One of the most valuable marketing tools for a business is the testimonials it receives from satisfied customers. Yet, many businesses never use these testimonials in their sales efforts.
Testimonials are valuable proof to prospective customers that your product or service actually delivers the benefit you claim it will. In some ways, testimonials are like referrals. A customer coming to you by referral from one of their friends or acquaintances is already pre-committed to do business with you. You don't have to convince them that your product or service will provide the benefit they seek. Your ability to deliver is already "guaranteed" by the person giving the referral.
Testimonials from satisfied customers provide that same assurance to a potential customer coming to you without a referral. In every test I performed using the same messages with and without testimonials, those with testimonials increased sales, often by as much as 65% or more.
How To Get Good Testimonials
Satisfied customers will occasionally call or write to you expressing their appreciation without any prompting from you. If you've been in business for some time you probably already have a file of these. However, if you're new in business you may have few or none of these "spontaneous testimonials". How can you get some... and get them fast?
Here's a simple procedure any business can use effectively. A short time after completing a transaction, send your customer or client a personal postcard asking what they liked best about your product or service. You'll be amazed at some of the glowing comments you'll get. When you receive comments you want to use in your advertising, simply ask the customer to sign a release giving you permission to quote those comments in your promotional material.
The release form I use includes the full text of the customer's comments. I request permission to use the comments "in complete or edited form" so I can shorten the text when it's too long. I also request permission to use the customer's name, city and state so it appears as "Ann Smith, Austin, TX" instead of "A.S., TX". The customer's privacy is protected by omitting the street address.
How To Use Testimonials Effectively
My online and print sales letters usually include 3 testimonials. Each one is only 2 or 3 lines plus the customer's name, city and state.
Be sure to select testimonials stating a specific benefit gained by using your product or service. A testimonial saying, "I bought your widget and am very happy with it" won't motivate anybody else to buy your widget. Instead, use testimonials like this actual testimonial I received from one of my customers: "Hi Bob. I purchased your manual and used one of the ideas to do a mailing which received about a 10% response rate." That's a powerful testimonial and I use it regularly in my promotional material. It states specifically what the customer gained by ordering my manual.
What do testimonials cost? Nothing! They're FREE! I've learned by experience that some customers get offended if I offer to pay for the right to quote their comments. Therefore, I don't offer any compensation. I simply send the release form with a pre-stamped return envelope and ask them to sign and return the form. I don't remember the last time somebody refused my request.
If you're not using testimonials in your promotional material, start using them today. Begin by looking in your customer files for comments you can use. Send postcards to some recent customers asking what they liked most about your product or service. Get permission to quote their comments and include them in your sales material. You'll soon discover FREE testimonials have the amazing power to increase your sales and profits without increasing your costs.