by Karen Skidmore | 04,17 | Marketing Articles
I am sure you all know that testimonials are a great addition to your website, leaflets and brochures. Rather than bleating on about how good you are, let your clients tell it in their own words.
They work because of the “social proof” they give. The same way that 8 out 10 cats prefer Whiskers, your potential clients want evidence on why they should spend money with you.
But instead of getting evidence, most small business owners end up with pretty poor excuses for a testimonial.
“Steve was a really wonderful trainer.”
“We had such fun working together.”
“The widget is lovely to use and I wholeheartedly recommend it.”
Lovely words, but as testimonials, they absolutely stink!
The demand for personal recommendations is expected now. And with wishy-washy testimonials like these are, quite frankly, a wasted opportunity.
For a testimonial to work effectively for you, it has to explain the benefits of what you deliver. Here’s an example of one of my testimonials that I have displayed on my business coaching page, kindly given by Lisa Turner from Pyscademy.
“I started working with Karen because although all the bits of my business were working they weren’t really integrated with each other. Karen helped me get some real clarity about the processes and steps I needed to make to achieve my goals.
After only a single session I achieved my first two goals – to start running virtual training session and to get bookings for an upcoming course. With Karen’s support and advice, I set up and ran my first ever virtual training and as a direct result got bookings on an upcoming course. I am absolutely delighted with the result and how easy it was with Karen’s help.”
Why does this testimonial work harder? Let’s break down the 3 key questions that were answered:
What was life like before working with me? Bits of Lisa’s business were working, but they weren’t integrated. If I really wanted to push this testimonial further, I would have probably asked Lisa how that felt and added that too. Would it have been frustrating? How much time did Lisa waste? This helps a potential client to relate to the story being told. “That’s just like me” you want them to say.
What process did we follow? I helped Lisa get clarity and we figured out some steps to take.
What were the results? Lisa got her virtual training sessions up and running, plus got clients booking on her course as a direct result of running her seminar. And the whole process was “easy”. Most of my clients come to me because they struggle to attract the right clients so this testimonial highlights that I can solve this problem, as well as make everything easy at the same time.
Make sure your testimonials provide the answers to these 3 key questions and your testimonial will speak volumes when it comes to evidence.
One final tip – don’t expect your clients to know this. Most clients find it very hard to know what to write when asked for a testimonial. This is why most of you end up with one of the “really lovely person” quotes.
Ask them these questions on the phone or in person, write down the answers and ask them if you could use these words as a testimonial. Present them with this pre-prepared testimonial based on the exact phrases they said to you, and you’ll get testimonials working harder for you.
by Karen Skidmore | 07,16 | Stories, inspirations & thoughts for the day
How to get more business referrals and personal recommendations
Business referrals … one of the most powerful and simplest marketing strategies to get working for you. But in reality, too many business owners like you often get stuck trying to find the answer to how to get more business referrals.
People like doing business with people they like. It doesn’t matter whether you sell a “thing” or a service, your clients and customers will prefer to spend their money with someone they’ve got to know, like and trust.
So often a search for fixing the problem that you can solve, will start with a quick call, text or even a Facebook message to a good buddy to ask for their recommendation.
Just think back to when you last decided to get a new website built or needed to hire some admin help or you wanted to get on a training programme to update your skills … you more than likely did the same thing; you sought counsel from someone you knew.
Google obviously has some answers for you, but nothing beats a personal recommendation from a good friend or work colleague.
And what kind of leads do you prefer receiving?
An email out of the blue from someone who is asking about your prices because they are comparing and contrasting 5 websites they’ve found online … or a phone call from someone who’s been recommended by one of your past clients?
A recommendation converts far higher than a cold lead any day because your past client has done most of the hard work in establishing the know, like and trust process.
So in case you didn’t know already, you now know business referrals are worth including in your marketing strategy.
But how to get more business referrals?
Asking your past clients and customers is one of the simplest, yet most effective ways of increasing the number of referrals from existing clients.
But the big mistake that most people make is to ask:
“Do you know of anyone who may be interested in what I offer?”
This is a closed question. The only two answers a human brain can comfortably calculate when asked a question such as this is “Yes” or “No”. And when you go about and ask your past clients and customers this question, I can guarantee that 99% of them will answer “No”.
Not because they don’t love what you do and feel you can help others. But you are often asking them this question at a time when no one genuinely springs to mind.
You need to give your clients’ a chance to process the question, rather than close their minds with a closed question.
The simplest way of doing this, is to start asking the open question version:
“Who do you know who may be interested in what I offer?”
The simple change of emphasis on the word “who” naturally opens the person’s mind up and they start searching for an answer. And, usually what happens, if they can’t think of anyone at the time, there is a greater chance of them thinking of a name at a later date.
This leads you nicely to having the opportunity to follow up a week or so later … and follow up is the part of this process that very few people do and miss out on lots of lovely business referrals.
So, yes … you can sit down and come up with a lovely referral marketing funnel, create beautiful referral cards and put together an online form even that rewards your referrer immediately with a gift …. but all these great ideas are often left uncompleted.
If you want to know how to get more business referrals, simply get on the phone to 5 of your past clients this week and ask the question “Who do you know?” And remember to follow up.