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How to Get Powerful Testimonials that Convince Even the Most Skeptical Prospects

get-testimonials

There’s nothing like a testimonial from a real-life customer to convince your skeptical prospects to do business with you for the first time.

Testimonials show prospects how real people have used your product or service to get real results.

Testimonials break down your prospect’s defenses because they’re easy to believe, especially compared to regular marketing copy.

After all, testimonials come from a genuine customer — someone just like the person who’s reading your page.

But …

  • How can you go about getting good testimonials?
  • How should you ask for them?
  • What format should you use for your testimonials?

This post will answer these questions one by one, and I’ll use testimonials I’ve gathered as examples.

To make gathering testimonials easy (and automatic), grab The Testimonials Automator.


Testimonial formats: The Online Standard

When you think of testimonials, your first image is usually something like this:

Nancy Crowley

“The course has paid for itself many times over …”

“My husband and I had decided to start our own consulting business, but were uncertain about the services we wanted to offer and who our target audience was. We needed to figure out exactly what we offered, who we were trying to reach and how to establish a need for our services.

I have gained so much knowledge from the course that I took. The course has paid for itself many times over in the last few months and has driven many of my decisions about our company.

I spent some time trying to figure out a tagline and sought valuable input from Pamela through her forum.

Our first tagline “Build Connections, Achieve Results” captured our strength with relationships, but it proved too general. We’ve changed it to: “Connect with Labor and Government. Get Results,” which speaks directly to our core customer.

Pamela’s course taught me to always keep the needs of our customers top of mind. I am a better listener as a result.

I really loved everything (about it). I use a grid now. I am conscious of sticking with two fonts. I obsess over colors and images. I just finished a proposal to write website copy, which drew on images from some of the free photo resources that Pamela suggested. The list is endless.

The number one benefit is Pamela’s openness and accessibility.

She communicates so well through her lessons, explaining complex marketing terms and trends. She is warm, friendly and reassuring and encourages you to ask questions through her forum. Most importantly, she responds–usually right away.

Number two is the level of expertise that is offered.

I have operated by gut instinct over the years and while it’s served me well, I am so happy to know the right terms to use when discussing marketing challenges, especially in this fast-paced age of digital media. Pamela’s experience, knowledge, and commitment to her customers shines through all of her lessons.

Number three is the number of resources that Pamela makes available.

She has thoroughly researched her topics and is eager to share what she knows including the nuts and bolts of how she creates her fantastic webinars.

My strength is my writing, so I chose a course where I felt I needed the most help, which is design.

If I have the opportunity at a later date, I will take the companion courses because I know that there will be so much valuable information.”

— Nancy Crowley, FX Crowley

This is a standard long-form written testimonial, but it includes some important elements.

First off, there’s a story element that’s easy to follow. Nancy talks about what her situation started as, and how interacting with the product changed her situation.

These “transformation stories” are essential to a good testimonial.

The testimonial also features a photo of Nancy, and the name of her company.

In an age where we read stories about manufactured reviews and paid testimonials, having a photo and company name help prove that the testimonial is real and trustworthy.

Questions to ask to get a good testimonial

One way to elicit a good “transformation story” from customers is to ask them a very specific set of questions.

With a nod to Sean D’Souza’s post on Copyblogger.com, Six Questions to Ask for Powerful Testimonials, I asked the people featured here these questions:

  • What was your situation before you purchased the course?
  • What was the core problem you wanted to solve?
  • What hesitation did you have about purchasing the course? Were you reluctant about anything?
  • What results did you get from the course?
  • What are three specific features you enjoyed about the course?
  • Would you recommend it? If so, why?
  • Anything else you’d like to add?

I let people know that they could pick and choose from the list above, and didn’t have to answer each question.

Asking questions similar to this will help you get responses that fall into a nice story arc —”Here’s where I started, here’s what I did, here are the results I got.”

And because people love stories, your testimonial will be more pleasant to read, or — as we’ll see below — to watch.

Keep a steady flow of fresh testimonials on hand when you grab my FREE Testimonials Automator.


Testimonial formats: The Video Response

Whenever you can, ask happy customers to create a video testimonial. These are incredibly powerful!

Your prospects can look your customers in the eye and hear them describe their experience with your product in their own words, with body language, facial expressions, and voice inflection all helping to support the story.

For more on creating effective video testimonials, take a look at this resource:

 

Testimonial formats: The Before and After

Another powerful element to feature in a testimonial is a “before and after” view of the results your customer was able to achieve.

If your product or service gives your customers a physical or visual transformation that they can show, your prospects will be able to see the results you offer with their own eyes.

In this testimonial, Alison Cummings shares how she completely transformed her offering, starting with who she was targeting, to her company name and website.

The examples Alison provides prove the transformation:

“My new brand clearly communicates who I am, what I offer and the businesses I want to attract.”

Alison Cummings“I was truly starting to lose my passion for social media consulting and was really floundering as I didn’t have a focus or a strong brand that truly represented my values, my offer and my target market.

Because I wanted and needed to take a comprehensive, ground up approach, I enrolled in the Brand Mastery Program.(Now) I’m much more confident and positive about my new brand and my direction. Everything is falling into place.

As “The Social Online Marketer,”  or “The Social OM,” I offer social media marketing for small businesses with big hearts.

How straightforward that sounds now, but I’ve been trying to get to this point for more than 3 years! I am so proud of my new brand identity.

My new brand clearly communicates who I am, what I offer and the businesses I want to attract.

Unlike my prior non-brand, which is my name, title and a generic image chosen for it’s format, colors and graphic references to social media.

Branding before and after

The interaction with Pamela and other members in the forum has been amazing and motivating. Everyone is so supportive, and the ability to give and receive feedback has been very helpful to me as an independent consultant. This is by far the best experience I’ve had with an online program and forum.

The Brand Mastery program is very comprehensive, consisting of individual modules that start with the basics and progress to more advanced lessons. Pamela takes into account how different people learn and how a 1-2-3 approach to instruction can be the most effective way to learn. Her lessons include audio (downloadable), visuals and text, often supplemented with templates and/or interviews with industry leaders.

Pamela is a delightful, talented individual. If she ever tells you to “cover your ears,” get ready for some down to earth advice that you’ll be grateful to hear.

– Alison Cummings, The Social OM

Bonus tip: How to keep your testimonials organized and accessible

Get into the habit of gathering testimonials after every product you launch, service you offer, or course you teach.

If you do this diligently, you’ll begin to build up a bank of testimonials you can use whenever you’re putting together a sales page, an email campaign, or a series of ads.

To keep testimonials organized and easy to find when you need them, select a single location where you’ll file them. This could be:

  • A Google doc
  • An Evernote notebook
  • A Word doc

Be sure to ask for a headshot from customers who provide especially good testimonials. Get permission to use their words, too.

What are the courses they’re talking about?

The training and information that Nancy and Allison talk about in their testimonials can be found inside the BIG Brand System micro-courses:

  • Discover how to choose the best fonts to represent your business and brand with my inexpensive Beautiful Typography micro-course.
  • Figure out what to name your business and how to come up with an effective tagline with my Business Name and Tagline micro-course.
  • Develop a gorgeous color palette that will communicate what your business is about — all by yourself — with my Brilliant Brand Color micro-course.
  • Pinpoint your target market with my easy-to-use Ideal Customer Finder micro-course.


Note: this article was originally published May 15, 2013 and has been updated with new information.

To make gathering testimonials easy (and automatic), grab The Testimonials Automator.


Wondering how to get amazing client testimonial reviews to help market your #onlinebusiness? Follow the simple testimonial template in this post. And grab the FREE Testimonials Automator! #onlinemarketing #onlinebusinesstips

3 thoughts on “How to Get Powerful Testimonials that Convince Even the Most Skeptical Prospects

    • The funny thing is that I know they’re important on two levels.

      As a business owner I know they help people feel comfortable buying from me.

      And as a consumer, I know there are many products I’ve bought on the strength of their testimonials!

      Thanks for stopping by, Hashim. 🙂

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