How To Get Client Testimonials That Trigger New Prospects To Respond

by Jason on March 14, 2011

I once heard somewhere that a satisfied customer will tell 3 people and a dissatisfied customer will tell 11! We’ll I don’t’ know if I agree with the numbers, yet the ratio seems about right. With the internet and social media, I bet those numbers are exponentially larger.

This has tremendous gravity when it comes to marketing for 2 reasons… First, because happy customers talk you up less, you must maximize your opportunity to get good usable testimonials for your print or electronic media. And secondly, because of the leverage aspect of social media you have less control. The 2 things business owners hate more than anything: less opportunity, and a lack of control! Yikes..

What is the point of testimonials anyway? Are they really important? Yes.

A testimonial is “social proof”. We humans as a species are programed to believe what we see (even thought the opposite is true). And, when we see that another human has gotten a result, there is a mechanism in our brain that allows us to believe we can get a similar result. And, if the social proof is given by someone we respect or admire, then we associate the result we can get with the status we can attain by using [insert your favorite product or service] promoted by [insert your favorite person here].

So if a human can associate getting what he wants and/or gaining status with your product or service… It becomes irresistible to other humans.

I am going to give you 2 ideas to help you get client testimonials that trigger new prospects to respond; but first lets talk about the structure of a good testimonial; Its a simple equation: Problem + Your Widget = Desired Result. Here are a few examples:

  • “We had the toughest time selling our home until we used Ron Brown’s team. They sold it in 60 days!” – J.Q. Customer
  • “I wanted to increase my web traffic and was lost… But, after talking to Jason and learning about SEO, I now have 250+ more visits to my site each month!” – J.Q. Customer
  • “Sometimes in my business I need to turn a print project fast… And, because I have a good working relationship with inventiveWebs, they just do what I need on short notice. I can call them up and not worry about getting a lecture on scheduling, they just make it happen.” – J.Q. Customer

The first way is simply to use the formula to ask your client a very specific question like, ” J.Q., remember when we first teamed up on your issue of web traffic? I am building a sequence of testimonials for my business and I would like your help. Will you write a sentence or two that outlined your problem and then what the specific, measurable result was that we helped you achieve?”

This approach is very different from the usual testimonials provided in generic institutional marketing. You want to avoid generic at all costs. Testimonials like, “Ron is the best REALTOR we have ever used” or “Thanks for providing such a valuable service”. These are not offering social proof… These are offering a judgement. And, judgement is subjective. Avoid subjective imagery and connotation at all costs because you will have no control over how your fellow human interprets the judgement.

The second way is more complex… It is more like Jedi mind control and explaining how it works is a book in and of itself. Yet, conceptually it is constantly “telling” or “showing” your client what to think of you. Some big brands do this well. Coca Cola comes to mind. Coke is constantly associating their product with a happy human lifestyle. And, they have done such a good job that many consider the brand of Coke to be part of the fabric of their lives.

Years ago when Coke came up with New Coke… You may remember the response from the public and how quickly Coke got rid of New Coke. Now if Coke was just syrup and soda to the public, would they have reacted that way? Doubtful…

Coke accomplished this a myriad of ways. They constantly tell you “what to think of the brand” through commercials, print, song, and story. But, the point is to weave in what you want people to think into all your marketing. Constantly tell them… Eventually, whether they prefer Coke over Pepsi or your product over another becomes more than about them than you. This is because they make up a story about why your product is better. They lie to themselves and believe the lie.

Blind taste tests show that many Coke drinkers actually prefer the taste of Pepsi! But, if they know the packaging and are able to associate the packaging with the story they made up about themselves, they will choose Coke every time. They literally have no choice because the idea is now part of their chemical memory.

The same is true Republicans v. Democrats, Catholics v. Protestants, Apple v. Microsoft, and SEO v. PPC.

Now in truth… I could go on and on with how you can weave what you want your customers to say about you in this piece… But, it is easier to show you an example of how it works. Watch this video piece by Darren Brown for a very concise explanation of how and why this is effective.

And remember, your prospects will only respond to specific, measurable, external, tangible, results that they desire for themselves deemed attainable because someone else already did it!

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