Think television commercials. Essentially they’re all about testimonials – people swearing the product being advertised will help consumers make their teeth whiter, make their clothes brighter or make their athletes foot go away. Why are more people buying Hanes than competing brands? Because Michael Jordan says that’s what he wears. But don’t be mistaken, it doesn’t take a celebrity to attract new business. Think about all the laundry detergent commercials where some woman tells us that Tide will make our clothes brighter and last longer. As consumers, we don’t know who she is, but we still tend to believe what she’s telling us. Why? Because she seems honest; she seems like us.
As advisors, the goal of attracting new business is forever present, especially with the amount of competition that’s out there. Something advisors read a lot about is how to stand out from the crowd. We’ve published stories about getting into the local and national news media, glossing up your marketing materials, conducting quality seminars and getting on the Web. Add client testimonials to that list. Your brochures, Web sites, information packets and even seminars should include some sort of client testimonial to let prospective clients know their futures could be better with your help. And who better to promote you than people you have worked with?
Your marketing materials seem perfect. They are high quality, they are concise, they explain what you do and what motivates you to do it, and they show how you stand apart from your competition. However, what’s lacking is proof. Proof that you are who you say you are and that your promises stand up to your product. Enter client testimonials.
“Clients today don’t know who to trust or even how to find out who to trust,” says Frank Maselli, president of The Frank Maselli Co. in Franklin, Mass. “Testimonials are one tool in the total marketing arsenal that might sway someone in your direction. They are an emotional and intellectual validation of my decision to work with you.”
Maselli, a 23-year veteran of the industry and author of the books “Seminars: The emotional dynamic” and “Referrals: The professional way,” calls testimonials “fantastic weapons to have in a total marketing arsenal.” Maselli says that too many advisors overlook the importance of client testimonials – and to their detriment, as testimonials are a powerful way to help you stand above the competition.
10 ways to get the best testimonials
Getting testimonials may seem as easy as counting to three. But getting the best testimonials for the right audience takes a little extra thought and time. Here are 10 steps to get better testimonials:
1. Get testimonials from prestigious or top clients. If you’re trying to attract high-net-worth clients, get a testimonial from one of your more prominent high-net-worth clients. If your target audience is doctors, then it’s only natural that you have at least one testimonial from a doctor.
2. Ask your clients’ permission before quoting them. This may seem obvious, but it is essential nevertheless, not to mention ethical. Some advisors go the distance and have their clients sign release forms before using their names and comments in marketing materials. Other advisors suggest showing the client a draft of their testimonial before it goes to print or posts on the Web site.
3. Make your clients as comfortable as possible. People often are uncomfortable or taken aback when asked to provide a verbal testimonial. Help out your clients by having them fill out a brief form and explain the value of good testimonials. David M. Frees III, Esq., chairman of Asset Protection and Wealth Preservation and co-chairman of Elder Law Solutions Practice at Unruh, Turner, Burke & Frees, tends to ask for a testimonial at the conclusion of a successful meeting. He begins by asking if he has accomplished everything the client hoped and asks if there is anything else he can do. He then explains the importance of client testimonials and asks if the client would mind providing one.