“I want to believe you, but I’m not sure I trust you” is the unspoken question customers ask salespeople. The devil in every sale is customer doubt. Specifically, a salesperson’s lack of credibility. Slow down. Forget about “updating” your “professional profile.” Why? To put is graciously, too many are being “massaged” by salespeople who think they need a “enhance” themselves. But, customers aren’t fooled; bad experiences make them suspicious and they back off from saying “yes.”
The tool that helps bridge the “credibility gulf” is the customer testimonial. But wait a minute; don’t role your eyes and stop reading just because testimonials haven’t worked for you. Here’s why: all testimonials aren’t equal; most are lacking credibility. The Internet is swimming in phony testimonials that are signed “A longtime customer,” “Ben C.,” “Does a great job,” or “We love that company.” They are exactly what they appear to be: nothing more than thinly veiled fakery.
Even though some testimonials may be genuine, they’re dull, boring and lack impact. In other words, they’re ineffective. Let’s face it, most of those who are asked to provide a testimonial don’t know what to say or how to say it. So, unintentionally, they botch the job!
For testimonials to do the job of enhancing someone’s integrity, they must tell a compelling story (not make a sales pitch) in a few carefully crafted words. They must be little jewels. And this takes skill.
Here’s how to go about obtaining testimonials that are believable and enhance credibility:
1. Selecting testimonial candidates
Forget about your sister-in-law or your best friend. Be selective about who you ask for testimonials. Choose situations where you’ve made a difference or saved the day. These are testimonials that resonate with prospects.
For example, it was during a review of a prospect’s business insurance program that a broker discovered several gaps in coverage that could do serious financial damage to the company should a loss occur. When the agent was awarded the account, he asked the owner for a testimonial. Needless to say, the new client readily agreed.
Powerful testimonials often come from using a PSR or Problem-Solution-Results format. Present the problem, followed by your solution, and then drive the message home with the accrued results. Whether it’s a testimonial or a case history, identify people with their full name, business, and location. Otherwise, it isn’t credible.