And the who, what, when, where, and how
Anyone can boast that they are the best, that doesn’t mean you are going to believe them. The true art is in getting your customers to do it for you.
A positive review of your business or services, from an existing or past customer, is social proof that you are what you say you are. Just consider the times you've checked reviews before you booked a night at a hotel, or took a restaurant recommendation from a friend.
You speaking for yourself is merely necessity, whereas customer testimonials arise out of a willingness to speak on your behalf. The customer has no obligation praise you, yet they have. That sends a strong message and is precisely how word of mouth affects marketing success.
There's no right or wrong when it comes to how to get customer testimonials. It just depends on your relationship with said customers. You might feel comfortable calling or emailing a loyal customer to outright ask for a testimonial, or you may wish to wait until you receive positive feedback and be ready with a “please may we use that” reply.
Email communications and your website are the obvious platforms. But let's not forget that social media acts as a digital word of mouth, so you simply must be active on at least one social platform. View any form of liking or sharing as a type of mini testimonial. Facebook business pages allow reviews, and Linkedin has a recommendation feature.
Prospects want to know that others like them have found success with your product or service. They key here is 'like them': sometimes individuals within your target market needs a wee nudge towards realising that you're a good fit. We all want to be part of the cool kids club.
The most convincing testimonials are ones which answer a question or objection a prospect might have. When requesting testimonials, ask a specific set of questions you would like answered. E.g. “What problem were you having”, “what did we do to solve this?”, “what results have you seen?”.
It seems we already covered this one, but here's some extra reasons just in case. It's harder to object when there's evidence of results; use it as an opportunity to highlight a specific service or benefit; prospects begin to relate with a human experience and not just a brand experience (use names and or photos if you can).
Word of mouth isn't losing its status as king of marketing tools, any time soon. So buddy up, and let others make the impression for you. When? Now! We can help you get those stories out- but don't take our word for it, take theirs!