Last weekend, my wife Beth and I were on a weekend trip. We wanted to go out for a nice dinner but weren’t quite sure where to go since we weren’t all that familiar with the town we were in. As Beth perused a local magazine for restaurant reviews, I logged onto the internet to search for the top-rated restaurants in the area. We settled on a steakhouse that was a more than a little bit out of the way and not so easy to get to. Why? Because the restaurant had phenomenal reviews both online and in the local magazine. That was enough to convince us we should take our business there because we were likely have a great experience.
So it is in business. Before people come to you for a particular product or service, they often want the comfort of knowing what others have said about you. Testimonials carry a level of credibility because they come from someone who has direct experience with your product or service. Consumers generally place more trust in a testimonial from another consumer than in a business’s own marketing message. They believe the average person is unbiased and has nothing to gain from providing a testimonial. Thie business stands to gain–or lose–everything, so its own words are seen as less trustworthy.
Have you ever asked a satisfied client for a written testimonial? I recommend making this standard practice for your business.
Written testimonials can be used in many ways to enhance your credibility and set you above your competition. Here are some key ways to use testimonials:
1. Place them on your business’s website. Some websites have them strategically sprinkled throughout so there’s at least one testimonial on each page. Others have a dedicated page where a browser can view several testimonials at once.
2. If your business attracts a lot of walk-in clients, it’s helpul to display your written testimonials, each encased in a plastic sheet protector, in a three-ring binder labled “What our customers say about us” or “Client Testimonials.” Keep this binder on a table in your reception area, where your customers can browse through it while waiting for services. It’s a good way to connect with your prospects and enhance your relationship with current clients.
3. Include testimonials with your business proposals. This works best if you have a wide variety to choose from; you can include a section of testimonials that are most relevant to a specific proposal.
If you make it standard practice to ask clients and contacts for testimonials, you’ll build your credibility and your business.
Be sure to check back next week ,when I’ll present the three keys to successfully using written testimonials and explain how to ask for testimonials.