Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Collecting Strong Testimonials

Testimonials are a crucial part of selling anything in writing, because the bottom line is that no matter how great you say you are, you're still a biased party--you have a vested interest in selling people on your own service or product. In the process of getting my new website up, I realized that I didn't have testimonials--but I needed them. And sometimes I collect them for clients.

Not all testimonials do a great job of adding credibility, however. Here are a few tips for collecting testimonials that will do an effective job of selling you.

First: ask. Ask every client you work with if they'd be willing to write you a testimonial. Make it a habit. Make it part of the close-out process, like sending out that final invoice. It's just as important; that testimonial you collect could get you the next job. If you're not sure whether the project went fabulously, simply send out a questionnaire and let them know you'd like feedback on your services in the interest of improving them. Don't forget to ask if they'd mind if you use what they say in your marketing material. If they mind, you'll still get valuable feedback.

Get results. If you're going to buy a service, you want proof that it works. Vague testimonials like "Stan did a great job on my website copy" are all well and good, but what you really want are those quantifiable results: "Stan's website copy increased our hits by 12,000 per month and boosted revenue 30% in the first two months!" This is the kind of testimonial that will get you new clients. So in your questionnaire, be sure to ask what results your clients have seen from your work.

Leave room at the end. There are intangible benefits to working with you as well--maybe you're really easy to work with or helped the client find out something new about a key demographic. Always ask an additional question at the end that says something like "any other thoughts on your experience working with this company?" You might get a really useful quote that you wouldn't have gotten otherwise, because you didn't ask the right question.

Testimonials are important in both your client projects and your own marketing. Collect them early, collect them often, and you'll likely see an increase in business.

1 comment:

Susan Johnston Taylor said...

Don't forget that testimonials are a 2-way street. I recently got an email from VistaPrint asking their regular customers for testimonials along with photos and/or video. I'm a satisfied customer, so I sent them a testimonial right away, which also got exposure for myself.

You can also solicit testimonials via LinkedIn, and generally people on LI expect you to recommend them back.