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Testimonials in marketing - the road to the real money

Now you really have to listen. Put down the coffee cup, walk out of the room if other people will disturb your thinking. Hide in the bathroom if needed, but listen closely!

If you can tell new customers what your old customers are saying about you, your company and your services you will sell more - much more!

These are the proven benefits of chasing after written client reports about your business:
* It's more credible than advertising.
* They can be used to say things about you and your services that you can never say yourself.
* They speak directly to your potential customers from a person who had a specific problem solved.
* You will get to know things from your old customers that you didn't even know that you delivered on.
* The customers who write customer opinions often become your most loyal customers.
* It costs almost nothing.
* You will receive valuable information you might not have even previously known about why the client hired you.

When you place an ad, everyone knows that you have paid for it to talk about how good you think you are and this will instantly make your credibility drop. However, if a potential customer find your website, browse through your brochure and get to read what other customers like about what you sell, you will get maximum credibility. Yes, it sounds both obvious and ... yes, I know that you already know it - but tell me then why there are so few companies that are actively working to get customers to speak up? I don't get it. Any company that wants shortcuts to more sales should ask their customer for help.

This is how you do it:

1. Produce a list of all your customers.

2. Make your own ranking list of the situations where you have solved a problem and single out the 10 (or 100) best.

3. Contact customers and talk to them about the project or product you sold them and ask if they would be willing to write a statement about whether what you have delivered has helped them. Ask three relevant questions:
What was the best thing about the product/service? What helped you in a tangible way? What can we improve? The latter is a bonus for you to get better at something.

4. Thank them for their help by saying that they will get something for their trouble (a lottery ticket maybe). Tell the customers that their testimonials may be used in your marketing and promotion campaigns and ask for their permission use their written statements.

5. Never be tempted to ignore this and fall into the amateur trap by just making up stupid statements like:”Fantastic service - we have found our future supplier of X, Nick in Nevada.” No one will believe in that. You must have proper credentials from real companies and real people.

6. Make it clear to your reference customer that you will use the statement in your marketing, on the website and perhaps in your ads. Satisfied customers usually don't have a problem with that.

Place your customer statements on your website, use them in advertisements, in your brochure and everywhere where your future customers can see them. Make it a habit to ask for references and you will soon have a whole arsenal to choose from. These testimonials are guaranteed to do its job for your company.

Still doubt what I’m saying? I know why:

All these advantages and yet so few people use them. Isn't that strange? I know why. It's a bit uncomfortable to ask customers if they want to say something about what you are selling. My experience though is that customers don't have any problem with this.
Ask yourself, for instance. Would you have a problem with telling the truth about how well something you bought from a specific company has worked for you if they would ask you? Of course not. On the contrary, I would do it with pleasure. They have delivered what we agreed on and my hopes have been fulfilled and I am satisfied. Kudos to them. Throw me a piece of paper and I'll be more than happy to recommended you, I'd say. I do this consistently and all our books have now received hundreds of reports from our customers and new statements arrive every day. You can and should do the same.

Homework: Before the end of this week, you should have ten written statements from customers - and you will also publish them on your website. Piece of cake!

About the author

Stefan Ekberg has worked in marketing for small business for 20 years and has written around 30 books on how small business owners can market themselves with limited resources. . In 2012 Stefan was nominated as Entrepreneur of the Year in Stockholm.

230 000 prescribes to his free newsletter "The 5 minute marketer"
Every week some 230,000 prescribers gets his free newsletter about 5 minute marketing.

"The 5 minute marketer" - the book
You run a small business and you want to get ahead of the competition, but how can you give resources to marketing when you're short on time and the budget is tight? The solution is here! The 5-Minute Marketer is packed with 395 tried-and-tested ways to market your business in 5 minutes or less.