Testimonials are one of the most powerful and essential pillars to any business. People like to do business with those that they can relate to, or aware of. They tend to be more comfortable with results that they know of. Credibility isn’t built in one day and in most cases it is earned over time. The best way to gauge the value of your product and services is through the satisfied readers, customers and prospects that are exposed to your business. This in turn is the most convincing than anything you could do or say about your business.
Most of the time testimonials overcome your prospects objections before these concerns hinder your sales process. Usually when a customer has questions they tend to look at the testimonials firsts to identify their solutions and if you are the best fit for their business. Studies have shown that a good percentage of online business tend to showcase their testimonials on their website. An even better percentage of studies show that advertisements tend to focus more on satisfied customers telling a story of how they came across this business, the problems they faced before and the satisfaction they received after using the business. Finally they tend to recommend the business to
everyone else with similar business needs!
This is one of most effective ways of increasing your sales efficiency and is an added way of not only relating to your prospects but also building trust. I strongly advise my clients to put up testimonials as in most cases or situations your testimonials do the selling for you!
The most common question I get is how do I accelerate the process of getting testimonials if I am starting up a business. The answer is simple. When building a business always give free access to your product to your contacts, friends or family and business acquaintances in return for a free testimonial. As your client base increase collect even more stronger testimonials. I have tested this in the past with fruitful results. Almost all my business acquaintances tested my product for free and gave me reviews and even suggested useful feedback to improve my services and products.
You can also go to survey monkey which is an online survey system or create your offline surveys to identify your products key strengths and areas of improvements.
You might ask yourself who is the best person to give you a testimonial. The answer being everyone and anyone you or your business interacts with. While receiving testimonials from presidents, CEO’s and people with higer positions seem to make an impressive portfolio, prospects tend to also relate to the middle guy. Your average worker, your average joe and in fact truly relate with people from all walks of life. A good collection of testimonials brings about a very balanced portfolio.
Testimonials are similar to reference checks and the golden rule is don’t invent your testimonials. One of the biggest malpractices in the business world is to fake your own testimonials. I always advise my clients, my very own testimonials to email me their testimonials word for word, sometimes even mail me or fax me their testimonials to keep a copy for my records. Why do I do this. So that if I was ever to prove the validity of the testimonial I could easily produce these records.
The secret to a good testimonial is content, detail, location and signature. While some clients prefer not having their names released or contact information for release I always try to put up as much information that I can. If the testimonial has a website I will put that up as well. Seeking consent is another golden rule when collecting testimonials. It is also good to be courteous and inform your testimonials on your publish before you put them up on any marketing materials. One sentence testimonials don’t really get great results. Be elaborate, explain the entire process and if you can put up real numbers, projections, targets and results. Customers tend to react better to facts and numbers too. The one sentence words like, excellent, great, good job don’t really get you very far. The best testimonials are highly specific and results oriented.
Sometimes your potential testimonials don’t have the time or the entrepreneur mind to write a persuasive or convincing testimonial. It is up to you to determine if its best to write up the testimonial for their signature. Most of the time testimonials will consent and prefer it that way.Sometimes it will require you getting on the phones and calling your clients and probing them by asking them specific questions to develop a truly compelling endorsement.
The biggest golden nugget you can get away from this is keep your testimonials fresh and continue collecting them monthly. Have a special folder for all your testimonials and change them monthly. If you are an internet marketer test different testimonials to see if your conversion goes higher, traffic is stronger and opts in are bigger!
Some of the latest trends I have noticed lately is
* Social Networking is a great place to start collecting testimonials.
* Sites like Linked In, Plaxo actually give you the ability to endorse your contacts
* Testimonials are even stronger when a picture and website is attached to it
* Video and Audio Testimonials are the most sincere, genuine and effective way to convert your prospects into sales!
Remember testimonials are an essential key to elevating your sales when done right!