Are Your Customers Paying You in Words?
Good customers pay their bills, right? You trade your services for
their money, and if you do a great job, both sides are happy with the
deal. But maybe you shouldn't be so quick to be satisfied at just
collecting money. There are other valuable things you can get from happy
customers. One of those things is a glowing testimonial.
The Value of the Testimonial
Think about it. You have a happy customer. They pay up. They like you and the job you did for them. Don't you think they would be willing to provide you with a testimonial? It doesn't cost them anything extra, but a list of good testimonials can help you land new clients and jobs. Therefore, a testimonial actually has great value for you.
No one owes you a testimonial. It is a privilege when a customer provides you with one. While this is true, this doesn't mean you should just sit around and wait for a customer to email you a nice endorsement. You need to be proactive about collecting testimonials, just as proactive as you are about collecting payments.
You Need to Ask
It all starts with you asking for one. Be strategic in "the ask." Don't say, "oh, by the way, I really appreciate testimonials, so if you find the time, could you send me one?" Instead ask, "would you be willing to provide me with a testimonial?" Make it an easy yes or no question for the customer. If they say yes, then you follow up to get the best testimonial possible.
Before you ask, you might want to jot down a few questions that will help jog out a good testimonial. Questions like "how was my service?" or "what problem did I help you solve?" or "how did I match up to your expectations?" can help. However, don't push questions on people who might do just fine at coming up with a testimonial on their own. Some of the best testimonials come when you just ask the customer to share what they think about you.
Go for Audio/Video Testimonials
Since we live in a digital world, don't settle just for a few written words. Ask your most enthusiastic customers if they would be willing to talk to you on Skype, then record their testimonial in audio or video format (check out Pamela or Call Recorder as services that can do this). Put these more interactive testimonials in prominent places on your website.
A good testimonial can go a long way. The basic idea is that testimonials create social proof, making it easier for some customers to buy from you. Many customers are not willing to take a chance on you unless they feel they can trust you. Testimonials help pave the way for that trust. And all it takes to get testimonials is you making them a priority and asking your customers for them. Bradford Shimp
shares advice for savvy small business owners at All Business Answers
. He is the author of The Value of the Customer AFTER the Sale