Testimonials work. They’re one of the most effective, least expensive methods of establishing credibility and helping prospects decide to work with you. Potential buyers will put more stock into the recommendation of a client, friend, neighbor or relative than they will any direct sales or other marketing efforts – and rightfully so.
However, you already knew all of that, so why haven’t you been asking for them?
Okay, I admit: asking for testimonials can seem uncomfortable. Besides, you know you’ve done a great job for your clients, and it’s easier to assume they will pass on their recommendations to their friends, family, and business associates without a prompt from you. So, you accept your client’s financial payment and let them walk out the door, taking their potentially dynamic testimonials with them.
However, think about it. If someone offered you a thousand dollars or more worth of free advertising, would you simply leave it on the table?
Consider your own behavior. Perhaps you’re delighted with the mileage you’re getting on your new car and the topic comes up in conversation. While you may chat up the car itself, are you going to write an unsolicited review? Will you tell everyone how great your salesperson was? Do you even remember their name?
So, back to your squeamishness over asking your satisfied client for a testimonial. Get over it; it’s much less terrifying than you think. Just keep in mind most people like to help other people. It’s true, especially when it doesn’t cost them anything other than a tiny smidgen of their time. Besides, what’s the worst that can happen? They say no. You can probably live with that, right?
Perhaps you’re thinking: Easier said than done, which is why I’m suggesting 8 simple ways to make the process easier and more effective:
- Ask them. If you’ve done your job and your client appears happy with the results, there is nothing wrong with asking your clients or customers for their recommendations. It’s okay to be direct; you’re not being pushy or off-putting.
- Practice makes perfect. If you’ve never asked for a testimonial before, you’ll want to practice the process before getting out there “on stage.” You might even want to write yourself a short, sincere script to follow. Keep it brief. Keep it in your own words. Get comfortable with it.
- Start with your happiest clients. You know who they are, so why not begin with them? Choose the ones who’ve expressed their delight with you and/or your product. You’re pretty confident they like you and trust you and, if they offer a complementary service or product, all the better.
- Keep it personal. I’m not suggesting it’s a bad practice to include a generic request for a review in your correspondence, but making a personal appeal for a testimonial will generate a much higher response rate and, chances are, if you make it personal, your clients will, too. If your business doesn’t offer the opportunity for face-to-face interaction, phone or write a personal note or email.
Make it easy. Along with asking for their customer review, make it easy for your clients. If they complain they simply don’t have enough hours in the day, assure them you respect their time and offer to provide them with a list of qualities they can choose from that make your product or service valuable. If you are asking them to post the review on specific websites, give them the appropriate URLs and any added information they might need.
- Give a testimonial. If your client is someone who also provides you with great customer service, offer to provide a review saying as much. Ask for their cards and distribute them when the opportunity comes up. Also, have them tell you what social channels they’d like you to leave a testimonial on – then do it.
- Thank your client. Once your client has provided their testimonial, give them a sincere thank you – and a small token of appreciation for their business, if that is your company policy.
- Follow up and stay in touch. You know what they say: Out of touch, out of mind. Don’t let that happen. Keeping an existing customer is ten times easier than getting a new one. If you have a new product or service coming up – or an upcoming sale – let them know ahead with an email or blast. And be sure to set up a regular schedule to email your clients and let them know you’re thinking of them. (Happy Grasshopper can help you with that. We write spot-on blasts and fun and friendly messages our members can choose from to send to their sphere every three weeks.)
Of course, the surest and most crucial step of getting a great testimonial is to provide amazing service, but you already knew that, too.