It’s always better to let your customers sell your products and services on your behalf. building a better customer testimonialFor this reason, testimonials are so frequently sought-after and make many appearances on websites. As with referrals, it can be intimidating to ask a customer to provide a testimonial, and unfortunately this often results in not enough context being provided to them. And while there may be no such thing as a “bad” testimonial, there are plenty of subpar quotes out there that do a poor job of reassuring new customers. These pointers will help you frame the conversation in order to get responses from customers that will move the needle for your customer acquisition strategy.

The best testimonials are:

Believable

While it’s understandable to want a testimonial to gush about the merits of your business, be careful not to lay it on too thick. If it goes a bit overboard, readers will become suspicious and start to wonder if it’s true,  or whether you “bought” the testimonial either outright or with a bribe. It’s important that they’re accurate and realistic, so that customers can relate to them and envision themselves having a similar positive experience.

Recent

When it comes to time, the more current, the better. While a good rule of thumb on shelf life is to make sure you’re using testimonials from within the last calendar year, potential customers do take into account how old most of your testimonials are. If they’re too outdated they might start to wonder if changes have been made to the services or products or staff that led to this period of inactivity.

Results-driven

While it can be flattering to receive some general praise, these kinds of “fluff” testimonials aren’t typically helpful for potential customers evaluating your business. The most effective testimonials chronicle the buyer’s journey, speaking to the pursuit of a goal. Make sure they’re results-driven, citing specific achievements or improvements. This should be a story about transformation, thanks to the effect of your business.

And they should include:

Comparing feared outcomes to the amazing end results that you were able to achieve for the customer. When considering a purchase, many consumers are focusing on the right solution relative to their challenge or goal.These fears can range from a nightmare situation of under-delivering and damage, to it not being the best, the most affordable, the fastest, the easiest, etc. solution for their need. This is normal, and it’s important for them to hear that other people who once shared their concerns have had your business deliver fantastic outcomes for them. This allows potential customers to live vicariously through these existing customers, assuage their doubts and can help them to envision a positive experience for themselves as well.

Pulling out concrete examples to reassure and delight your prospective clients. Again, while general compliments are nice, they won’t move the needle for your customer acquisition strategy. Ask clients to state specific examples so that people have more context, and can follow them through the journey.

Encourage them to speak in their normal voice, not in a professional or “official” tone. Customers have a tendency to overthink it, or act as if the quote they are providing will be broadcast on the five o’clock news. Tell them that they don’t need to manufacture anything formal or draft their remarks ahead of time. Instead, make clear that you’d much prefer them to speak from their true experience, relax and be themselves. Authenticity is always the best sales tactic, so be sure it comes through.


Contracting and Home Services Month Bonus Tip: Try creating a video testimonial from your next project. Contractors sometimes have the advantage of longer-term work, which provides an opportunity to develop a good relationship with the client. Use your customer’s soundbites of praise to outline the goal, any challenges and the solutions you found, coupled with their success story. You can incorporate a few panning shots of the “before and after”, to create a visually engaging asset for acquiring new customers!