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3 Simple Steps for Gathering Effective Testimonials

Aug 26, 2008
I've recently suffered a computer crash, and one of the folders that wasn't backed up was one that contained all my testimonials. So I'm now on a mad-scramble to try to acquire new testimonials to use in my future marketing.

Testimonials are an awesome way to boost your sales and grow your bottom line. There's nothing like social proof for easing your prospects' minds and encouraging them to buy. Testimonials should be used everywhere - in your sales letters, on your websites, on your direct mail postcards, in your email marketing.

But it's true that some testimonials are more effective than others, and some just don't do the job at all. So what can you do to ensure that your own customers provide you with award-winning, or shall I say sales-generating, testimonials? Just follow these 3 simple steps:

Ask the right customers. It's a fact of life, you're just going to resonate better with certain customers. You like them, they like you. You consider them your "perfect customer". These are the customers you want to ask for testimonials. Not only are they more likely to say "Yes" but others just like them will relate to their testimonials. Then you'll be on your way to generating even more of your perfect customer!

Ask specific questions. Maybe an artist likes a blank canvass, but the rest of us usually don't. Ask a client "Can I have a testimonial?" and you're likely to end up with "Your store is great." Not very effective, is it? Help your customers provide specific (and effective) testimonials by asking specific questions. Try asking things like:

How has our product changed your day-to-day business activities?
How much time have you saved by using our XYZ service?
How has your bottom line been effected by becoming a client of our company?

Ask for permission. Always ask your customer for permission to use his testimonial and permission to include his name. Now, I minored in Psychology in college, so I'm going to let you in on the secret behind this tip. By asking your customer for permission to use his name, you are reminding him (subliminally, at least) that he is taking a social stand in favor of your product or business. Once he takes a social stand, he is very unlikely to back down from this position. Not only will his testimonial help generate new customers, but it will also cement your current customer's loyalty to your business.

Once you've gathered your effective testimonials, start peppering them all over each of your marketing pieces - your website, your sales letters, your emails, etc. You'll see your sales improving in no time at all!

Action Item

Spend at least 30 minutes brainstorming a list of your "favorite customers" who you would like to ask for testimonials. Once you have that list ready, spend another 30 minutes brainstorming a list of specific questions you can use to help your customers provide effective testimonials.
About the Author
Karen Scharf is an Indianapolis marketing consultant who works with small business owners and entrepreneurs. She offers several whitepapers, free reports and checklists, including her FREE Can-Spam checklist and FREE email pre-flight checklist to ensure your emails get delivered, get opened and get read. Download your copies at http://www.ModernImage.com.
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