When clients have positive feedback for you – or better yet, when they write it down; you have a potentially powerful marketing tool. In this podcast, business growth expert David Blaise explains how to leverage these to your best advantage.
If you’ve been selling for any length of time, it’s likely that at least a client or two has said something nice about you, something positive. At least I hope they have!
Maybe they complimented you on your creativity or let you know how much they appreciated the way you handled a time-sensitive order. Maybe they told you about someone in your organization who went above and beyond for them.
In any event, when clients say nice things about you — or better yet, when they write them down– be sure to say “thank you,” of course. But don’t stop there. Ask if it’s okay with them if you quote them.
Over the years, I’ve received many notes, letters, emails and texts from happy clients. When this happens, I will often write back and say, “thank you so much for your feedback. I appreciate it. Do you mind if I quote you in my marketing materials?” If they say yes, you’re good to go. And in my experience, at least nine times out of ten people will say yes.
In fact, I’ve found that even the one holdout will very likely allow you to use their quote if you agree not to use their name.
And while client testimonials are far more effective when attached to a real, credible, verifiable human being, even the occasional anonymous quote can be helpful when it’s surrounded by lots of other verified testimonials.
On my websites, I use a combination of video, audio and print testimonials to make the case for my products and services.
Video testimonials can be extremely powerful, because you get to see and hear people tell their own stories in their own words. Audio testimonials are good because you can actually hear the person, but in those cases, I also like to show a picture of the client who provided the testimonial so people can put a face with the name and the voice.
Print testimonials can also be very persuasive, whether physically printed or reproduced digitally on a website. These are particularly effective when accompanied by a strong headline and a photo of the person providing the testimonial.
The More Specific the Better
I’ve seen people use testimonials without providing names. Just a bunch of unattributed quotes. That always looks a little shady to me.
Some people use just first names and cities for their testimonials. For example, “Bill from Chicago.” That’s a little too broad for my taste — too easy to make something like that up. First name and last initial isn’t much better. “Bill R from Chicago.” Could be a lot of those. So generally speaking, the more information you can include the better. If you can use first name, last name, company name, city, state and a picture of the person, that’s far more credible.
Specificity also helps a lot in the comments themselves. If I see something that says “You guys are great! Bill R from Chicago,” it doesn’t tell me much. But if I see something that says “The promotion you recommended generated 12 new accounts in the first month,” that seems a lot more specific and therefore a lot more credible. Particularly if it’s followed by Bill’s full name, company name and city.
These Days It’s Easy to Use Video and Voicemail to Gather Customer Comments
When I meet a client at a tradeshow who says something nice about a result we were able to get for them, I’ll very often say, “Hey, can you say that again? I want to shoot it on my phone and put it up on our ‘wall of fame?'”
Our wall of fame is a testimonial page on our website where we showcase client comments. If they say yes, I just ask them to give their name, their company name and then talk about the experience they had with us. More often than not, the results are fantastic.
If the video doesn’t turn out well or if the customer is not happy with it, we may end up using just the text of their comments with a photo. In any event, great feedback is better than no feedback at all.
Some people even have luck asking clients to shoot a quick video themselves using their computer webcam or smartphone and either sending it to them or posting it on YouTube. Some even hold contests providing prizes for testimonials. I haven’t done that myself, because to me it seems a little too much like paying for testimonials, but some people have done it very effectively.
You can also set up a voicemail box or answering machine for feedback. When clients leave those messages, get their permission to use their voice testimonials on your website, ask them if they have a head-shot or publicity photo that you can put with it and you can build quite an arsenal of testimonials.
For longer written testimonials, I often use the digital equivalent of a yellow highlighter on the page to call attention to the points I want people to notice. For some projects I’ll use a compilation video to show multiple clients at the same time.
In short, positive comments and feedback from clients should never be relegated to desk drawers, file folders, passing remarks and faded memories. They should be captured and promoted aggressively to new prospects and clients in your brochures, websites and marketing materials.
If you’d like to take a look at the Top Secrets wall of fame and get an idea of how I put testimonials to work in my own business, visit www.topsecrets.com/feedback.