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The Power of Testimonials

Mon 16 July 2012

Stephanie Kleyman is a lawyer from Zorrow Law Ltd and is in our BNI Commonwealth chapter.  She delivered a great education slot to the members this week entitled, ‘The Triumph of Testimonials’. The slot was so good that I thought some of its contents would be well worth sharing to all that were unable to attend. 
 
Most of us know how important a good testimonial is, they create trust for future customers and clients and they insure that you/ your business look credible to any outsiders.
 If no one ever won the lottery – and we didn’t read about their sometimes credible, incredible, unworthy and worthy stories, then we’d never believe it was feasible. If we didn’t believe it was feasible – we’d be complete idiots to buy a ticket.  We see the reality, we understand it’s a gamble, a long shot etc – but you just never know.
 
It’s all very well that as a business you create promotions or advertisements showcasing your features and benefits and how great your services are.  However, as the business owner, of course you’re going to say how great your business is.To put it simply, what’s more important in business is what others are saying about your products and services – rather than what you are saying about them. We trust what others say.
 
Stephanie focused on the importance of testimonials. She explained...
 
“Testimonials which are Pithy, hook-laden, interesting, and detailed work like crazy, however testimonials that are boring can actually end up doing more harm than good.”
“Remember the “4 S’s”: Great testimonials are -  Specific … Short … Sizzling … and Signed. “

“Avoid the “4 L’s”: Long, lame, lazily-written, and lacking a point - just having someone say something nice does not carry mysterious selling power.”

Stephanie pointed out to the group that it’s totally ethical to help customers and clients verbalise their feelings for testimonials – a good point that we should remember when asking for testimonials.

Stephanie went on to say...

“Don’t be shy. Ecstatic customers WANT to give you an effective quote. Most aren’t all that articulate, and will welcome a little coaching on how to say what’s on their minds.”

“When you reach this point … where you can confidently look a satisfied customer in the eye and divine what part of your amazing service/product/business really rang their chimes … it is totally ethical to help them verbalize their feelings.  This includes the specific results that brought those feelings of gratitude to the surface.”

“When you assist in the way a testimonial is presented, you’re doing everyone a favour - the quote, the reader, and your own bottom line.”

“The worst kind of testimonials you can have is the incoherent, boring ones that go on and on about nothing that is relevant. You chase readers away with drivel like that.  Almost as bad are the “rah rah” ones that say “Steph is the greatest. I really like her".  I’m sure it’s true but there is nothing convincing going on so it's less likely to lead to more business.”


“That’s why you should be involved. Find out what the writer meant when they said “Thanks – I really enjoyed your product.” 

“It may take a phone call and a little detective work to discover that they just doubled their income using your product or advice!”

We are now fully immersed in what is being donned as a ‘social era’ – social media platforms are making the good old fashioned word of mouth even more valuable. With the services of LinkedIn and Twitter - we are able to get our hands on detailed testimonials of real life people at the touch of a button. 
 
This brings me on to the importance of LinkedIn Recommendations –  and my advice is pretty simple, be sure to get as many as you can. 
 
Endorsements from your former colleagues or someone you’ve been working on a project with or delivering a service to are a really effective selling tool and show credibility.
 
The main objective of a LinkedIn recommendation is that someone feels strongly enough about you to provide you with a written testimonial and that looks pretty powerful to anyone wanting to hire you or do business with you.
 
The same goes for giving recommendations – be sure to give out written recommendations on LinkedIn or anywhere else for that matter, if you ‘re impressed with someone who worked for you or with some business they did for you - be sure to let them know.  Social networks make that pretty simple to do these days.
 
Many thanks to Stephanie for a fantastic education slot this week – let’s hope we can all put the gems she shared into practice.

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