Testimonials are the very best marketing materials you have, bar none. I truly don’t care how good your marketing department is, how much you invest in marketing materials, etc. You will never have a better marketing piece than a testimonial from a happy customer. The trouble is that most salespeople don’t know how to get a testimonial.
That’s because a testimonial allows a prospective customer to see you through THEIR eyes – and that bridges the credibility gap. That’s the hardest thing to do when attracting new customers. So, with that in mind, I’m going to talk about a few ways to get testimonials, and show you a very recent example of the easiest way to get them.
Testimonials used to be hard to get. You had to ask your customer to write a letter on their letterhead, and sometimes they would and sometimes they wouldn’t. Even your happiest customers sometimes don’t take time to write a testimonial letter; they just get busy and it gets pushed to the bottom of the stack. Technology makes testimonials a lot easier to get. Here is how to get a testimonial in three methods, from toughest to easiest:
- The old school. Yes, you can still ask for the testimonial letter. And your odds of getting one are roughly the same as they always have been – about 50/50 if the customer is truly happy. Those aren’t bad odds and if you ask enough customers, you’re going to get one.
- The LinkedIn recommendation. Easier than the testimonial is the LinkedIn recommendation. The Recommendations section is, fortunately, one thing that LinkedIn has left in their free option (thus far), and I like it a lot. It’s pretty simple to use. Here’s LinkedIn’s tutorial on getting them. NOTE: Do not confuse LinkedIn “endorsements” with LinkedIn RECOMMENDATIONS. Their “endorsement” section is meaningless – it just asks people to check boxes. I have endorsements for things that I don’t do and have never done.
- The video testimonial. Now we’re talking! This is one way you can really make tech work for you. When you’re meeting with customers, they have a tendency to say a lot of nice things about you. Wouldn’t it be great if prospects could see and hear them do it? You have a smartphone, right? All you have to do is ask the customer to say those things, again, on video. Explain to them why. My favorite way is to say, “I really appreciate that. You know, one way that I attract new customers is through comments like that from customers like you. Would you mind repeating those great words on video?” The vast majority of customers will be happy to do so. Then you turn on your video camera on your phone and record them.You can either just ask them to repeat what they said, or even do a little interview with them. I had just such an opportunity yesterday after a Sales Audit with Excel Linen and the raw video is below. The reason I left it raw, rather than editing out some of it (for instance, me asking questions), is that I wanted you to see how the process works. It’s easy. In fact, I probably didn’t do as good a job on this one as I could have; few of my clients are local these days, so I am a bit out of practice on face to face testimonial gathering. Still, when opportunity knocks, you answer.
Wait, you’re saying that most of your sales calls are video and not face to face, so this won’t work? Sure it will. All major video conferencing platforms have an option to record. Record your conversation and then download it and convert it into a video you can use. Make the tech work FOR you, not against you.
Once you have a testimonial, USE IT. Post about your recommendations on LinkedIn. Splash the video all over social media. Have them handy on your phone to show your customers. And don’t think that a testimonial on one platform has to stay there. Transcribe video comments and put them in text form on your website. Take a LinkedIn recommendation and use it as a video frame. Once people have said how awesome you are, for the record, you have a duty to USE IT!
Now go get some testimonials. Here’s my video from yesterday.