Using testimonials from happy clients in your marketing materials is a great way to demonstrate “social proof.” Social proof is a psychological mechanism by which people look to the actions of others to make a decision. So, if you have lots of people talking about how your services improved their lives in some way, your prospects will start to think more highly of you.
A good example of social proof is the product rating system on websites like Amazon.com or Citysearch.com. Say you are looking for something (books, hotels, restaurants, etc.), and find two comparable options, one with an average 3-star review and one with an average 4.5-star review. You’re more likely to pick the one with the higher rating based on what other people have said. That’s social proof in action.
Why Client Give Testimonials
Testimonials not only help Amazon.com sell more books or Expedia.com book more hotel rooms, they can also help you sell your services by highlighting other people’s successes and results through working with you.
For clients to give you testimonials, you need three things:
- Great service that leaves clients happy
- An easy way to collect client testimonials
- A reward system to thank clients who share their thoughts
Here are a few ways to collect testimonials from clients.
Method #1: Send A Client Testimonial Request Form or Letter
Send prospects a letter stating something to the following: “I’m putting together a list of testimonials from satisfied clients. Would you take a few minutes to tell me what you thought – good or bad – about my services? I look forward to learning what you liked, but I also welcome any suggestions you might have.”
Give prospects an easy way to return the form. If you ask them to mail it back, provide a self-addressed stamped envelope. If you ask them to fax it back, provide the fax number clearly on the form.
Be sure to include a signature section that asks permission to use their comments in your marketing materials. For instance: “You have my permission to use my comments in your ads, brochures and other promotions used to market your services.”
To boost response, you can also mention that if they complete the form, you will send them a “thank you” gift.
Method #2: Collect Photos and Videos During Celebratory Moments
Carry a digital or video camera to capture live pictures and comments. For instance, if you hold a live workshop, collect a few pictures or comments from participants during breaks. If you are holding negotiations or a new product is about to launch, be ready for the final celebratory moment afterwards.
Before you can use these photos or videos, make sure to have your client sign a short release form stating you have permission to use their photos in your marketing materials.
Method #3: Use a Client Feedback Phone Line
Advertise a client feedback phone number on your website. When clients call in, they’ll hear a short recorded message encouraging them to leave comments. They can then leave a message stating their name, their comments, and permission to share their comments with company staff and in your marketing materials.
You can then use these audio recordings as testimonials on your website, in ads or by another hotline for prospects to call in and listen to “what our clients are saying about us.”
Reward Clients Who Give You Testimonials
After you’ve collected a testimonial from a happy client, be sure to thank them because they are not only sharing their thoughts with you, they are also granting you permission to use their comments and picture in your marketing materials. In other words, they are helping you out considerably. Potential gifts ideas can include a free report or product, a discount on additional services, a gift card to a local store or restaurant, or free services from another vendor.
Client testimonials can be a powerful way to demonstrate your expertise and credibility as part of your full marketing strategy to build a case for why your prospect should hire you. Not everyone finds testimonials believable or persuasive, so use them as needed.