I t can easily take a few months for a new business to work out the kinks in the system. And nobody wants to feel like you’re learning your business on their dime.
So what should you do if you’re a startup and want to prove you have a track record of happy clientele? Collect testimonials.
Without testimonials, you’re defenseless before the skeptic. Yet I’ve been puzzled why many businesses don’t use testimonials. Here’s what I learned:
• Many customers are quick to complain, but rarely offer praise … unless they’re asked.
• Most salespeople won’t request testimonials, but gladly accept them if offered.
So why won’t many salespeople ask for that recommendation? They typically deem it socially inappropriate behavior.
Recognize that most salespeople are social sellers and want everyone to like them. They won’t ask their “friends” for testimonials, figuring it’s rude and customers may be offended.
So if customers aren’t offering recommendations and salespeople aren’t requesting them, it’s up to management to bridge the gap. After all, managers and owners want profitable customers. They recognize that selling is a two-way street; that it’s acceptable to ask customers for help; and that testimonials can help create credibility and close additional sales.
Furthermore, the vast majority of customers are usually happy to help extend their good reputation with testimonials and introductions.
And yes, the testimonial sets up the request for an introduction. Once you have the written testimonial, you can reasonably ask the customer: “Who do you know that we can send this to, introducing me?”
Beyond opening doors, the testimonial letter is a strong defensive strategy. It’s a safe conclusion that a customer writing a testimonial and/or recommending you isn’t likely to give the next order to your competitor. Thus the testimonial:
• Enhances credibility
• Opens doors
• Acts as a reference check
• Moves the selling conversation forward
• Allows you to tag the client’s name and social media contacts while increasing your own outreach
Testimonials are a great way to reduce the prospect’s stress level, showing you have raving fans. These simple endorsements can significantly help overcome any doubts your prospects have about your sales pitch.
So strengthen your business by asking a friend for some help. The worst that will happen is they say no.
With that said, I wish you a week of profitable marketing.
Get more great marketing tips at www.askmrmarketing.com.