Article 129 – Small Business Marketing – Getting Testimonials – How Your Customers Can Help You Sell

The best and most enthusiastic advocates for your business, apart from you and, hopefully your employees, are often satisfied customers.

If your business inspires delight and enthusiasm in your customers, you are obviously doing something right, so why not harness that positive energy and make it work for you, by recruiting those customers to do some selling on your behalf?

Here's how to get them to give you a testimonial:

  1. Ask everyone . This seems like an incredibly obvious statement, but very few businesses ask any of their customers to commit their support. My suggestion is, ask every single one of them. They will not all say yes, but at least that way you'll get some. The best testimonials will come primarily from your regular customers, because they know you well and will provide more detailed reasons why they like you. However, occasional clients can sometimes be very enthusiastic in their praise and finally, some of the best testimonials I have ever seen, came from customers who had experienced problems and made a complaint. Why? Because their complaints got fixed so well, that they became loyal, lifelong customers.
  2. Get details . Ask your testimonial givers to give as much detail as possible. Rather than have them write it all down, make it easy for them and do it in the form of an interview. That way you can guide them to the right areas and then you can put their words into your own. This is much less contentious than taking their words and editing them. Write the testimonial in this format: state the original problem or requirement; explain how your business solved it and finally, state what the outcome was for the customer. At the end include an enthusiastic quote from them. Finally, type it all up, include a picture of the customer and show it to them for their approval.
  3. Agree terms of contact . It is important that a testimonial is checkable, so make sure that your envoy is happy to be occasionally contacted, by other prospective customers. Tell them that you will only give out their details with their prior approval and reassure them that this will happen rarely. In fact how often will depend on two factors; how many testimonials you have in total and the value of what you sell – the higher the value, the more that prospects will need re-assurance. You can agree to reward your testimonial givers for each time they help if you like, but be careful that the reward is not so great as to sway their judgment. You still want them to be fair and impartial.

Build yourself a portfolio of strong testimonials this way, publicize them broadly and you will soon find that your new customers are already half way sold before they get to you.

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