Your audience believes what other people say about you more than what you say about you.
I recommend that people and businesses start getting testimonials as soon as possible. That’s something I had to learn the hard way. One of the reasons I had a hard time is that I didn’t know how to get testimonials. I didn’t know how to ask and I didn’t know what made up a really effective testimonial. Then I heard Jeff Moore speak at a Michael Port event and the light bulb went on.
Have you started using testimonials for your business yet? Testimonials are recommendations about your business or product from a satisfied customer and are one of the strongest marketing tools you can have for your business. Let’s take a look at how you can get testimonials and how to structure an effective testimonial.
How do you get testimonials? ASK! Have you successfully just solved a client’s problem? Ask them for a recommendation based on your solution. Your client just thanked you profusely for your help. So what do you do? Ask for a review of your service. Did you provide excellent service in a timely manner? Go ahead and ask your client for that recommendation. It may take time as your clients are as busy as you are, but don’t forget to ask. If you want to learn from the master, listen to Jeff Herring. If someone says something nice or writes something nice about the good work he does, he asks right on the spot if he can use it. He doesn’t wait, he doesn’t apologize. It’s the most natural thing in the world for him.
Maybe you’re thinking, “I’m not sure what to say.” The word testimonial may have your customers envisioning their name and picture plastered on your website with their stellar review of your service and product. Even though they are pretty much the same thing, in certain situations it might sometimes best to ask for feedback or a review instead of a testimonial. On the other hand, I believe that it’s best to ask directly. The fact is you do want their name (and picture when possible) on your website, Facebook page, etc. And if you have done them a good service and they’re happy with it, it’s a reasonable expression of their gratitude to give you a testimonial or recommendation. At least it doesn’t hurt to ask.
Asking your clients for a recommendation isn’t the only way to get a testimonial. If your business has a Facebook or LinkedIn page, that’s a great place to get results. Other places,such as Google, Yahoo!, and Yelp, offer a place for customers to leave their feedback. Just remember, if you receive negative feedback, be sure to address it in a professional manner. When you pick a fight on the internet, you always lose. Share the facts and try to make things right. Hopefully though, you’ll be flooded with excellent testimonials from raving fans and you won’t have to deal with too many naysayers.
There are some very important laws regarding testimonials or recommendations. Due to FTC laws, it’s important to get recommendations that represent the typical results of your business or product. This law isn’t just for US based companies, but covers any company that sells to US customers. Ignoring this law can result in a steep fine of $11,000 per incident. Ouch! The FTC’s webpage on recommendations also encourages you to get new testimonials if your product has changed in any way. We’ve all seen the “I took Acme Diet Supplement and lost 100 pounds in 9 days” testimonials. Even though they put up “results not typical” disclaimers, there’s a better reason not to share that sort of testimonial: savvy customers tune them out. If things sound too good to be true, smart consumers will think you’re being dishonest and only the gullible consumer is likely to buy. I would not recommend you try to build your business by targeting gullible consumers. Is it possible to do? Of course. Is it the right thing to do? Of course not.
What makes up a good testimonial? What you don’t want is a testimonial that says, “I love Stan’s Gutter Cleaning.” It’s nice to hear, but it doesn’t tell why they love you. Is it because you provide a great service? Your prices are really good? You wear a nice cologne? Here’s how a testimonial should work:
- Identify the problem. “I had a serious problem with clogged gutters.”
- Explain why that is a problem. “As a result of my clogged gutters, water pooled up around my fascia boards, causing them to rot and need replacing.”
- Identify your company name. “I met with Stan’s Gutter Cleaning and heard their solution. I wasn’t sure if it would work for me, but I tried it anyway.”
- Exclaim your customer’s satisfaction. “The solution was amazing and I am so happy I found Stan’s Gutter Cleaning. Now, I recommend Stan’s Gutter Cleaning whenever I hear someone has a problem with clogged gutters.”
- Add a picture and your customer’s name. By adding your customer’s picture and their name (at least their first name and last initial), will give your testimonial a personal touch.
Are you ready to add a testimonial page to your businesses website? If you have tips about writing testimonials, please share them in the comments below.