Writer Tess Wittler has provided some simple yet effective ideas about how you can generate effective testimonials. You can read her full blog posting to gather more insights. Here are her five suggestions:
- Recognize that not all clients are going to be good testimonial clients, so choose your testimonials carefully. Not all projects are with your ideal customer, and that’s okay (I call these KLO clients – Keeping the Lights On clients). However, when you do have great clients, make it a priority get a testimonial from them because these are the clients that will attract similar projects for you.
- When you have a project that went well and the client has expressed that they are pleased with the outcome, ask them if they’d provide you with a testimonial. Don’t wait. The best time to ask for a testimonial is immediately following the project. This is when they are the most pleased and enthusiastic about your work. They want to tell everyone!
- Sometimes you’ll encounter a client who is shy about writing a testimonial.This is often because they don’t think they are a good writer. That’s understandable. You can respect their feelings and still get a glowing testimonial by offering to put a few of their words (that they already shared with you) down on paper for their review. That way, you still get a better testimonial.
- Include a testimonial section in your end-of-project survey. Simply ask these questions: “What did you like about working with us?” and “What would you tell a friend about ABC Contractors?” Make a notation at the bottom of your survey that you may use these answers for marketing your business.
- Testimonials do not have to be grandiose to be effective. Keep it simple. The deck contractor I hired last spring didn’t have a fancy website or system. When he met with me, he showed me a 3-ring binder portfolio of projects and surveys from customers. Many customers wrote several paragraphs about how wonderful and trustworthy he is.
I can’t overstate the importance of testimonials in your marketing materials. They provide the ‘gist’ of a solid, positive story. See, for example, this feature recently published in Ontario Construction Report about the Planitar iGuide. Note how users/clients describe the service’s utility to their own businesses.
Testimonials provide: Supporting reference material for sales reps (as noted in point 5 above), copy for websites and advertisements, the foundation for news releases and media publicity (see the Planitar example above), social media reference points (especially useful for enhancing word-of-mouth) and worthy office/showroom wall displays. They are worth much more than their weight in gold.