One of the major headaches new business owners face is having the confidence in selling their services because they feel they don’t have a track record to shout about. This is a real challenge for many and one that has to be overcome quickly.
If you have testimonial about your products, services and how you work then, it is a fabulous way of demonstrating your value at a time when you might be feeling a little shy!
If the client or customer giving the testimonial has a high profile themselves, then others tend to respect and value what they have to say and therefore a more persuasive approach to support your other general marketing activity.
Generally, recommendations help raise your profile and possible introductions to new work opportunities, will often follow word of mouth testimonials from people you know, who know you and what you have to offer.
After all, we all seek advice and guidance from friends, family and associates when we are making a purchasing decision.
In my experience, testimonials are still not used enough and mostly for the following reasons:
• Not sure how to ask for one
• Nervous about the reaction you might get
• Assumptions that a recommendation shouldn’t be asked for at all
• Lack of confidence in yourself and in the value of the work provided, particularly in new and young businesses
So, which are the best ways of gathering some testimonial for your business? Here are a few ideas:
If you have had some positive feedback for your work, develop a habit of asking if you can use it in your marketing, you might say, “Thank you for that lovely feedback, would you mind if I used that in my future marketing?”
You can add that you don’t have to use their name if they want to be anonymous – there are some businesses where a level of confidentiality is required.
Some networking organisations encourage written testimonials which can then be displayed for all to see, that way your customer can also promote their own business by using headed paper.
It is essential that you do get permission to use testimonial in this way and many who are asked are usually very happy to agree. I have also found that happy clients will also become a willing advocate for your business and talk to prospects personally about their experience of working with you, which is also very reassuring for prospects considering using your products or services.
So, when is the right time to ask? Well, usually when the experience of purchasing from you or working with you is fresh in the customers mind.
One response at this time can be: “Yes of course – what do you want me to say!
Some customers will be comfortable writing a few words based on their experience. Others just unsure of exactly what you need and in what format.
If you want to really capture their appreciation of your work – you might suggest some areas that you want to highlight, for example:
• Why they purchased from you?
• What value did the product or service give them?
• What was it about how you delivered the product and service that impressed them?
• Why should others consider you?
Often the words and language a customer uses is much more appealing and accessible, than the jargon we can sometimes use in our own business. They will describe you and your business in a way that your prospects are more likely to engage with.
Another increasingly popular method would be to ask for video testimonial, which you could use in its entirety or edit for some few good ‘sound bites’. This you can use on your website or You Tube account if you have one.
Remember, you want the whole process to be effective, so ask people who you know will feel comfortable and who will enjoy the experience – it is also an opportunity for them to promote themselves at the same time.
The process of building testimonials and recommendations for your business is an ongoing one and that also means that you need to be mindful of their relevance and whether a testimonial needs updating.
The way you do business needs to reflect your attitude to the experience your customers have working with you and maintain the highest standards so that your testimonials keep coming.
What people perceive about your business has an enormous effect on whether or not you attract the kind of customers you want, however you will only maintain your reputation by delivering product and services of quality that add value.
So, for those of you who are a little nervous, think about someone you have worked with recently who was thrilled with what you did and you haven’t a testimonial from them – will you ask?