How many times have you gone to a restaurant just because of a recommendation from a friend or bought something online after reading about how it solved someone else's problem? How many of us are still wearing Nike's because years ago Michael Jordan told us to?!? We all have a tendency to be influenced by others when it comes to buying a product or service. The fact is that you can tell me how great you are until you are blue in the face, but it does not hold as much weight as hearing it from someone else that you have done business with.
Knowing how essential testimonials can be for your business is definitely the first step. The next step is getting them. Aside from simply asking, there are several good ways to get testimonials from your clients.
Ask Your Top 10
The best place to start is with your top 10 clients. These should be companies that not only give you the most business, but preferably will have some name recognition. Personally reach out to those within the company that you know best and ask them if they would be willing to write a testimonial for you. More often than not they will be flattered. If you can get something on their letterhead, even better! Just be patient! If they are busy, it may take them a little while to get it to you.
When you have that big TADA moment where you unveil the finished product and blow your client away, this is a great time to ask them for a testimonial. Assuming you have done your job well, they should be bubbling over with compliments for you at that moment.
If you send out a newsletter or reach out to your clients on a regular basis through other methods, do not be afraid to ask them to send a testimonial. Because this is not a very aggressive method, your success rate will most likely be low. The easier you make it for them, the better your response will be, so make sure to include a self addressed stamped envelope, a form that is easily filled out or just a direct link to your e-mail address.
Survey Says …
A great way to pick up some testimonials and dramatically improve your business at the same time is through a survey. A good survey sent to all of your clients should ask them some key questions that will help you improve your business such as:
– Are there any other products or services that you think we should offer? – What could we do to improve our offerings?
Finally, the last question should be a tactful way to request a testimonial such as "We are very grateful for any kind words that you may have for us. Please feel free to share any testimonials that you have for our services or products."
Within a few days or possibly sooner, you should start hearing back from your clients with some testimonials. So, now that you have them, what should you do with them?!?
There should be a button on your website which opens up to a list of all of your testimonials. The best way to display testimonials on your site is to keep each of them to about two or three sentences long. That means that if it's a short testimonial, you can fit the whole thing. If not, then you should pick out the best 2 or 3 sentences with a link to the actual letter as a PDF or page with the full text. This gives your visitors the ability to scan through the best comments with the option of clicking to read more. To keep it reliable, make sure that you include the writer's name (you can use their first name and last initial if you are more comfortable), their company and a link to their website. The link to their website is a good bargaining chip because linking out to their website will help increase their search engine rankings, so by leaving you a testimonial that they are actually helping them as well.
Your offline advertising can benefit from testimonials as well. Take some of the best soundbites that you have and be sure to sporadically place them through your brochure or catalog. You can make them stand out by using a different font or making the text larger and italicized. You do not want it to be the elementary focus, but it should draw some attention. Make sure to bring these brochures with you to networking events so you are not only handing out your card, but you are inadvertently allowing someone else to brag for you.
Aside from helping you to get your message out to the public, testimonials serve as a great insight into how well you are doing. If you ask all of your clients for a testimonial and everyone is happy to say something positive for you, then you know your business is on the right track. If no one responds, you know you have some work to do in the customer relations department! The most important step is to get started and let your clients do some of the talking for you!
Source by Marc Ensign