Our prospect’s workdays remain fast-paced, so asking for a testimonial can come across as adding another item to their to-do list. Here are some ways you can lessen the pressure and make the process less of a chore:
- Know how (and when) to ask. We have covered when to ask for a referral in the past, and when it comes to testimonials the same rules apply. Has a customer recently sung your praises? Have they recently told you that you’ve saved the day? What about sharing an unexpected non-financial benefit? Those are choice moments to ask if they could jot them down for you.
- Remember that people are more willing to help these days. An upside to working through the pandemic and associated recession is that most people have a more charitable attitude than they did a year and a half ago. You can make the request pretty simple: “Hey, could you do me a great personal favor? If you could give me just a couple sentences about how much you’ve enjoyed ______, I could spread the word.” The chances that they’ll do it are much higher than usual. It’s widely understood among businesspeople that prospecting isn’t easy. You can’t attend trade shows. You can’t go out and take people to lunch. A quick sound bite from a particularly happy customer can provide you a lot of traction these days.
- Video testimonials are a great option. A colleague recently brought to my attention that millions of people have learned to use and get comfortable with webcams over the past year. This is another silver lining to the changes we saw in 2020. So, why not ask for a video testimonial? Some prospects would prefer this to writing something down, and a visual of a satisfied customer can be just as effective as a quote... perhaps even more so since it comes across as being genuine and unedited. All it takes is ten seconds, and if you get a few of them you can put together a video for marketing purposes.
- If they’re swamped, offer to help! A few decades ago, I asked a professor if he would write a recommendation for me. He replied, “I’d be happy to write you a recommendation, but could you write it out for me? I’ll add or take out whatever I think makes sense and we can go from there.” The same can go for business testimonials. Depending on how well you and your prospect know each other, you can write out what you provided for them, then let them take it from there. In most cases, they’ll make few if any edits to what you’ve drafted.
Regardless of how you do it, the most important thing is that your testimonials are authentic. Over the past decade we have collected over 2,000 written testimonials, and one thing has been made clear: people have different ways of expressing themselves. A testimonial is a sacred part of the sale that needs to be genuine and human, and that is something that can’t easily be faked.