a friend or neighbour?
We all know that testimonials strengthen our own promotional messages, so why don’t more companies include them on their website and in their promotional material?
Perhaps they’re scared to ask for them? Or maybe they don’t know the right way to ask?
A great testimonial should satisfy the following 3 criteria:
- They should reinforce your brand proposition
That means they should say something about you and your company that highlights what makes you different from other firms.
They should say something about the value of the work you’ve done for them. The more specific the better. For example, have you saved them money or time (and how much). Or have you helped them avoid a particular sticky situation?
2. They help alleviate fear
Your best testimonials will address those issues that get in the way of people deciding to buy your product or service. For example, if price is an issue for people, your testimonial should describe how your product or service was worth it.
3. They’re believable
A great testimonial doesn’t sound exaggerated. Don’t be tempted to edit too much. They need to sound like a real person has written them.
It’s important that testimonials include the person’s full name. If it’s a business to business relationship, it should also include their job title and organisation. Including a photo of the person also supports the credibility of the testimonial.
Tips for getting a great testimonial
I know what you’re thinking.. “people are too busy to write a testimonial”.
The best way to elicit a good testimonial is to provide your client with a bit of help.
After your product or service has been delivered, send them a short online survey or email them a basic template of the type of response you’re looking for. Linkedin also provides an easy platform for asking for endorsements.
Here are a few templated sentences to make it easier for clients to write your testimonial:
I employed [COMPANY NAME] to provide [PRODUCT/SERVICE].
I chose them because [REASONS].
I found working with [COMPANY NAME] to be [DESCRIBE].
The value they provided us was [RESULTS/VALUE].
I would recommend [COMPANY NAME] because [REASONS].
If a client truly has no time to write your testimonial, offer to write it for them – but make sure you get their approval.
Always ask your client for permission to use their testimonial in your promotional material or on your website.
Is there a best time for asking for your testimonial?
Asking for testimonials should be a standard part of your client relationship process. If you’re a professional services company, the best time to ask is straight after you’ve delivered a project. The experience is fresh in your client’s mind, and if they’re pleased with the result, they’re usually more than happy to respond to your testimonial request.
Dial up the volume with video testimonials
Of course video testimonials are even more convincing. They’re a lot more work, but very credible and easy for your prospective client to digest.
The Hot Copy podcast recently did a great session on testimonials. You might want to listen to that here.
If you need some help designing a client survey or a method of approaching your clients, send me an email or call 0418 266 371.