Delivering one of my Marketing Masterclasses on Friday last, we spent some time talking about Robert Cialdini’s definitive work on the Psychology of Persuasion, ‘Influence’. If you’ve not read it – you should.
As a part of this, we talked about the power of social proof. How getting ‘people like me’ to share their stories and testimonials, making it much more likely that your customers will buy.
I was asked a very interesting question. And it sounded like this …
“But how do you go about getting testimonials? I mean, you can’t just ask, can you?”
Like I say – interesting.
Because I’d suggest that simply asking or a testimonial is far and away the simplest starting point.
I’m not being judgemental – I simply think it’s interesting the perceived barriers that people see. It was clearly a block for this person and she hadn’t been able to see a way round it – as yet, no-one had volunteered a testimonial so she didn’t know what to do.
If simply asking for a testimonial feels uncomfortable, how about sending a letter or email that reads something like this …
I’m so pleased we were able to help you with [the service]. It would really help me to learn more about how we can help our customers better if you could share some of your story with me, and perhaps you’d be kind enough to let me use some if this on my website on our ‘what our customers say’ page?
I’ve come up with four simple questions that should make it easy for you …
- What was the situation before you started using [the service]? Why did you feel you needed our help?
- What specifically did we do to help you solve that problem?
- What’s the situation now? How has [the service] worked?
- And finally, what difference has this made to you personally?
Just let me have your thoughts or, if you prefer, we can have a telephone conversation and I’ll make some notes from what you tell me. Let me know what works best for you.
I will put your comments together into a paragraph or two, and I promise I won’t publish anything without letting you see it first.”
Could that work for you? You may have to rejig the questions slightly to match what you do but I’m sure you get the gist.
Maximise the chance of a YES
You may also want to include a small ‘thank you’ gift to go with the request, then you’ll also be deploying the weapons of ‘reciprocity’ and ‘likeability’. In short, you’re making it VERY hard for them to refuse.
Having a process for collecting testimonials is critical. Not only does this help with new customers, but I promise that it will also reinforce your relationship with your existing customer; you’ll also be reminding them why they loved your help and will reinforce one of Cialdini’s other key ‘weapons of influence – consistency. The fact that we are compelled to be consistent with decisions we have previously made.
So, if you don’t have enough great testimonials that you can use, then I give you permission to go out and find some more. You’ll be amazed what nice things people will say about you and what you do, but only if you give them the chance.