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Did you know that 72% of consumers say positive testimonials and reviews increase their trust in a business? Today we are talking about how to tap into and use testimonials to your benefit. Plus, we are giving you several tips to help you get persuasive testimonials and use them to convert prospects into buyers. We want to show the true impact on your business of getting, and tapping into, testimonials and reviews. We are speaking today with Jami Johnson, Partner at PJS & Co. CPAs, and Megan Spicer, our Marketing and Business Development Manager to discuss the importance of this topic.

What we cover in this episode: 

  • 01:30 – The importance of testimonials
  • 05:56 – Tip #1: Go after testimonials
  • 11:50 – Tip #2: Don’t stop at one
  • 14:34 – Tip #3: Use testimonials with the right characteristics 
  • 20:06 – Tip #4: Do not “fake it ‘til you make it” 
  • 22:24 – Tip #5: Show them off

The importance of testimonials

Let’s start by sharing some of the statistics and research we’ve found that show the impact for a company by getting testimonials and reviews. Did you know 92% of customers read online reviews before buying? If you think about this first one, it seems pretty standard for consumers to do these days. Most people research a product or company before making a purchase and go straight to the reviews to get a good read.

Additionally, 72% of consumers say positive testimonials and reviews increase their trust in a business. Think about your own behavior when considering a product or service. When searching on Amazon or Google, and you find what you’re looking for but it doesn’t have any reviews, you’ll keep looking until you find one that does. If researching a service business on Yelp or Google, you’ll look for positive reviews before calling them. It’s that non-biased opinion that is powerful and can spur people to action. 

Lastly, 70% of people trust reviews and recommendations from strangers. Not everyone writes reviews for products or services, so when you read a review and know that someone took the time to write it, you feel like you are hearing from someone who feels very strongly, either good or bad. Having that honest review or testimonial of their experiences with a product or service can be very helpful for future customers when making their decision to purchase. 

Tip #1: Go after testimonials

The first tip is simple – just ask. Think of the old saying “Ask, and you shall receive.” Many business owners don’t have testimonials because they simply don’t ask for them. Business owners may think asking can be kind of awkward, or they feel it’s bragging, but when the request comes from a place of no pressure and authenticity, many customers are happy to help. When a client gives you good feedback over the phone or via email, don’t hesitate to ask them for a review or testimonial. It can be a simple and a no-pressure request such as “it would be really appreciated if you could hop on Goggle when you have a free moment (or wherever you are trying to get a review), and add a review for our product or service.” The timing of the request matters as well because you should be asking for that feedback while it’s fresh in the mind of the buyer. Think of requesting a review within a few days of a single transaction, rather than a few months from the time of service, when they may not remember exact details. There is a reason why Amazon sends those review emails in the next 24 hours after you’ve received your package; they want to have real-time feedback. 

There are other ways you can encourage testimonials or reviews as well. Some companies perform surveys on a regular basis (monthly or quarterly) and you can use the comments section of those surveys to encourage testimonials. You can also incorporate a link for feedback into your company’s email signature lines. The more ways you can open up for customers to provide you with feedback, the more likely they will be willing to do so, but you have to ask. When a company makes it a priority to request feedback and gain insight on how the experience was for their customer, the customer will know that you are taking the initiative and are making them a priority. 

Tip #2: Don’t stop at one

Do not stop once you have one testimonial. Use that as leverage to spur you on to get more, especially if you have multiple lines of service. You will want to go after testimonials for each line and level of service because client experiences are going to differ across each of those service lines. Most businesses have multiple products or services they provide, and customers have different reasons for selecting various offerings. Potential clients will want to see if there is a common thread or something that will resonate with them when they read about your current clients’ experiences. That’s why it’s so beneficial for a company to have multiple testimonials, and get as many as they can to appeal to all different scenarios of your services. If you work with multiple industries, be sure to try and get testimonials from each niche in which you operate. 

Tip #3: Use testimonials with the right characteristics

Focus on benefits over features

Our third tip is to use only testimonials with the right characteristics. And by that we mean the testimonials you receive that focus on the benefits rather than the features of your service or product. For example, a feature is “you handle my bookkeeping every month”, but the benefit is what you would want to use and focus on, such as “I don’t have to worry or stress over doing the bookkeeping every month. I have peace of mind that everything is done correctly and timely.” The benefits you want to highlight in your testimonials should also mirror the things you are promising to deliver for your clients and customers when selling to them. 

Include hard facts, numbers, and percentages to highlight results 

Including actual numbers, facts and figures in your testimonials can be a very powerful tool to highlight the results you have achieved with your current clients. Some clients may not be comfortable sharing specific details about revenue, but perhaps they can share that using your services has saved them x amount of money, or helped increase profits by x percentage. Using some hard numbers or statistics can really beef up your testimonials.

Make it easy

Your client may not know what to say when you ask them for a testimonial. If you don’t want to overwhelm your customer, you can always provide them with a few writing prompts for a testimonial. If you give them prompts and questions such as “what have we been able to help you achieve in your business?” or “what stress did we relieve by providing our services?”, you can get them to talk a little more about the benefits rather than the features of your services or product. 

Get permission

You will also want to be sure and get your client’s permission before sharing that testimonial with their full name, title and business name. An anonymous testimonial doesn’t build much trust and won’t be of use, so ask your client if they mind if you share their testimonial (with a name at the very least) on your website or marketing materials. You can even give a finalized version to them beforehand so they can see what it will look like when published. 

Using headshots and names is always advised if possible, because it puts a real person behind the words. Taking it even a step further would be to get a video testimonial, or an audio testimonial, so take advantage of these mediums if your client is comfortable. Not all clients feel comfortable providing a video testimonial though, so be sure not to make it a high pressure situation for your client. It is best to be very clear about when and where and how you would use their testimonial so your clients understand the context and where they may see it in the future. The request has to come from a place of respect, and they need to trust you to use their words appropriately in a way to compliment your business with their testimonial.

Tip #4: Do not “fake it ‘til you make it”

The fourth tip is to remember that this is not a “fake it ‘til you make it” area of your business. Your testimonials have to be genuine and unfiltered. You can get something very eloquent and polished if you send it through multiple edits, but then it’s not a true testimonial anymore. You want it to sound real, so don’t ever edit or rewrite your testimonials. Now, if there is a grammatical or spelling error that needs to be corrected, you can send it back to the client and get approval on making those kinds of changes. Bottom line is that if you can’t use the testimonial as the client wrote it, don’t use it. Fake testimonials are easy to spot, and no one wants that. Everyone wants to know the truth, and know that your testimonials are authentic.

Tip #5: Show them off

Our fifth and final tip for you today is to show them off! Use them whenever possible! Use them in all your marketing materials, use them on your website, any ads that you may run, use them on your newsletters, brochures, packaging, etc… If you have a physical location with a waiting area, frame them and put them up there. You can even put them on the back of your business cards. Basically, you should be using them anywhere that you have clients who can visibly see them. If the testimonial is too long for a certain placement, for instance a social media post, you can use a portion of the testimonial and link to the full version on your website. There are many creative ways you can use testimonials, so take advantage of them! After all the hard work of asking and getting testimonials, don’t be timid about showing them off. 

Many business owners also use them for motivation. To see those testimonials can confirm for them the how, why and what they are doing well in their businesses, and it can give them affirmation they need to keep moving forward and continue excelling. It can be very rewarding to receive positive feedback and testimonials, especially as an owner who may not always feel that their efforts are appreciated. Testimonials can encourage a business owner to build up, tweak, or re-evaluate things in their business. Perhaps they were planning on changing something, but now learn from testimonials that what they are currently doing is really helpful. Using the testimonials that you receive to reflect on your business and refine it, can only make your business better. 

Conclusion

Business owners can tap into testimonials and use them to grow their businesses and convert prospects into buyers. Reviews and testimonials are prevalent in today’s business world, and the statistics show the proof of how important they are for a consumer to make a buying decision. Business owners should ask for reviews and testimonials, get as many as they can, a variety that covers all aspects of the services they offer, and use the ones that show the benefits of your business to their prospective clients. The testimonials should be genuine and unfiltered to show honesty and build trust in your business, as well as show them off and use them everywhere they can.

If you enjoyed this topic today, and found it helpful, please subscribe, rate and review our Cultivating Business Growth podcast and check out the additional free resources and learning opportunities at your fingertips available on our site! 

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