Testimonials – How to Let Your Customers
Do Your Selling FOR You
The difference between testimonials that work and those that don’t is one word: Believability
You know about testimonials – those little blurbs from customers that tell prospects how great a product or service is.
The headline and blurb at the referral engine platform Influitive says it all…
Happy customers are your BEST salespeople.
Did you also know that over 70% of customers look at product reviews before buying? And 90% of participants in a Zendesk survey say they were influenced in their buying decisions by positive reviews.
According to research firm McKinsey, customers that come in through the advocacy of other customers actually stay longer and pay you more over time.
And it gets even better, because according to Influitive, customers who advocate for you will actually stay longer and pay you more.
Advocates and Advocate Marketing?
Those are relatively new phrases getting a lot of attention because of statistics like those above and these:
- Word of mouth is the primary factor behind 20% to 50% of all purchasing decisions. (McKinsey)
- 63% of consumers search for help from other customers online. (Lithium)
- Brand advocates are 70% more likely to be seen as a good source of information by people around them. (BzzAgent)
Advocates can be affiliates, but they are so much more… and when an advocate evangelizes enthusiastically about your business on social media or through testimonials, prospects pay a lot more attention.
The first step in building advocates for your brand is to give happy customers the best opportunity to shout your greatness from the rooftops. That’s called a testimonial.
And even though advocacy goes way beyond testimonials, without that you’re dead in the water.
But getting testimonials can be a problem
Business people don’t want to ask for them or don’t know HOW to ask for them. And customers, while they might want to give them, don’t know how.
They actually may be a little afraid to give you a testimonial because they’re only 90% positive about the experience.
I’m going to show you why that’s the PERFECT start to a great testimonial
We’re going to show you exactly what to ask to get testimonials, how to use the testimonials to overcome the biggest objections of your prospects, and even how to get testimonials without asking.
First, let’s talk about the elephant in the room – that is, the problem with 90 percent or more of testimonials out there right now…
“I don’t believe it!”
The problem – and it’s a big problem – with testimonials is they tend to be too sugary. Too positive. Too… unbelievable.
“Since I bought the ABC Super Scooper Money Making Machine, I’ve made so much money I dumped my wife of 22 years and I married 18 year old supermodel triplets. I now own 16 homes, 83 cars and my own personal rocket ship to Mars. Plus my skin rash cleared up real nice and I’m about to buy a big yacht and an island and become president of a South American country. Let me tell you, that was the best $19.95 I ever spent!”
Yup. Uh-huh. You believe that, don’t you? Me neither.
Testimonials are a lot like resumes…
What happens when you hand your snazzy jazzy resume to a hiring manager? Sure, they read it. But do they BELIEVE it? Nope. If they did, they wouldn’t do all that digging into your past, your social media accounts, your previous employers, your college records and your references.
Why don’t they believe what they read in resumes? Two reasons:
- A lot of people ‘pad’ their resume, making themselves sound better than they are. And since they don’t know you, they just have to assume you’re padding until proven otherwise.
- It’s all positive. Nearly nobody ever puts anything negative on a resume. “That company canned me because I didn’t do a darn thing for 8 months but play video games on the computer and play with the company dog.” You’re not going to see that on the resume…
And what does this teach us about why people don’t believe testimonials?
A lot of testimonials are fake, or are they?
It really doesn’t matter because nearly everyone BELIEVES they’re fake.
So, the real job of a testimonial is to overcome the distrust factor, to tell the story about the relationship with the brand in a real, but positive way in just a couple of sentences.
In other words, it has to be some of the most persuasive writing on your sales page.
Readers see all positive testimonials and immediately flip into disbelief.
So, how do you get real testimonials that people BELIEVE?
By getting believable testimonials. (I know, that’s a little chicken and egg, but stick with me just a second and it will make more sense.)
Let’s tackle the big question.
What makes a testimonial believable?
If the testimonial starts out on a negative note, people’s defenses go down and they your credibility goes up. In fact, not only does a bit of negativity ring true and become believable, but there’s a second benefit as well:
If the testimonial starts out negative – just a little, people are drawn into it from start to finish because we all like to see what happens next. A slightly negative review that turns positive becomes a believable story with a solution.
For example, if I were to write a testimonial for MyNAMS Insiders Club as a member only (yes, I know – I own it, so right away I’m at a disadvantage), I would start out like this:
“When I first heard about the MyNAMS Insiders Club, I thought it was too good to be true. And when I stumbled around in the resources library, I was so lost because there was so much, I thought I’d wasted my money. But once I realized this is not just an average superficial training center, but a full library of updated tools and training on any business topic that I can use for life whenever I need it, I was completely blown away…”
So, let’s break it down.
The first two sentences are pretty negative, but they get to the biggest complaints we have about the Insiders Club: 1) We’ve built a training system at a price that seems to be too good to be true, and 2) there’s so much material that people get overwhelmed very quickly.
The key point is that I put those issues out there right away. Those objections (which are ones EVERYONE will have when they’re visiting any sales page) are recognized and CONFIRMED immediately.
Then, in the reversal, I show why I was wrong, or overcame the issues, and was positively affected.
Let’s say a friend is recommending an auto mechanic to you. The conversation might be like this:
“You know that repair shop on 5th and Vine, the one in the tacky yellow building? Well I went in there the other day because something was wrong with my car.
The place came highly recommended, but I gotta tell you when I walked through the door, I wasn’t too sure. It didn’t look nearly as modern as the repair shop at the dealership.
But they took great care of me and my car. They diagnosed the problem in minutes, told me exactly what was wrong and how long it would take to fix it.
It cost way less than I thought it would, and they had me back on the road in 40 minutes. I was so impressed.
The last time I went to the dealership they tried to upsell me on a bunch of stuff and I know they overcharged for what I let them do. I’ll never go back to the dealership again.
That repair shop might look a little funky, but the mechanics are top notch, fast and friendly, and they don’t try to rip you off.”
Notice how different this testimonial is from most of the testimonials you see online. This one starts out negative, talking about “the tacky yellow building,” and “it didn’t look nearly as modern as the repair shop at the dealership.”
And near the close it gets negative again, saying “That repair shop might look a little funky.”
But there is no doubt the author of the testimonial is thrilled with the service he received and the price he paid.
THIS is a testimonial people will believe.
In fact, if you have several of these kinds of testimonials, half your job of selling will be done for you.
That’s because your customers will be overcoming prospect’s objections for you, in a way you alone could never do.
Just imagine, you haven’t written one word of your sales letter or sales video yet, and you already have half of your selling done.
How sweet would that be?
Good testimonials help with targeting too…
This is a really important point and often overlooked.
A great testimonial pushes people away who are not a good fit for the business offer as well. That’s important. The wrong people in your business can suck up a ton of time and resources and will NEVER be happy.
Look at the repair shop again.
Some people don’t mind paying double or triple prices if they don’t have to sit in a “tacky yellow building” while waiting for their car repair, but instead get to sit in a nicely appointed waiting area with wi-fi, cable TV and a coffee machine.
If you’re the kind of customer that values ambiance more than money, the tacky little repair shop is not for you. That testimonial just saved the business from having to deal with an unhappy customer.
Here are 3 more tips on getting and using testimonials…
1: Testimonials that are rich in detail are more believable.
For example, “I love the bigger dials on this stove” versus… “The dials are almost twice the size of the older model, making it much easier for these tired old eyes to see the settings. Because of this, I no longer burn my eggs and my wife no longer complains about having a burnt smell in her spotless kitchen.”
2: “Interesting, tell me more.”
If you are speaking to a customer, use the above phrase to get them digging deeper and telling you more about their experience. Also, anytime you’re getting feedback by phone or in person, remember to ask only open-ended questions. This will provide you with much more information than simple yes/no questions. And of course the same applies to written feedback – ask only open-ended questions.
3: Name and website
When asking to use their feedback as a testimonial, be sure to tell them you’ll be using their name and URL if they have one. This is free advertising for their website. Who doesn’t love that?
Let’s look at a couple of real examples for some of our products
MyNAMS Insiders Club
When someone makes a lot of progress, you want that person to talk about their success and their process. Often, customers don’t do it because they don’t value their accomplishments enough. Jeff does a nice job of starting from a dubious place and showing how he followed the process through to success. The objection he’s overcoming right away is the question, “Is this is a get-rich-quick scheme?” Right away, he talks about a 12-month investment of time…
“I came into NAMS Insiders Club three years ago through the list building challenge. I fell in love with the monthly challenges. That year, I took every challenge. I accomplished every challenge in 12 months straight.
At the end of the year, I had the beginnings of a real business. I came into NAMS really with a hobby, not really a real business. I really didn’t know the first thing about building an online business. I had taken some courses in list building and things like that, but really knew very, very little. By the end of the year, I had 12 things that I should be doing in my business every single day that helped me to build my business.
What I enjoy now, two years later, is the weekly live calls where Jennifer and David get on and they show us what they’re doing in NAMS. How they’re running their own business. What I really appreciate about that is that they share with us the things that work, but also the things that don’t work. They share how they measure things. Then how they make changes and adjustments when things don’t go according to plan or aren’t as successful as they hoped they were.
It really helps me because I’m not in the internet marketing niche. I’m in the Catholic education niche. A lot of the things that work for a lot of marketers don’t work in my niche. They don’t work for my audience. By watching David and Jennifer, I can choose what I want to try. I can learn from their example of how to measure my success, then how to make changes when I don’t meet with success. I’m able to apply what I’m learning to my own audience and to my own business. That’s really really valuable.
Join the MyNAMS Insiders Club. You will find a great community of business people who support each other. You’ll find great education. You’ll find value year after year after year.”
Jeff Arrowood, FromTheAbbey.com
I like this testimonial from Mitchell Cohn because he sets the bar for the amount of effort and seriousness required for the Clarity program to be successful. He says straight up that the objection may be that it is “one of the most difficult things” he’s had to do. People who don’t take the course seriously are never satisfied with the outcome. Those who do are very satisfied. So, we want to make that clear from the beginning. He does. And then he talks about the benefits of doing that.
“Wow, David. I’ve just finished Camp Clarity. The course was well-named. I think that was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever had to do. If you’re as serious as I was in wanting to know where you’re headed and WHY, this course really makes you think – and takes a significant amount of fortitude, insight, and mental energy.
I have to admit that where I ended up is NOT AT ALL where I expect to be. I’ve also learned that lying to one’s self is a lot easier than facing the truth and working through some difficult issues. The end result, though, is well worth it. I have a clear end in sight. I have clear vision for the businesses I wish to create and a roadmap to get there. Thanks for this roller-coaster ride.
I’m on to my next quest, 12 Steps to Building a Better Business, which is, I believe, what both you and Jen have suggested.”
Monetize Your Life With Storytelling Workshop
This was an email that came into Cathy Demers who had hosted me on a webinar about the Storytelling Workshop.
Thank you for hosting David Perdew today. I really liked the exercise of listing your everyday events and finding the universal truth.
I’m the head of the nominating committee here in my senior center (I’m 83) but I realized I could use that hook (step 1 in the process) to talk about non-participation, entitlement, how a leader has to have patience and understanding along with organizing skills, and about dropping out of a tribe that’s no longer serving your interests. I could write a whole series of ‘lessons’ from that one experience.
What a gift to help me see those possibilities.
I LOVE this.
Please forward this to David with my thanks.
PS: You know, we never know when one idea will start a large reaction. I’m a prolific writer and podcaster and this one idea will help me touch more lives. Thank you both.”
I love this testimonial because right away she throws out what would be an objection for many people – she’s 83 – and definitely undaunted because she dove right in and got results right away.
This testimonial was much more of an email of appreciation that a pre-conceived testimonial, exactly the kind of endorsement that drips with sincerity.