Let me start this conversation like this…”Do you want your company to be all over the internet with bad press or good press?” Testimonials are one of the most unique and fastest way to sell and brand your product. They also happen to be an older method of marketing that is often forgotten. But ask yourself this one question, “When you go looking for a special item you want to buy that you’ve never purchased before, what is the first thing you do?” Nine times out of ten, you either call a friend to see which brand they use or you check the internet to find out more on that particular item you are getting ready to invest in.
For instance, when I decided to buy my last car, I knew I wanted an SUV that seated more than 6 people, the only thing was I wasn’t sure which one was the safest, best on gas, etc. So, I took a poll of all of my friends to see what they thought of their large SUV’s. Once I narrowed it down to my top three, I started researching what other people had to say about each of those three models (I didn’t really care at that point about the features or benefits as much as was there any great story about how these vehicles had saved a life due to the safety features, or some amazing story on the vehicle flipping and no one being hurt). I also was looking for complaints from real people in little forums. I wanted to know the real story before I forked out thousands of dollars.
With the internet now readily available to so many people, and everyone having something to say via blogs, social networks, and email, you almost have to stay ahead of the negative press as best you can. Testimonials that speak well about your products and company are the best way to do this.
In my direct line of business we sell large capital equipment that range from $100,000 to $1,000,000. Anytime we sell one of these pieces of equipment we request that the customer give us a testimonial on how their buying experience was, and if possible how the piece of equipment will cut costs for them or how our customer service team had helped them. Usually, our customers are thrilled to do this, because right after the sale, they are excited to have the new piece of equipment because its still new. Many customers will offer this years after having our equipment, but we prefer to ask right after the sale or right after we successfully saved their company money on how they do their process using our equipment.
So what does all of this have to do with your business?
My suggestion to you is to start collecting stories on your products you sell today! If you sell shoes, then ask your repeat customers to submit stories on how their buying experience is/was and also about the products you sell. Credibility as to your products goes a long way, especially with all the bad news that people will write on the internet. It’s kind of sad on one hand because the facts are that your reputation can be ruined by a few bad complaints if someone decides to write online that they were dissatisfied. Rather than depending on someone to write something good and be found in google, be proactive by loading your testimonials to your website to ensure if someone looks your business up online or your products they will find the wonderful positive stories about your company.
Most people in the world are just like the rest of us in Missouri (the show me state), who want to know, “Show me what I’ll get first and let me hear how it helped someone else,” this is really a no brainer and a MUST DO! I highly recommend that you use the internet to feed your data along with social media if you want to be on top of your game. If you need help with the testimonial interview process, I plan on putting up some generic questions in a later post, so stay tuned!
By the way, I ended up buying an Armada…based on a random person I saw driving one who said she had back problems but not while driving that car. Gotta admit, it’s the best driving experience I have ever had!
3 responses to “New ways to reach your customers with an old technique”
you ROCK Sylva, but i find too many testimonials tedious on sites, make them accessable to your potential customers but don’t shove them down their throats, have a seperate 1 click link to testimonials. IMHO. xQ)
Agreed, you need to have a separate page for testimonials on a website. If you are looking to really use the power of a testimonial, having the best one on the home page with a thumbnail photo of the client is a great method of closing those clients who are on the fence about making a purchase. Then, you can have a special page dedicated to testimonials, broken down by product. As long as they are clearly labeled so that customers can find the page, it should be a win-win for everyone involved. Thanks for your feedback!
Great post. The testimonial is still the most powerful type of social “proof,” and is still one of the most naturally persuasive methods available.
You’re right, though; not everyone uses them the right way…