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Avoid testimonial MISTAKES

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Customer testimonials are like gold for senior advisors. They provide an endorsement from one senior to many others. Mistakes can be made in gathering the testimonials, however, that can lessen their impact. Janet Mobley, marketing expert and owner of FatCat Strategies in Raleigh, N.C., and Jeff Kopitz, president of the National Ethics Bureau, Carlsbad, Calif., offer their advice on mistakes to avoid:

  • DON’T use any testimonials without permission.
  • DON’T use them at all if you’re securities licensed or they are otherwise forbidden.
  • DON’T be too short. Too short is probably too general. Those can sound made up.
  • DON’T shun specificity–Good: “John Doe put together a plan that will secure my retirement and leave a legacy for my children and grand-children.” Not good: “John Doe is great.”
  • DON’T use anonymous testimonials. Get at least a first name and last initial, along with a city. Even if you know it came from a real person, it will look suspect to prospects.
  • DO make them less about products and more about advisor integrity.