Using Testimonials Effectively

In this article we are going to look at a simple but under-utilised and often misused marketing tool – testimonials!

Before we even start I want you to immediately throw away all of the preconceived notions you have on testimonials. As mentioned above, testimonials are generally not used well, so you should consider the possibility that what you are doing now is either not working or, at least, not maximising the opportunities that they offer your business.

Here are our 10 rules for making testimonials work in your business:

1. If you do not ask you shall not receive

Just like asking for referrals, asking for testimonials is not the easiest thing for a salesperson to do. Good salespeople are naturally looking for the next opportunity and want to start talking to the next prospect, however; you need to discipline yourself (or your team) to ask for testimonials as often as possible. We would suggest creating an automatic follow up plan in your CRM software to allocate tasks to the relevant people in your business to obtain a testimonial after a sale or purchase.

2. Time is not always kind to you

As we all know, time is not always kind to us. You need to ask for a testimonial fairly shortly after the completion of a transaction. The euphoria of the deal will wear off quickly, so ensure you ask for the testimonial within 14 days of completion to get the best testimonials.

3. Put your testimonials into context

Sliding a testimonial letter under a prospect’s nose can be effective, but not nearly as effective as providing the letter together with your ‘story’ on the nature of the transaction and what you did that made the client so impressed. A testimonial is an opportunity for you to prove that you will do what you say you do. It is an opportunity to show why you are different. You need to assume that the prospect will question the quality of the testimonial and the independence of the writer. Taking a few minutes to verbally describe the transaction and your relationship with the people providing the testimonial will make all the difference.

Another great way to provide a testimonial is to relate it to a historical sale that you are using in your CMA (comparative market analysis). First of all, talk about the property and the price achieved and then provide the testimonial. It is all about putting the testimonial into context which makes it far more meaningful and believable.

4. Testimonials are not just Client Testimonials

Now I know that when I say testimonial, you are immediately thinking client testimonial. This is the first misconception. Client testimonials are but a portion of all of the testimonials you should have. If you are a project marketer you should have testimonials from other agents that you have worked with, advertising agencies and other professionals such as finance brokers and accountants. If you are a residential brokerage agent get testimonials from franchise representatives, other agents and even respected members of the community. They all help to demonstrate your professionalism, credibility and trustworthiness.

5. Testimonials have a use by date

You need to include dates on your testimonials to provide them with credibility. Client testimonials in particular generally start losing their impact after 3 to 6 months. So replenish with new ones at least every 6 months.

6. Reward people who provide testimonials

A good testimonial is tantamount to a referral. You should reward people who provide you with a testimonial as a sign of gratitude. A voucher at a local coffee shop or a simple bunch of flowers will suffice.

7. Use the full testimonial

Don’t be tempted to cut the seemingly bad or irrelevant parts of a testimonial out. Provide the full testimonial with the full name and details of the provider (ensure you have confirmed it is ok to supply their details). It will make it far more believable.

8. Start thinking multimedia

Written testimonials are the most common and practical, but certainly not the only way to present a testimonial. Consider using audio and video as a means of delivering a testimonial. You can syndicate this content on iTunes and Youtube as well, providing additional marketing benefits.

9. Use testimonials on your website

Don’t limit testimonials to your marketing presentations only. Maximise the benefits by putting them on your website and even consider including some particularly positive comments in your print marketing material. If you are getting great testimonials you should ensure you use them.

10. Create marketing material requesting testimonials

Create a poster and put it in the reception of your office requesting testimonials. Add a call to action asking for testimonials to your website. Add it to your email signature. Use your existing marketing channels to actively generate testimonials.

Action Plan:
Print out this article and work your way through these 10 points. If, by the end of the week, you have implemented an element of each item, you will be well on your way to using testimonials effectively in your business.

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