Suddenly, the thought occurs - too late.
You’re this close to clinching a new client, when you’re asked who you’ve worked with, and if they can speak to your performance.
That’s when you think, "Why don’t I have testimonials?" To avoid this awkward situation, don’t wait until you need customer referrals and reviews to start gathering praise from your customers and partners!
The majority of people read reviews for local businesses. 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. Potential customers are looking online for someone else’s opinion to trust, almost as much as they trust the opinion of a friend.
Take Dancing Guy. One guy, dancing on his own, built a massive mob of devoted dancers by starting with just one follower.
Look at your business. One piece of praise for your painting services, automotive detailing business or restaurant can attract more customers, creating a pipeline for more testimonials - and the snowball grows.
So, how do you go about collecting customer testimonials?
The Why, How and How-Not’s of Testimonials
A testimonial is another person’s opinion that a prospective customer can take as incentive to trust what they don’t yet know. It’s social proof. People use the behavior of others to guide their own choices and make what they feel to be a sound decision. “If other people like it, I probably will too - right?”
Good testimonials can come in many forms. Client lists, partner agency logos and customer stories are all solid ways for your business to build credibility.
Customer quotes bring a personalized touch to your website. Scott’s Cheap Flights took it a step further and put the success of their product up front, showing how much money customers have saved alongside their testimonials. You can also branch out into multimedia testimonials, like video, which can be embedded right on your site.
When it comes to finding testimonials, you need to be specific about how and when you ask for one. Make it easy for customers to give you a great review by asking them soon after you’ve provided them with your goods or services.
If customer feedback isn’t gleaming to the point where you’d want to feature it on your website, you can still get value from it by asking what could have been improved.
If you run a local business, you can also take Facebook, Google, YouTube or in-person comments and turn them into testimonials on your website. Prompt customers (“What did you think of your experience?”) or incentivize them, but don’t forgot to get their permission to post it on your website.
You should also look around for press and blog mentions of your company. You can put the internet to work for you by setting up an automated Google Alert so that you can get an email anytime your business shows up in a new search result.
Asking customers for that special gesture
If you’re uncomfortable asking if a customer would share a few words about your work, start by asking for feedback and segue into asking to use their notes as a testimonial. You can find out what you did well and what needs improvement, while also finding these potential reviews. Asking for feedback will also help avoid putting customers on the spot, and will keep the quotes sounding natural.
If you’re bold, you can ask them right after they sign a statement of work, “Why did you decide to work with us?” The residual excitement will still be there, and it will bleed into their testimonials. Even better, their statement won’t just be about the end result, they’ll have the struggles you helped them to overcome along the way as well.
Once they’ve provided you with a verbal testimonial, write up 2–3 versions on their behalf to see which they prefer.
This is where the magic happens.
You'll show that you understand your customers’ objections ("Err, we typically never work with external teams...”), your key selling points and key messages (“Well, your focus on our industry won us over!” or “Enterprise software was too complicated, but yours was simple enough for our teams and customers to understand!”)
Alternatively, you can walk them through the steps required to draft up a testimonial, giving them point form prompts to start them off.
Writing a testimonial for someone else might feel weird, but it doesn't have to be! Logistically, it’s practical, because it takes the hard work of figuring out what to write off the customer’s plate. You can start off talking about the customer’s doubt, or the points you want to strengthen.
Drumming up more business
Once you’ve got your glowing reviews and testimonials, you can have some fun! It’s time to decide which ones you’d like to showcase on your website, and on which pages.
You could create a whole website or page just for your testimonials, but you don’t have to — you could simply put them in areas relating to the work you’ve done for people. Using testimonials sparingly on a Homepage or Landing page can ensure that prospective clients are seeing proof of your success right off the bat. Your About page is also a good spot, as a reader would already be there to find out more about your company.
Testimonials can also work double time for your business. Put them on information sheets you send to clients inquiring about your services. Try using them in LinkedIn recommendations. You can highlight them in banner advertisements as well.
No matter what avenue you choose to put your testimonials on display, it will go a long way to encouraging new business on your website. Focus on tracking down your customers’ thoughts and turning them into profitable praise or actionable feedback. It all comes back to the #1 fundamental business pillar - talk to your customers, and listen to what they have to say. It’s be crucial to your success.