Offer proof to your prospects. It's not enough to say that you solve problems - you have to show that your customers are getting results from your business. Testimonials are one of the most powerful and cost effective selling tools you can implement in your arsenal of marketing. Why? Because you are offering evidence to your prospects from their peers attesting that your services/products actually work. Wendy Maynard publishes MAVEN MARKETING, a weekly marketing ezine for business owners, freelancers, and entrepreneurs. If you're ready to skyrocket your sales, easily attract customers, and have more fun, subscribe at http://www.gomarketingmaven.com/ezine_3.html
Providing testimonials from current and prior customers that demonstrate their actual problem and the specific results from your company enhances your credibility. Testimonials offer proof that you are the real deal. People receive a lot of information and they are often skeptical. But, they will be much more inclined to buy from you if you show examples of their peers who have achieved positive results. These third-party endorsements work to sell for you - even when you are not around.
If you are offering a new product or just starting your business, you can contact business associates and friends to offer them a free session or product sample to try. If you have been in business for a while but haven't collected testimonials, make a list of all of your customers who you know have had a GREAT experience with your services or products. Even if you already have a number of testimonials, don't stop collecting new ones. You can replace mediocre praise with the incredible ones. You can also keep your testimonials up to date and current.
Here are some ideas and opportunities to obtain new testimonials:
1. Write down the praise: Whenever one of your customers gives you a compliment in person or via e-mail, thank him or her and then ask if you can use their comment as a testimonial. Make sure he or she understands that you will be using it in your marketing materials. If someone sends you a testimonial that requires editing, go ahead and edit it, but be sure to send it back to ask if the changes are okay - explain the editing was for brevity, clarity, grammar, etc.
2. Create a website link: Another easy method to help you collect testimonials is to include a link on your website that lets people click on it to give their feedback. "Click here to let me know what you think." Put this link next to testimonials you've already placed on your site to provide other examples.
3. Offer an incentive: Periodically you can have a "testimonial drive." Send out an e-mail and offer an incentive for your customers to provide a testimonial. Depending on what type of business you run, it could be a coupon, discount, free services, and so on.
4. Make it part of your sales cycle: As you wrap up an interaction with a customer, ask them for a testimonial. BEFORE you complete your work with a customer, ask him or her to provide a testimonial with tangible and specific results from working with you or from your products. If you wait until your work is complete, you may have a more difficult time getting a testimonial since your customer can move into an "out of sight, out of mind" place. For example, if you are a financial planner, you could ask them toward the end of your sessions together. If you run a Garden Center, have cards by the register and a drop box.
5. Ask your "star performers" for testimonials: Almost every business collects raving fans. These are the individuals who buy every book you sell, the customer who you see in your store three times each week, or that individual who gets an incredible result from using your offerings. Make a point of asking these individuals to give a testimonial. If they have just had a BIG result, be sure to ask them right afterwards.
6. Follow-up after a purchase: Use an autoresponder like www.mavenmerchant.com to automatically follow up with a customer who has purchased something from you to ask them how they are doing. Ask them to provide a testimonial.
Here are some specific ways you can use testimonials to enhance your marketing materials:
Wendy Maynard publishes MAVEN MARKETING, a weekly marketing ezine for business owners, freelancers, and entrepreneurs. If you're ready to skyrocket your sales, easily attract customers, and have more fun, subscribe at http://www.gomarketingmaven.com/ezine_3.html