Earn Credibility

By Travis Lee

If your client or prospect doesn’t believe you, you’ll never sell a thing.  The best way to use credibility is testimonials (although we’ll talk about a lot more than just testimonials).  There are two kinds of testimonials that you want to use: outcome testimonials and testimonials that overcome objections.

There are new laws that govern outcome testimonials (passed in 2010), particularly in the money-making/business opportunity and the health/weight loss niche.  However, they are not limited to those areas.  With that said, be sure you check with your business attorney on these new laws if you plan on using outcome testimonials.

Outcome testimonials are just as the words imply, they are the outcome or result your client received from using your product or service.  Here’s an example testimonial for a carpet cleaner that is outcome driven:

“The carpets are amazing!  They’ve never been so soft!  I never walked around my house barefoot before, but now I do all the time just to feel it on my toes!”

With the new testimonial laws, the testimonials that I use the most now in my businesses are testimonials that overcome objections.   Here’s one I often hear from clients using 3D Mail:

“I thought for sure using 3D Mail was cheesy and not professional enough for my business.  However, all my doubts were erased when I saw the results of my first 3D Mail campaign.”

Here’s an advanced tip.  Write down all the reasons why somebody wouldn’t buy your product or service, then get testimonials from your clients that overcome each reason why.  You’ll see your results soar just by using this one idea!  Here are a few quick basics on using testimonials:

Next, edit each testimonial for clarity.  This is acceptable as long as you make sure that you do not change its meaning in any way.

Second, if you’re featuring the testimonial in a sidebar, write a headline for each one that captures the most compelling portion of its message.  If the headline is a direct quote from the testimonial, put quotation marks on it.  If not, don’t.  If you’ve got a large page filled with testimonials, you don’t have to necessarily create a headline for each one.

Third, as a general rule (which I will occasionally break) make sure that every page (or spread if your printing booklet style) has at least one testimonial sidebar.  Online be sure that every couple of subheads features at least one testimonial to the side.

You can never have or use too many testimonials, but you need to use them the right way.  Never use them blind, with no name, or, just as bad, just initials.  People are very skeptical, so you have to prove they’re real!  Use their name, city/state, a picture of them, number of years as a client of yours, their occupation, give as much information as you possibly can.  (A quick side note, the profession most respected and well received when marketing to women… Nurses)

Testimonials are also great to use as steps in your marketing funnel, and it’s a strategy I use regularly.  In fact, when people request my “Definitive Guide to Using 3D Mail,” the third email they get from me (about five days after requesting the guide) is nothing by video testimonials about results, service, etc.  It works wonders!  This doesn’t need to be limited to email, you can use them as postcards, sales letters…  the more ways to get your testimonials in the hands of your prospects the better.

There are a few ways to get testimonials.  First and foremost, you need to have a good product/service with happy clients.  If you’re not getting at least a little unsolicited, positive feedback, you’ve got bigger problems than testimonials can solve.

You need to tell you clients constantly that you want them, and tell them what you’re looking for in a good testimonial.  I’ll often speak with a client over the phone and they’ll tell me a great success story, or how great the service was.  Then, I’ll write up a quick email quoting what they said (usually I ‘spice’ it up a little), and send it to the client asking their permission to use it in my marketing.  I’ve yet to have a client refuse this, and its how I’ve built a collection of testimonials for multiple businesses.

Lastly, you can have contests to get testimonials.  This is real easy.  Send out a few emails telling your clients you’d like to get some client feedback.  Anyone sending in a testimonial will get they’re name entered to win something (make it something good!).  But then add this twist.  You’ll put a team together and you’ll select the 3 best testimonials, and those three will win something BIG (again, make it something good).  You’ll notice the quality of your testimonials will skyrocket.

If you’re just starting out in your business, or have a brand new product you can give you new product/service to people you trust, who in turn use it and promise to give a testimonial.  Or, if you have testimonials from a previous business or product/service, but not this new venture, you can re-tool your existing testimonials to work for your new venture.

For example, a window washer is adding window installation service, you can quickly and easily make the ‘old’ testimonials work for the new ‘new’ business, especially testimonials about service, quality, or a certain person in the business who still works with you.  Most of those will remain true in your new venture.

Using testimonials is the biggest ways to gain credibility, but there are other ways as well.  First, you can list the accomplishment, awards, articles, book published, etc.  In the late 1990’s, one of our businesses, American Retail Supply, won the award as the “Best Small Business to Work for in Washington State” by a Washington Business Journal.  We used that thing for years, and still use it from time to time today.

Keith also wrote a new book, “Out Nordstrom Nordstrom’s: 57 Secrets to Make-You-Happy Customer Service,” and we use that all the time.

Another great strategy is to use pictures.  Pictures are vitally important because it allows you to use a caption, which is the 3rd most read part of any type of advertisement.  Use before/after pictures when appropriate, or any kind of picture that can relay a story.  Many of my Realtor clients use pictures of their happy home sellers or buyers standing in front of the sold sign.  Think how you can use pictures in your marketing.

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