Everyone knows third-party testimonials work better at promoting your business than almost anything you might say about it. The exception might be when the praise seems vague or lukewarm, such as “Great service” or “I was very satisfied with ABC Insurance.” You could make the argument that even a vague testimonial is better than nothing. After all, like the laugh track on a situation comedy, at least it offers positive reinforcement, bland though it may be.
But testimonials don’t have to be bland. With a little guidance, you can help your satisfied clients provide strong testimonials. The key to a strong testimonial is specificity. “I really appreciate how ABC Insurance showed me a lot of ways I could save on car insurance.” “Your agency’s policy review for my business has resulted in a 35% savings just this year.”
Testimonials should deal with objections. The other important quality of a strong testimonial is its ability to zero in on the main concerns or even objections prospects may have when considering your services. The two examples I just gave deal with price, which is probably the biggest concern most people have. But other concerns may focus on service, availability, professionalism, knowledge, claims assistance, access to markets, convenience, friendliness, and so on. Ideally, the testimonials you get will address a variety of concerns, enabling you to use them to counter various objections.
How to get strong testimonials: There are basically two approaches.
Research your client correspondence or email logs, looking for any kind of positive feedback that could be developed into a testimonial. For instance, you might find that a customer wrote a note thanking you for your prompt response to a homeowner’s claim: “It was handled quickly, professionally and I had a check in my mailbox the next week!” Usually the messages you have to work with won’t sound that polished. Maybe the customer in this example just said something like, “Wow, quick service. Thanks.” You can work with that. Collect as many of these instances as you can find.
The other approach is to handle testimonials on the fly. When someone writes or says something positive in the course of the day, seize the moment! You can also broach the subject of testimonials after completing a sale, solving a problem or handling any kind of transaction where you feel comfortable enough to ask your client for a testimonial after you’ve finished.
There is a set of simple questions you can ask at this point to help your client give you the strong testimonial you’re looking for. I’ll cover that in my next post.