How to get people to give you powerful testimonials.

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In a previous article, we discussed the importance of endorsements and testimonials in boosting your sales.

In this post, we’re going to be looking at how to obtain powerful endorsements and testimonials that really make an impact.

As I mentioned in the previous post, many people already know that they should be using endorsements and testimonials, but they are often very ineffective.

What do I mean by ineffective?

A testimonial that doesn’t make a specific statement but just gives a vague warm fuzzy ‘I think this business or product is great’ statement is ineffective.  It gives the reader nothing to relate to.  It doesn’t provide any evidence that the reader will truly benefit from the purchase.  It adds nothing to the credibility.

A testimonial that really works is one that spells out specific benefits the user has experienced.  These can be psychological benefits – it made me feel stronger -  or tangible benefits – it gave me a lot more energy.

To illustrate what I mean, let’s take a look at the following real life, published testimonials:

1. Testimonial taken from a well known service supplier’s site:

  • “The benefits I receive from the seemingly endless capabilities and flexibility of the (name of service) have enabled me to not only increase my income by $150,000, but also exponentially increase my list with quality prospects using the (name of service) The level of personal professional support both by email and phone is unmatched anywhere at any price.”

2. Testimonial taken from a well known software supplier’s site:

  • A word”Just to send you congratulations for this software suit. It is really great and it works perfect. I use it in my daily work at the University,Many thanks,

As you can see, Testimonial 1 is much more powerful and persuasive than Testimonial 2.  This is because it cites specifics which makes it:

  • more credible
  • easier to relate to
  • more memorable
  • gives more concrete reasons for the reader to consider a purchase

Testimonial 2, while enthusiastic, is not at all specific and loses impact because of phrases such as “really great” and “works perfect”.  What does ‘really great” mean?  What does “works perfect” mean? These are vague, ambiguous and generic terms that don’t really say anything at all.  It would have been far better for the software company to ask this happy customer to tell them exactly what features he enjoyed using and why – what difference did the software make to his daily work?  Did it make it easier?  Did it allow him to create better looking, easier to print reports?  Did he replace another type of software and what were the problems he’d experienced prior to installing this new suite?

Creating a powerful testimonial or endorsement is relatively simple.

Here’s a step by step guide to getting the kind of information that will make your prospects sit up and take notice:

  1. with each sale make sure there is a follow up survey done
  2. ask specific questions relating to the product or service that will highlight the benefits that the customer may experience but allow them to answer this in their own words.  Make the questions open ended rather than able to be answered by a ‘yes’ or ‘no’.  For instance, you might ask “How has this product or service improved your health?” or “What have you noticed happening since you began using this product?” instead of “Has this product improved your health?” or “Do you notice a difference since you began using this product?”
  3. Ask questions that lead the customer to make comparisons between other products they’ve used and yours, or comparisons between a before and after situation.
  4. Ask questions that are geared to obtain answers that speak directly to possible objections your prospects may have, such as “How reliable have you found our company to be?”  rather than “Were you satisfied with our service?”
  5. When looking for endorsements, ask questions that prompt responses highlighting the candidates credibility such as “In your profession as….. what is your opinion of….”

It sometimes helps to prepare a list of questions that you can get all customers to answer so that the testimonials all speak of specific ‘hot’ issues.  You can then choose to use one or two of the answers from each customer, so that your testimonials don’t all appear to be the same.  It’s important that they come across natural, spontaneous and sincere rather than looking as if they are survey results.

Doing this gives you a library of 3rd party endorsements that can be used for different purposes – some on printed material, some on the internet and some in emails.  Or you can rotate them on your site so that you always have fresh material.  This method of getting endorsements and testimonials helps you gain them on a consistent basis and it makes it easy for you to approach your customer when it is a natural part of the sales process.  It also makes it easy for your customer to express their satisfaction.

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