Testimonials are one of the most potent weapons a business owner has in his arsenal. They cannot be overused!
“You want to capture and utilize as much social proof and testimonials
as humanly possible” – Marketing Guru Joe Polish.
Don’t operate on the arrogant presumption that what your claims in your advertising will be automatically trusted and believed. That’s just brain-dead stupid! At least half of everything that you claim in your advertising will be instantly discounted, discredited, and disbelieved.
Requests for References
Using testimonials in your advertising virtually eliminates requests and the need for references. When prospects read your testimonials, they’re assured they’ll receive good value, so it never occurs to them to ask for references. Now they don’t need them.
Testimonials deliver you presold prospects. Testimonials give you leverage. Prospects use testimonials as a decision making short-cut. The human brain seeks ways to make a decision without using up all its’ energy, and testimonials allow the brain to make a decision more quickly, saving brain power for the next decision.
Testimonials provide strong social proof that you deliver value. Testimonials can substantiate every element of your claims in your advertising. If you fail to prove all the claims, all other areas are discredited.
Testimonials Increase Credibility
What your clients and customers say about their experience with you is 100 times more important and believable than anything that you can say about yourself. Good testimonials offer meaningful specifics of the benefits your clients and customers receive. Great testimonials support the claims made in your Headline and Guarantee or Personal Promise. Discover the 12 Advertising Response Triggers here. Do-It-Yourself Advertising System.
Testimonials always strengthen your advertising’s credibility and response. You should create a system to get a testimonial from every client, like a “Client Feedback Form” (Example at end of this article). People are flattered that you value their opinion, and are easily encouraged to fill it out right after they get what they purchased.
Why Not Just Make Up Testimonials?
NEVER MAKE UP TESTIMONIALS. It is illegal, and a form of fraud. You could face criminal prosecution. People can tell when a testimonial is made up, and that kills ALL your credibility. That is the opposite of what you want to accomplish. You will be surprised at the nice things people will say about your business if you just ask for their feedback in the way described I this article.
Testimonials Give You the Best Client
Feedback You Will Ever Get!
Use what real, fully identified, happy clients have to say. Even if the feedback is bad, I want to know what is going wrong in my business. If it is an isolated case and this person just wants to gripe, you have given them a way to vent their anger or frustration. But if you get 3 feedback forms from clients, all stating the same problem, then you know you’ve got a problem that needs attention.
So it’s not just for gathering testimonials. It is going to alert you to things that people did not like, but were not mad enough to verbalize. There are many small problems in businesses that will prevent a client from returning, but is not big enough to complain about in person. They just will not come back or refer their friends and family like you want them to. You will be able to save clients that would not have told you they were disappointed, by using the non-confrontational feedback form.
If you want to find out what your clients really like about you and what you offer, ask them to fill out your “Client Feedback Form”. The feedback you will get is the best market research you can get, at any price! There is a sample of my most current feedback form at the end of this article so that you can create yours in minutes, not hours, and be using a proven testimonial system starting today.
Target Your Testimonials
Gather good testimonials that highlight each of the services or product areas that you offer. The more your testimonials target your ideal target prospects’ most cherished wants, the stronger they’ll pull response in ALL your advertising. Highlight the areas of greatest concern or dissatisfaction with glowing testimonials.
Give your clients a forum to respond, by filling out a client feedback form, or calling a special phone number. You will be amazed at the nice things they will say about aspects that are important to them that you would have never thought of, or discovered.
Use Full Names in Testimonials
Use testimonials that include pictures and real customer’s full names. Include their tract, city, club affiliation, company name, or any other feature your target prospect will identify with. And there’s some tricks about that too. Like if you can get a testimonial from people with large circles of influence. Whether it is the Chief of Police, the Mayor, or the head of an association or club, people will see those testimonials and they will say, “The reason I called is I know or respect this person in your advertising, and I figured that if you can make them happy, you’ll probably make me happy!”
Offer to service the most prominent, respectable, well-known people in your area, free or at a discount. Tell them that you value their opinion highly and are willing to do this in return for their feedback. This will give you the testimonials you desire from people of influence. Ask your best clients whose opinion they most value locally, and apply this strategy to those with the most valued opinions.
Work for free or at a reduced rate for a celebrity in exchange for their testimonial. This testimonial of a recognized and respected celebrity will bring in lots of new business, as long as the person giving the testimonial is respected by your prospects.
Gather abundant social proof thru testimonials, and use them in your print advertising, free report, website, postcards, business cards, brochures, and everywhere you print anything about your company. This creates unavoidable curiosity, and a “can’t lose” for your prospect when combined with a risk-free guarantee.
Local Testimonials Are Best
Additional proof you provide value comes from your guarantee, statistics like the number of happy clients or years in business, before and after pictures, family owned and operated, and address IF LOCAL TO THE AREA YOU SERVE. You do not want to be perceived as an outsider. People usually prefer a local vendor, and you do not want to lose business by accidentally positioning yourself as an outsider.
I have found that sometimes people will call me and leave a message on my voice mail. It is easier for people to verbalize a testimonial than it is to write it down. Simply transcribe the verbal testimonial and mail it to the person to get them to OK using it in your advertising, and mail it back to you in the self-addressed, stamped envelope you’ve provided. I have never failed at that, and you can get some glowing testimonials that way!
There is a device that allows you to play those recordings of glowing testimonials back, on demand, when talking to a prospect on the phone. It’s so much more powerful to have your clients speak for you!!! This builds confidence and trust in purchasing from you very quickly, and credibly.
Call for Testimonials
An easy way to ensure client satisfaction and provide the “WOW” factor is to call your clients 24 hours after their purchase to make sure they are happy. Tape record the call, with their approval, and transcribe what they said. Mail it to them, and request their approval to use it in future advertising. This simple act compounds your goodwill many times over, increases referrals, and will get you some dynamite testimonials that can be leveraged in either written or audio form.
Another idea is to call your top 20 clients, and ask them what they like most about your product or service. Tape the call. Then transcribe, mail, and retrieve the testimonial from your client, signed and dated. This should give you about 15 good testimonials. If it does not, you probably have a client satisfaction problem that needs to be addressed.
You can give people a discount if they agree to give you a testimonial. Have a contest, with $50.00, or a sought after prize monthly, for the best testimonial. Then have a larger prize for the best testimonial of the year. It’s amazing the nice things people will think of, if you offer an incentive, or ethical bribe. It could be lottery or movie tickets, a trip to the spa, or a restaurant gift certificate. Explain that the testimonials are rated based on the amount of specific details, comparisons to their last vendor, and the number and strength of the benefits received.
Make Your Testimonials Stand Out
Group testimonials in an advertorial or newspaper column format for better fit and readability. It should take up less space that way. Put a box around the testimonials to make them stand out. If you want the prospects eye to get stuck anywhere in your advertising, the testimonials is a good place!
You can tell people all day long how great you are, but when someone else, especially someone of influence says it, it is infinitely more powerful. When people are uncertain, they are more likely to use others experiences, particularly people perceived to be, “just like them” to decide how they should proceed. It’s the observing of others conduct, similar to ourselves, that gives us the insight as to what is beneficial behavior for us.
My 36 years experience in Direct Response Marketing allowed me to devise a method that enabled me to get a client feedback form filled out by every client and mailed back to me, virtually 100% of the time!
Give Them A Reason to Want to Give
You a Testimonial
What I would do is offer them an incentive to obligate themselves, by their agreement, to return the filled out feedback form in consideration for my incentive or gift. I used a full color spotting chart and two bottles of my private label carpet spotter as a $10.00 value that had a hard cost of under $3.00.
I have been amazed at how the right incentive, offered at the right time, in the right way, has enabled me to get testimonials from people with $500,000,000. net worth, just because they wanted the spotting chart and spotter!!! I gave them $3.00 worth of goods, and they gave me a powerful testimonial, and cleaner carpets spotted with a safe spotter when I returned!
The exact words I used to make it easier to say “yes”, than “no” to me was, “Constantly improving my business is important to me. If you’d be willing to fill out this client feedback form and mail it back to me, in this self-addressed, stamped envelope, I’d be willing to give you this full color spotting chart, so that you know what to do when I’m not here and you have a spill, and two bottles of the spotter I recommend, which is a $10.00 value”. I have never had anyone say no to that. Everyone fills out the client feedback form, and mails it to me within the week. I’m only aware of one time that someone didn’t return the feedback form, and they were Chinese immigrants that I don’t think understood much of what I said.
Online Reviews and Video Testimonials
for Your Website
What some of my Dental clients are doing is getting the patient to agree to giving them a testimonial. They let them fill out the testimonial feedback from to get the benefit clear in their head. Then they review what was written and say, “This is so good! Would you let me video you saying that real quick with my cell phone? Then they video the testimonial, and they can upload that to YouTube or their website testimonial section for live testimonials. If you skip letting them fill out the feedback from first, you will get weaker testimonials if you get one at all.
You will see in my example Feedback Form that at the bottom, I request their consent to use their testimonial in print or online. Be sure to include this permission and place for them to sign and date it. Getting their permission when they give you the testimonial is much easier than trying to get it later. Once you have this permission, you can post some testimonials as online reviews at Google Plus, Yelp, and numerous other places where your prospects will find them and be convinced that using your business will deliver them the best value.
Why Collect Testimonials Immediately
After Services Were Provided?
The reason you want to collect your testimonials right after your service was provided or the product was just purchased is, this is when the client’s satisfaction is peaking and is most likely to say something nice about your business.
Later the “glow” of what you did will have worn off. You will get a weaker testimonial if you get one at all if you wait and miss this small window where their appreciation is at its’ highest.
Immediately Identify Who You
Do Not Want to Serve!
The feedback form also identified two “nut cases” over the years for me that would have been impossible to satisfy, much less ever make a profit on. When these “challenging clients” called me for more service, I told them that I respectfully decline their work. Sure they were offended, and they wanted to know why, but I just said, “I’m trying to say this as nicely as possible, but I’m respectfully declining your business”.
I have found that by eliminating the bottom 10% of my clients, I can prevent 90% of the problems. The first rule in having repeat clients that are profitable is having a system to discriminate and eliminate those that are predisposed to be more trouble than they are worth! Let those problem clients be your competitors problem. I would even give them your competitors’ phone number at that point.
But the other feedback forms contained glowing testimonials and permission to use them in my advertising. I now have a file cabinet with literally thousands of testimonials that I have received from delighted clients in every area that I serve.
That is powerful proof, when put in your presentation folder, and shown to the prospect at the time of the estimate. I always was awarded the job when I showed my prospect the overwhelming social proof, and the sheer number of testimonials my clients have written for me.
You could even have a separate notebook for them to review while you calculate the estimate. It is credible, overwhelming proof that you offer your clients value. You could even take it one-step further, and get the testimonials on video or DVD, and show that to your prospect! If that doesn’t get you closing more sales, nothing will!
I know of a business owner, Steve Maher, that mails a DVD of his interview by a local reporter with a consumer information report that arrives by mail the day before his scheduled estimate. In the letter, it requests that they watch the DVD prior to his arrival. This pre-educates and presells him as the preferred vendor before he even sets foot in the door! This is very smart marketing that allows Steve to close more sales, for more money in less time. Because no competitor is doing this, it definitely positions Steve as the vendor of choice, and details all the value his clients get by doing business with his company.
Make an offer to your clients that makes them want to fill out your feedback form, and get them to obligate themselves, after you explain it to them. Then ask to take a picture of the client with their family, pet, view from their home or in front of your finished work. Explain that you want to send them something special. Have the picture transferred to a mouse pad, coffee cup or t-shirt at a Kinko’s or other print shop. Send them this gift with a handwritten thank-you letter, showing appreciation for their business, and personalized by mentioning as many family or friends as possible. Follow that letter 2 days later with a letter that explains your referral program with 2-3 of your business cards.
This not only gives you pictures to use in your best testimonials, but you’ve hit them with the “Wow” factor AND given them every reason to refer you to their friends and family.
Every time they use the mouse pad, wear the shirt, or use the coffee cup, they’ll be reminded of you and your company. When people ask where they got the personalized gift, they have to tell them about your business and all the reasons to use you. That gives you a lot of mileage out of one simple gift. It will increase your referrals because you have raised the level of your business in their consciousness.
Combine several things like this, and you can achieve a “top of consciousness” in your client’s minds. Top of consciousness is when the consumer directly relates the name of your business, and only your business, to the thing that you provide. Your name becomes synonymous with what you provide.
Examples are; For years, people called a photocopy, a Xerox copy. People refer to “Having a Coke”, when they consume a carbonated beverage. That’s top of consciousness. Fortunately, for your advertising budget, you will be targeting a lot smaller audience.
The question in the feedback form that asks them which local publications they read will tell you exactly where you can leverage your marketing message with the 12 Advertising Response Triggers in a local Media, WITHOUT having to guess or spend your money to find the answer.
Advanced Strategy for
Highly Profitable Headlines
Ever wonder which benefit is most valuable to your ideal target prospect so that your headlines stop them in their tracks? Your testimonial system will tell you exactly what benefit your prospects value most. All you have to do is do a word density study to see which benefit is most valued by your clients by reviewing your feedback forms. The word people use to describe what I have done for them more than any other word is “Excellent” or “Excellence”. What is your single greatest benefit your provide your clients? Do this exercise and you will no longer need to guess at which benefits in your headline will attract the best clients and bring you the highest Return On Investment (ROI).
I hope you have enjoyed discovering how to get glowing testimonials and reviews from your clients. My message about testimonials is, “Ask and you will get!”
Now set a date to implement this testimonial system, and watch it work for you.
©Copyright, Instant Local Marketing Profits™, All Rights Reserved. This is Your Personal Copy, Do Not Distribute
Sample Patient Feedback Form
We are grateful to have you as our patient today. Your satisfaction is very important to us. We appreciate and value your feedback about your experience as our patient. Can you please share your insights into how we are doing, and how we can continually improve your visits on this feedback form?
How did you hear about us?
What are the 3 top things you liked about your experience on this visit?
What could we have improved on this visit? _______________________________
What is most important to you when you visit our office? ____________________
What will you tell your friends and family about your experience and results?
Whom do you look to for good advice prior to a Dental procedure? __________________________________________________________________
What is the next procedure you are considering? ___________________________
When are you considering having that done? ______________________________
Would it be a good idea for us to contact you then? _________________________
What local publications do you read regularly?_____________________________
I authorize you to use my comments in your marketing materials, and online reviews. – Please circle one – Yes / No
Laguna Dental, 123 Elm St, Laguna Beach, CA. 99999, Phone (949) 999-9999, Fax (949) 999-9998
©Copyright, Instant Local Marketing Profits™, All Rights Reserved. This is Your Personal Copy, Do Not Distribute
For a FREE advertising audit of your print advertising or website and a 15 Minute Marketing Strategy Session, Email Me your ad or website to be reviewed, and I will contact you to schedule a time that will work for both our schedules. I look forward to speaking with you soon!