Use these tips to encourage customers to give you testimonials, then to get the greatest benefit from those testimonials.
Copyright Cathy Stucker
Testimonials from happy customers can convince new buyers to try your product or service. Few customers will spontaneously write a letter saying how wonderful you are, but it is possible to generate many quality testimonials with just a little effort on your part.
Quality testimonials are specific and attributed to an identified person. Your testimonials don’t have to be from someone famous, but there is prestige in getting a recommendation from a well-known person, or a representative of a high-profile organization.
Compare, “Mary Johnson is a terrific copywriter – A.G.,” to “The sales letter Mary Johnson wrote for us drew a 28% response–better than any of our previous campaigns. – Anthony Gonzalez, V.P. of Marketing, MegaCorp.” If you were looking for a copywriter, which one would convince you to hire Mary Johnson?
The best time to get a testimonial is when someone is excited about what you did for them. Look for opportunities when someone calls to place a repeat order and tells you how well the product worked for them. Or when clients are enthusiastic about the results you achieved. When you get a compliment, that is a testimonial opportunity.
Although clients may readily agree to write a testimonial, chances are they won’t do it. They may be afraid that they don’t know what to say, or concerned that it won’t be good enough. Offer to help them create the testimonial.
Spend a few minutes talking about why they like your product or service. Focus on the benefits they received. Then, write the testimonial. Send a draft to your client and ask them to make and desired changes, then print the testimonial on their letterhead and sign it.
You might also include a cover letter stating that you will use the testimonial in marketing and promotion, asking permission to do so. Have a place at the bottom of the letter for them to sign. Ask how they want to be identified: name, title and company affiliation, or another identifier such as their book title, an award they have won, their web site, or other designation.
You may wonder about the ethics of this. If all you are doing is putting in writing what your client has expressed to you, then providing a draft for them to edit and sign, you haven’t done anything wrong. You simply made it easier for your client to say what they wanted to say.
Testimonials can be used in your advertising, on your web site, in brochures and sales letters, and anywhere you want to establish credibility. Consider printing one or more testimonials on the backs of your business cards.
Not only will customer testimonials establish the credibility you need to attract new customers, the act of focusing on the benefits they received from you will reinforce to the client how smart they were to do business with you in the first place. That makes it more likely they will be repeat customers, and that they will refer new customers to you.