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How to get testimonials that stand out

by Alison Bradford

Post image for How to get testimonials that stand out

Why bother with testimonials?

It’s about getting ‘social proof’ – people who are interested in  buying from you are also interested to see and hear what other people have said, who have already bought from you.

When you are looking to make a purchase nowadays, you are surrounded by a mass of information to help you in the the buying decision.

Forget the old ‘buyer beware’, it’s more about ‘seller beware’ now as your potential customers may know more about what you are selling than you do.

How many times do you go and research something online or ask your networks before making a purchase?

It’s rare to find a website nowadays that doesn’t include some form of customer ratings and reviews.

It’s reassuring to buyers to read (or watch) a review of someone who they relate to, and is likely to help them make their decision about whether to buy or not.

Avoid the blah, blah, blah…

Having testimonials is no longer something you can do to be different to your competitors. It’s expected that your competitors will have them too.

It is possible to stand out with them though by thinking about how you get them and how you use them.

Go and have a look at some of the testimonials on your competitor sites and see what they say. Lots are likely to sound very similiar and be quite generic e.g. “Company x provided a great service and we wouldn’t hesitate to use them again” Blah, blah, blah…

This is often because we leave it up to our customers to come up with something off the cuff, and we can all struggle to come up with something when put on the spot.

Make it easy for your customers to give you testimonials that stand out by asking them these 3 questions

  1. What was your situation before working with me / making the purchase?
  2. How is it different now? What has changed?
  3. What would you say to someone who is thinking of working with me / buying this product?

Adapt them to fit your business, but you are looking to get them to describe their problems that led them to work with you, how what you have sold them has made a difference to this, and giving some advice to those customers who are thinking about making a purchase from you.

It should still be in the customer’s words, you’re just giving them a framework to make it easier for them.

Do people often tell you that they will do a testimonial for you, but then never get round to it?

This has happened to me – lots!

I’d ask if someone was happy to give me a testimonial and they’d usually say something along the lines of ‘yes, of course, I’ll send something over to you.’

And then, nothing! I used to leave it, thinking that I don’t want to pester people. BUT then I realised that I do exactly the same thing!

People were asking me for testimonials, which I was happy to do, and they’d sit there on my to-do list waiting for that elusive moment ‘when I had time’. Have you ever done this?

This is why you need to make it easy for people to do.

Once you have your questions ready, rather than emailing them over, ask them when you see them next or give them a call. Write down their responses and email it over to them for them to approve.

Reading something and editing it it much easier than having to start from a blank sheet.

Using this approach has worked every time for me. Try it out.

Video testimonials are also becoming really popular, though not everyone is up for doing these!

Ask your customers if you can film them. You can get a good quality video nowadays from your smartphone, you don’t need to hire a professional.

Keep your eyes peeled for ad-hoc testimonials

By this I mean those times when someone sends you an email to thank you, or leaves some feedback on your Facebook page or on Twitter or something else.

Here’s a little tip I use – if someone gives me some feedback on Twitter, I mark it as ‘Favourite’ so that it’s saved to my Favourites list to access at any point.

I can then use this in future marketing material, with their consent of course. (I always ask if someone is happy for me to use their comments, even if they’ve left it in a relatively public place such as Twitter or Facebook.)

How and where to use them

Okay, once you’ve got them, consider how you can use them to help your future customers make a decision to buy from you.

It used to be considered good practice to set up a ‘testimonials’ page if you have a website. This can still help but I think that these are a bit dated nowadays and don’t help to distinguish you.

I’ve just got rid of mine, and instead am now using testimonials interspersed on the pages where I am talking about ‘work with me‘ or the events that I run.

After all, why make it harder for your customers to see this information if it’s of value to them?

Think about how you break up the content so it’s not too wordy. For example, use screenshots of comments from Facebook and Twitter – it can stand out as it’s not too wordy.

Here’s a couple I’ve used to help you think about what you can do:

This was a comment posted to my Facebook page from a 1-to-1 client after one of our sessions.  It was unprompted and didn’t use my question formula but impromptu comments like these are not only great for you to have as a business owner, but your customers will like to read them too.

This was posted to Twitter by one of the attendees on my Rock Your Business Bootcamp, after our first day together:

Over to you…

Spend just 5 or 10 minutes now to consider how you are going to use testimonials to stand out, and how you are going to get them.

Leave me a comment to let me know what action you are going to take.

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Alison Bradford

Alison Bradford is a business coach who works with smart, ambitious business owners to get clarity about how they can grow their business and increase profit. Sign up here to learn 6 easy ways you can boost profit in your business today.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Tracy Baines October 12, 2013 at 2:43 pm

Thanks for this great article Alison. I’m in the process of revamping my website and this has totally changed my approach to what I intend to do.

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Alison Bradford October 15, 2013 at 6:26 pm

Thanks Tracy. Let me know how you get on. Would leave to see the new website when it’s ready 🙂

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