Four Keys to Creating Better Credibility Through Testimonials

“Everyone knows” that people buy from people they know, like and TRUST. And clearly, “everyone knows” that testimonials are one of the best ways to create trust and credibility for any product, service and/or company (i.e. when a third-party says you’re great that’s perceived to be more valuable than when you say it about yourself).

So, here’s my question, if “everyone knows” these truths to be self-evident, why don’t more businesses use them? And moreover, why aren’t they getting new ones every week and/or month?

In fact, I recently did an experiment. I googled, “Accountant Charleston,” just to see if my gut was right. I then went to the first five websites that Google returned and guess what? Exactly! There wasn’t even ONE testimonial on any one of those sites. I actually had to click through to the tenth site to find one site that even had one testimonial on it. Unbelievable!

But one, two or three testimonials aren’t enough. If a business has been in business for years and can only find three clients or customers who liked the product/service they purchased, what does that say about that business? Which is why I always tell my clients to think in terms of “thirty, not three” when it comes to testimonials (i.e. you want to get a lot of them, not just a few).

So, how can you get on the bandwagon of creating better testimonials that can help the people in your target market trust that you can actually deliver what you promise (which is why I call testimonials a “credibility authenticator”)? To find out, you’ll want to keep on reading.

1. Confront What Keeps You From Asking

If you “know” you should do something and you consistently don’t, the first thing to do is NOT to do the new thing. The first step is to figure out what’s keeping you from doing what you keep saying you want to do. The second is to uncover what the misbelief is behind it.

For example, some business owners and entrepreneurs don’t like asking for testimonials because they’re afraid they’ll be rejected by the other person (i.e. they’ll hear the dreaded, “No!” if they ask, or the person will start to avoid them or not want to spend time with them, etc.).

Other leaders don’t ask because, “I’ve got too much to do.” Or, “I don’t have any time.” Or, “It takes too much time.” But, that line of reasoning makes no sense. If people buy from those they know, like and trust, then not making the time to acquire great testimonials that can radically improve the trust factor, is a poor use of time. But it does highlight a priority problem.

Other business owners don’t pursue getting more testimonials because they don’t want to be, “one of those guys,” meaning, one of those sleazy marketer guys/gals.

So, how about you? What keeps you from taking the time to get more and more of your number one credibility authenticator?

Remember, belief drives behavior. So if you want to change your behavior, you have to uncover your misbelief and turn it into a correct belief (i.e. from ” I don’t have enough time” to “There are few things I can be doing right now that are more important that getting a great  testimonial from a happy client/customer”).

2. Write the Testimonial for Them

No, don’t make it up! But, one of the “secrets” to getting a great testimony is to take the work out of it by offering to write the first draft. The rookie mistake is to ask, “Would you be willing to write up a testimonial for me and my business?”

Because most people don’t want to be rude, they’ll often say, “Sure.” But they rarely come through. Why? While their intention is good, most people aren’t writers. Trying to focus their thoughts and put them on paper is difficult (i.e. it’s work).

Some will struggle to find the right words. Others will struggle to find the time to write. And still others will procrastinate because they don’t know what to say. So, eliminate all those excuses by offering to write the testimonial for them.

1. Ask them a couple of questions about their experience. What was it like before they used your product/service? What happened when they first started using your product/service? What are the results now? What would they say to a friend to recommend that they use your product/service?

2. Take their answers and condense them down to a one sentence to one paragraph testimonial. Note: Write from their perspective, not yours

3. Send that testimonial to the person via email. Let them know they can scrap it and start all over again, adjust/edit it or approve it as is.

The benefit of doing this is that you not only end up with a better testimonial, you also have an email trail as a verification system

So, who do you need to schedule a call with to get your next great testimonial?

3. Up the Trust Factor with More Details

When you go to a website and see the phrase, hanging all by itself, “Best thing since sliced bread,” do you buy it? Of course not. You assume the company wrote it themselves to “look like a testimonial,” which actually hurts their credibility.

So, how do you avoid doing that? You avoid doing that by increasing the trust level for for a testimonial.

1.    Blind testimonial – “I was blind, but now I see.”
2.    Name – “Bill Hamilton”
3.    Position – “CEO”
4.    Company name – “Hillside Techware” or city “Brockport, NY”
5.    Website – www.HillsideTechware.com”
6.    Picture – so we can see Bill is a real person
7.    Video – so we can see Bill actually speaking his testimonial

What this means is that if you want people to really believe what you’ve included as a testimonial on your website or other marketing material, you have to shoot for at least level 4. If you go beyond that to 5, 6 or 7, even better. But, at a minimum, you always want to shoot for at least level 4.

Why? Because when someone sees a name, a position, and a company, they intuitively think, “If I wanted to check this person out, I could. I could pick up a phone directory or Google them and call them and ask them, ‘Did you really say this?'”

So, looking at the testimonials you do have, what do you need to do to bring them up to at least a level four? And then, who can you get pictures or video of?

4. Use Them Everywhere

As you read above, I regularly tell my clients and customers, “Think thirty, not three,” when it comes to testimonials. You want a ton of testimonials, not just a handful. And you want to use them everywhere.

You want to use them in your brochures, Powerpoint presentations, sales presentations, direct mail pieces, talks, PR, ezines, newsletters, blogs, etc. (i.e. everywhere).

And when you work on your website, don’t just use them on the front page or on a testimonial page, use them on your sales pages, use them on each product pages, and use them on your services pages.

Never ever be content with just a few testimonials found in a few places. You want to have a ton of testimonials—especially recent ones—that can be found everywhere. Why? Because people do business with people they know, like and TRUST!

So, what marketing materials do you need to add some testimonials to this week?

If you want to do more business with more clients and customers, never underestimate the power of this credibility authenticator. It should never  be, “something I’d like to get around to.” It should always be “something on the forefront of my mind.”

Just think what kind of impact it would make if when a potential customer/client came to your website they saw 200+ testimonials. It would be a game changer!

To your accelerated success!

P.S. If you have some other ideas about this post or about testimonials, make sure you add your comments in the comments section below (or click here >> if you’re reading this by RSS or email)

P.P.S. If you want to attract more clients to your business this year,  make sure you check out my course on “Attract More Clients Like Clockwork.” It really is the “best thing since sliced bread” 🙂