#SalesBreakthrough: Uplevel Testimonials

How much time do you spend actively seeking new testimonials and making them the best they can be?

According to McKinsey & Company, testimonials and word-of-mouth are the driving force behind 20-50% of all purchasing decisions. And why? Because, when done well, testimonials are stories — and we know that authentic storytelling is key in making the sale.

But, if you’re like most entrepreneurs I’ve worked with, you’re leaving your testimonial power on the table by not being proactive or curatorial enough.

Most of my clients get testimonials in one of two ways:

>>They wait for a client to say something nice, then ask if they can use it as a testimonial — leaving them with no control over the statement

>>They ask a client to provide a testimonial, and they take what they get — again, leaving them with no control over the outcome

Instead of perpetuating this passive approach to testimonials, let’s take control and be the storytelling directors of our client reviews! 

The most powerful thing you can do to improve your testimonials and see increased sales is to be proactive, ask questions, and tailor the testimonials to suit your needs. To do that, you need to do three things:

  1. Be proactive — ask your star clients for testimonials when they are enjoying the benefits of working with you
  2. Ask them questions to elicit thoughtful responses that help tell a story
  3. Turn their answers into a narrative and send to them for their approval

In other words, you take their statements/sentiments and write the testimonial you want. The truth is, your clients want to give you glowing testimonials — but not all of them are great storytellers and writers. Take the pressure off of them, write up the testimonial yourself and get their approval before you publish it — your clients will thank you for it.

Your Challenge This Week:

Get at least one (1) new testimonial!

Choose a client with a compelling story to tell, and reach out for a testimonial. Indicate that she can write up the testimonial herself, but that you’d prefer to send a draft for approval based on her answers to a few quick questions (I find sending via Google Form is best).

The questions you ask will vary depending on your industry and the scope of your work. Try to keep it to 3-5 questions, and let your client know that you’re not looking for essays — just a few sentences will do. Here are some example questions to get you going:

1. What challenge were you facing when you were introduced to my services/product?

2. What, if anything, would have held you back from hiring me (the cost, the time investment, you weren’t ready, working with a coach via phone, etc)? What do you think of these reservations now? (NOTE: With this question, you’re trying to uncover objections that other potential clients are having and allay their fears.)

3. How has working with me changed your life/business? Can you give quantifiable and/or specific examples? (NOTE: As a sales coach, I’m looking for clients to tell me how much money they made or how many clients they booked after working with me — the more specific, the better!)

4. If you were to recommend me to your best friend, what would you say?

5. Is there anything you’d like to add?

Pro Tips: When possible and appropriate, always ask for a photo and the client’s preferred title — helps tell a better story. And, if feasible, go for video testimonials! So much more can be communicated through facial expression, tone and body language.

I invite you to drop your best testimonial in the comments below — share the love!

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