How to Get Great Testimonials, Even If You're Just Starting Out

Even a brand new business can get effective testimonials and use them for marketing purposes.

Testimonials help build TRUST, which is crucial for a sale and even more crucial if you offer direct professional services. Testimonials help people feel that your claims aren't just hype, but that other independent people found your claims to be true.

The Winning Testimonial Formula
Here's what a testimonial should include:

1. I AM LIKE YOU. We had this problem...We were concerned about...We badly wanted....We didn't believe you at first, since...

In this step the ideal testimonial describes the problem with enough details so that others with similar situations will say "Oh, just like me!"

2. HERE ARE THE RESULTS OF TRYING YOU. Now we know that your XYZ product/service does a great job. You delivered the benefits you said you would. You delivered FAR MORE than you said you would...than my wildest dreams. Here's exactly what we earned.

This step shares very SPECIFICALLY the results that people got from using your product or service.

3. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND YOU. If you want these same benefits, you should use XYZ product/service.

So, the formula tells people "I am like you. I had a problem like you do and wanted to achieve the same benefits that you do. Like you, I was concerned about what I should do, wondering if anyone could really help. Well, now I know! XYZ product/service delivered everything you said it would and much more. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I owe you a new lease on life and I highly recommend you to anyone who has my problem or wants these benefits."

KEY POINT: Get a testimonial for every major benefit that you offer. If you read Volume 2 of The 6-Figure Practice Blueprint (for details send email to blueprint@successfulpractice.com), you discover a way to identify EVERYTHING your product or service does for people. Take that list and make sure, over time, that you are getting a testimonial that covers EACH ONE.

Finally, be sure to use the FULL NAME and city where people live, and a brief description of who they are and the name of their business if applicable. On the Internet, I like to also include the email address. [Editor's Note: Get permission first!}

Get Testimonials, Even If You're Just Starting Out

1. ASK After you have provided a good service for someone, or your customer has used your product long enough to know it works, then send a letter, email or call and ask for a testimonial (based on the 3-point formula).

2. BUILD IN AN EVALUATION FORM Everytime you complete a service, hand your client a form that evaluates his or her experience. Be sure to include the 3 points and a statement giving you permission to quote.

3. PULL TOGETHER A TEST GROUP This works especially well if you are just starting out. Give a bunch of people a free sample of your product or service, on the condition that they will then talk to you about their experience (and of course include the 3 points in the discussion). Obviously they must agree ahead of time that you can quote them. Be sure to tell them they are under NO obligation to inflate their responses just because it's free. In fact, stress that this is as much to improve your product/service as it is for marketing.

4. ASK EXPERTS AND COLLEAGUES This is also good for the "just-starting-out" situation. Send your product around (or invite peers to experience your service) and get their endorsement. It helps if you get recognizable names, but people with the right titles or degrees can also help. Frankly, ANYBODY is better than nobody, so get any warm bodies you can to review your work (again they must give permission to quote and you should stress honesty)

What About Confidentiality?
In some professions, including my own (psychology), it's very difficult to collect testimonials, because we must protect client confidentiality. What to do?

Offer a seminar where you teach some of what you do with individual clients and get THOSE testimonials. Then you can put them in your brochure, website, packages, etc.. People will at least be talking about the general area of your expertise and you need not identify that this was about a seminar and not your direct service.

You can also get expert endorsements. "I have offered this product to many of my patients and the results in THEIR lives leads me to highly recommend XYZ product for anyone struggling with..." Dr. Believable Expert, M.D.

I hope this helps you stand out from the scam artists (and spam artists) and from your competition to PROVE you are someone of integrity with a solid product or service!

Dr. Sheldon Nix, Ph.D. is Director of The Successful Practice Institute at Eastern College, which helps professionals build 6-figure professional practices and businesses on and off the Internet. Visit the Institute at: http://www.successfulpractice.com. Get a FREE 80-PAGE BOOK "7 Sizzling Strategies for a 6-Figure Professional Practice or Business" with subscription to our 6-Figure Tips newsletter. Send blank email to jointips@successfulpractice.com.


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