Testimonials are one of the most powerful tools any business owner can use, but also one of the most under-utilized.

Testimonials are not limited to any one type of advertising or promotional media. Television ads, radio announcements, newspaper layouts, and infomercials all make use of testimonials.

Often, celebrities are used to promote certain products, especially when national or large-scale exposure is involved, but that’s not always necessary.

Your own clients are some of the best sources of endorsement you could possibly want. Especially if they are known to those you are marketing to, or if they have something else in common… perhaps they live in the same town, have similar businesses, belong to the same organization or association, etc.

There are really only three reasons people don’t buy from you.

  1. They have no use for your product or service.
  2. They can’t afford your product or service.
  3. You haven’t developed the level of trust, credibility, and believability they need in you to do business with you.

There’s not much you can do if a prospect can’t use or pay for your services. But there is a lot you can do to help wipe away the underlying layers of skepticism they bring to the relationship and establish the trust level they need to say “Okay” to your offer.

People don’t like to be the first to do anything…

especially if it involves parting with their hard-earned money. And, they don’t like to be manipulated. The sales world is full of hype and promotion, and oftentimes, false and misleading promotion.

If your customer or prospect can see that others have done what they are being asked to do, or that others are currently doing it, they tend to feel safer and will be more likely to participate. But you first have to relieve any nervousness they may have of being “taken.”

Testimonials are not difficult to get. With new technology, it’s not too difficult to set up a system that sends a quick text message to a customer soon after they have made a purchase. By asking to rate their satisfaction with the product or service you can usually get a quick response. If they give you a low rating, you can respond with the question of how you could improve or make it right. If you receive a high rating, the follow-up question can be if they would leave a testimonial for you.

An “old-school” effective way is to send users of your products or services a questionnaire or evaluation form that asks for their feedback on how they’ve benefited from using the product or service. This is low cost and low tech, but still effective.

The questions should be in “open-ended” form and ask for them to write their feelings about their experience with your product or the service they received from you, and not just for “yes” or “no” answers.

You can always call your clients on the telephone and record the conversation (with their permission, of course). But the best is if you can ask them to shoot a quick video testimonial with you.

By capturing video, you’re showing a higher value social proof that can’t really be faked. Once you have the video, you also have the audio that you can separate and use in other ways.

Then you can transcribe the parts you want to use for print or digital channels. So video is the best option if it’s available.

Often, after a brief warm-up conversation, people will forget the recording is happening, open up and give you all kinds of good, useable information that can be edited for use as a testimonial.

Using testimonials is one of the most effective ways you can eliminate fear, increase the believability and credibility of your offer, and add to the number of sales or inquiries to your advertisements or promotions. Whatever you do, don’t overlook this important and valuable tool!

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