If you’re like most people, before you lay down your hard-earned money on a product or service, you check it out first, whether by asking a friend, looking at the customer ratings online, or reading the testimonials. No one likes to buy a lemon, so it just makes sense. If you see enough testimonials from people you “know” it removes the risk factor, and you’re ready to dive in.
So how do you get great testimonials, especially when you’re just starting out? When I created my first ebook years ago, I gave out a few free copies in exchange for customer feedback. Their positive reviews became my first testimonials. You can do the same thing if you have a service business — give a few complimentary or discounted sessions in exchange for a glowing testimonial.
After you start selling your product or service, make it a routine to ask for comments to keep your reviews fresh. In addition to encouraging people to purchase what you’re offering, endorsements will always enhance your expert status.
Results-based Testimonials Are Best
The most meaningful testimonials are ones that are measurable. You see this every day on TV when someone says they dropped 50 pounds in 6 months. When asking for success stories of your customers, encourage that they be results-based in terms of:
- increased dollars
- increased sales
- weight lost
- happiness gained
Suggest they use phrases such as, “As a result of XYZ product or event, my business increased its sales by 50% in just 3 months.” This is specific, measurable in terms of sales dollars, and time. When you use the testimonial, pull out the most powerful sentence and use it as a headline with a larger font to make it stand out.
Make it Worthwhile for Your Customers
What’s in it for customers to write a review for you? Exposure. It’s free advertising to them to be mentioned on a sales page, ezine, or on your website, etc. We ask our clients to keep their testimonials to 100 words and to include their name, business name, location, and website address. (Hint: Include their web address in the testimonial, but don’t make it a live link so people aren’t wandering off your page.) Request a lifestyle image of people having fun enjoying life as opposed to a stodgy business suit shot if it’s appropriate. Be sure and let them know that you may edit their submission.
When to Ask for Testimonials
Timing is important to get the best testimonials. For starters, you want your customers to take stock of where they are before they start using your product or attending your event, so you may need to remind them. Consider adding a form to your info product asking them to jot down “where they are” in terms of number of people on their list, their sales, number of customers, etc. Then when you check in with them later, you can ask them to compare where they are now. This will reinforce their success and your role in helping them achieve results.
Ask for testimonials right after an event or a course when people are overflowing with excitement and enthusiasm. Touch base with them again in 3-to-6 months, after they’ve had a chance to implement your teachings. Depending on the product, you’ll need to judge how soon after receiving your product customers will be able to experience results. Have your team add a reminder to the calendar so you don’t forget to ask.
Keep the Testimonials Coming…
Your testimonials can be placed anywhere — on sales pages, in your ezine, blog, Facebook, product binders, etc, so it makes sense to keep them fresh and relevant. You’ll want to set up systems in your business that will bring in testimonials for all your new products, and create standard guidelines to make sure the look and feel is consistent, no matter where they’re used.© Copyright 2011 Ali Brown