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Seven tips to harnessing the power of your customers' testimonials

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Using testimonials is a great way to build credibility and develop rapport. In addition, customer endorsements are an effective sales tool when responding to a prospect’s objections. Nothing promotes credibility faster in the mind of a skeptical prospect than a heartfelt and sincere testimonial from a trusted third-party source. The most effective testimonials are derived from verbal feedback, customer surveys and thank you notes. If you take the time to nurture your key customer relationships and go the extra mile when rendering service, most of your customers will be happy to give you a strong testimonial endorsement.

Here are some valuable considerations to help you get the maximum benefit from your customer testimonials:

  1. Always get your customer’s permission prior to using their testimonial.
  2. Never rewrite a customer’s testimonial without obtaining approval.
  3. The testimonial must show the person’s name, job title and organization. If you’re using a written testimonial, it’s a good idea to include your customer’s picture as well.
  4. There are three types of testimonial formats to consider: written, audio and video. While written testimonials are by far the most frequently used format, audio and video testimonials have been proven to be more effective.
  5. Obviously, some customers have better writing skills than others. You’ll want to coach your customers a bit on how to properly structure their testimonials in order to make them effective. Provide specific guidelines and give them copies of your most powerful and persuasive customer testimonials to serve as positive examples.
  6. The best testimonials use specific examples that back up key selling points. For example: How much money and/or time did your customers actually save by using your product or services? How did your product or service solve your customers’ problems or improve their lives?
  7. You need to be proactive and set a business goal of having a minimum of 12 customer testimonials.

From an advertising perspective, a testimonial from a happy customer has the potential to be worth as much as a full-page newspaper ad. Harnessing the good will of your satisfied customers is the key to taking your business to the next level.