Wednesday, June 1, 2016

The Multiplicative Power of Testimonials

Some of the business owners I know get a huge boost from absolutely free advertising---in the form of customer and client testimonials.  These come in the form of spoken messages (usually at networking events but sometimes in videos) and written treatments, usually on web sites but sometimes on printed material.  I'm convinced these are one of the most powerful tools we can use.

For me, a testimonial usually makes me more interested in the person being testified about.  Someone has taken the trouble to sample a product or service, visit a business, or interact with the provider and then takes the effort to speak about that experience.  People don't readily do so (well, unless they are upset!) so there is added information I have about the product or service.

How to get some "good press"?

Observing those in my networking groups, it is clear to me that those who ring in the most testimonials usually ask for someone to sit down with them or to sample what they do.  They also reciprocate and show appreciation for the favor.  I also notice that those known to be "hard sellers" and "not-team-players" don't tend to get testimonials.  All this is to say that no one really feels obliged to talk up a person who is unworthy of the favor.

With the rise of social media, testimonials take on a very critical role.  Those who give testimonials talk about a producer outside that producer's circle, and other people are quickly impacted, some of whom will try something out because of the second-level trust relationship.  I have found myself talking up producers I hardly know because someone I trust vouches for them.

Bottom Line:  You can boost your advertising potential by paving the way for testimonials.  Ask people to try something, for free.  Ask people to listen to your story (but remember to ask what you can do to help them!) and always return the favor!  Ask anyone who does business with you to say something about their experience you can quote and paste to a web site or social media post.  And above all, thank them for taking time to help.

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