Get Great Testimonials!
When marketing your services, obviously credibility is critical to your success. This includes number of years in business, number of clients served, etc. However, “believability” is even more important than “credibility.” The facts about your business, proprietary systems/methods, and cases resolved, years in business and so on are important, but not nearly as persuasive as what clients have to say about their real-life experiences with you, benefits realized and skepticism erased.
Testimonials are one of the greatest (and least expensive) ways to establish yourself as THE expert in your field. Testimonials build trust and establish your “believability” which is essential to attracting and “closing” clients. It gives your prospective client actual examples of others you have obtained great results for. They also boost your credibility when the client raves about the positive customer service experience they had with your firm. When you come into our lobby one of the first things prospective clients see and read is our two “testimonial” books. Testimonials create desire and motivation; foster an emotional connection and removes skepticism, doubts, concerns and objections. Testimonials “pre-sell” your prospect. Getting a third party to “vouch” for you is essential to growing your practice. Testimonials are powerful social proof that we’re making a real difference in our client’s lives!
1. Know when to ask for testimonials: Obtaining a testimonial at the end of a client’s case is NOT the only time to ask for one. You should ask for one at different benchmarks in your client’s case. For example, you should ask for a testimonial after you were successful in lifting that wage garnishment or bank levy. They are the most grateful then! Another time you should ask for testimonials is at the completion of the tax preparation phase of the engagement especially if you are preparing multiple years of unfiled returns that resulted in decreasing their original tax liability.
2. What are the right questions to ask? Here’s a list of questions that we ask our clients. You should frame your questions in such a way to elicit answers that you’ll be able to use in your marketing and advertising. For example:
• What is your overall feeling about our firm?
• Describe a particular experience with us that made you very happy.
• Was there any matter or office procedure that you felt could be improved upon?
• Describe one or more benefits you received from us that you value the most.
• How else did you benefit from our working together?
• What results have you achieved since we started working together?
• Would you recommend our services to family or friends?
3. When following up with a client you should have a system in place to make sure you get back the completed testimonial forms. What good is it if you went through the trouble of designing a testimonial system, sending it to the client, and not getting any of them back to use? Most professionals skip this step and wind up with just a few testimonials or none at all. I suggest delegating the follow up process to someone in your office who gives you a daily written update on all clients that haven’t sent back their testimonial to you. This should include name, phone number and e-mail address, date of contact, what was discussed, date client promised to return the testimonial, etc. and keep following up.
4. Pick the correct format depending on where you want to showcase your testimonials you will want your testimonials to either be in written form (most common), videotaped, audio taped, placed on social media or done as a “case study” (a “before and after” testimonial).
5. Putting the finishing touches on the testimonial give it a headline that sums it up in 3-4 words. This headline should “speak” to your ideal prospective client and stand out. Make sure you send the final version for the client to approve in writing and maintain these in a permanent file. Let your client know that you’ll be using these on your website and ask if you can include his/her name, City and/or State, and job title. If appropriate (depending on use) ask for a headshot too. I have done many video testimonials that I used in TV ads that performed quite well!
6. Ready for Prime Time and Share it! Now’s it’s time to share it with the universe. Create a dedicated testimonial page on your website. Use them throughout your website. Use them on landing pages. Use them in your firm brochures and business cards. Use them in all your marketing and advertising. Use them in your consultations/evaluations as a sales tool. Remember that stories sell. When speaking with a prospect relate a testimonial story from someone you already achieved great results for that had the same or similar fact set. You want to show your prospect that you “get” their struggles and how you’ve helped others overcome these same problems.
Do you have a testimonial system that you are using on a regular basis? What part of your testimonial system are you going to improve on this month?