The power of a great testimonial

The power of a great testimonial and how to get testimonials for your business

No one wants to hear someone harp on about how great their own product or service is – it’s perceived as being either boastful or disingenuous. However, if a genuine customer recommends a business, that’s a different story.  

In this new age of technology and social media, we are being bombarded with advertising. It’s everywhere and it’s unavoidable but the pendulum is swinging. We are growing more wary of marketing ploys and more cynical of blatant advertising – but there is still one thing we still trust, now more than ever, and that’s people.  

A good testimonials can be as powerful as 1,000 hits on your website or a full page feature in a respected publication. If someone provides a testimonial for your business, it means they are putting their own reputation on the line to vouch for you. It’s a powerful thing.  

How to get great testimonials

Business as usual: Listen to your customers. You may not be aware but your customers are probably giving you testimonials as you talk to them as part of business as usual. Keep your ears open and if someone offers a complement, ask if you can write it down to use as a testimonial. Likewise, as you chat to customers, take the opportunity to gather feedback: “How did you find that product?” or “How is this service helping you?”  

Ask them straight: Don’t be afraid to just ask people straight: “I’m trying to grow my business and was wondering if you would mind giving me a testimonial.” You can focus on loyal customers or spread the net wide, but don’t let fear get in the way. Good or bad, all feedback is useful. Use any method you like – email, social media, newsletters, meetings, blogs, phone, in person – but be aware, people often struggle to find the time to sit down and write a formal testimonial. It’s just another task that can be put off until tomorrow, then tomorrow, then tomorrow, until it falls off the task list altogether. Try picking up the phone instead and have a pen at the ready. This method also results in a more natural and less crafted response, which is more believable anyway.  

Follow up with recent customers: Following up with customers to enquire about how they are finding your product or service is a great way to identify potential improvements to your business. It’s also provides a great segue way to ask for a testimonial.  

Have names and numbers of loyal customers at the ready: Providing new customers with contact details of existing customers shows clear confidence in your product or service. Select some loyal customers and see if they’ll agree to being contacted but chances are just providing the details will be enough. People rarely bother ringing.   

Social proof: According to Wikipedia: “Social proof is a psychological and social phenomenon where people assume the actions of others in an attempt to reflect correct behavior in a given situation.” You know when you are booking  something online and a message pops up saying “53 other people are looking at this deal” or “35 people are purchased this already.” This is social proof, as are likes, shares, reviews and ratings. We are more likely to buy something if we know others have bought it before us. It’s like a security blanket.   

What to do with your testimonials now you’ve got them

Share them with your staff and your customers – new and old. Use them everywhere – in conversation, on your website, in social media, in your advertising, on your walls, in your correspondence, in your email signature, literally anywhere.  

Finally, two important things to finish – update your testimonial regularly (your customers will know when you’ve used the same testimonial for two years running) and always ask permission to use (a ‘no surprises’ approach will keep everyone happy).  

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