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Five ways to get awesome (and honest) testimonials


April 1, 2016
By Marc Gordon

We all know advertising works. But we can’t discount endorsements and word of mouth when it comes to influence. Customer-service expert Marc Gordon shares how to get powerful and honest testimonials.

Nothing is more influential than word of mouth when it comes to making a buying decision. The challenge for most businesses is they can’t influence or control what their customer will say, when they say it, and to whom. That’s why testimonials are such a sought after commodity. They provide influence while allowing control of use.

However, challenges can include getting a testimonial – even from a delighted customer, then presenting it in a genuine way. So here are five tips to getting awesome testimonials and turning them into a powerful marketing tool.

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1. Ask in person and on time. Don’t be embarrassed to ask or wait too long until the customer’s enthusiasm has waned. Ask as soon as possible, like when you’re getting paid, the day the product arrives or the job is done. Confirm they are happy with what you provided, then ask if you could “quote them on that” or if they would be willing to put something in writing. Trust me, asking in person is best, followed by the phone. Avoid using email or text.

2. Offer to write it for them. Many customer will gladly provide you a testimonial, but never get around to it. So offer to write one for them with their right to edit it as needed. Almost all of them will gladly accept your offer.

3. Cover key points. Regardless of who writes the testimonial, try to avoid rambling sentences about how awesome you are. Keep it short and objective. Describe what the customer needed and how you were able to help them. Then wrap it up with an emotional statement describing the buying experience.

4. Aim for full name and photo. Most testimonials are fake and people know it. Keep them authentic by using full names whenever possible. Including a photo along with the customer’s name is even better. Be sure to get permission first.

5. Show gratitude. Publicly sharing a buying experience with the world is a big commitment. Be sure to thank them with a hand written note or small gift. It will be one of the wisest things you ever do.

Marc Gordon is a recognized marketing expert, speaker and strategist. His articles appear in over 200 publications worldwide. Visit marcgordon.ca or his online show at marctv.net for more business tips.