Business and salespeople are always looking for ways to get a higher return on the time they invest developing their business relationships. Successful people will tell you that one very effective strategy is testimonials. Webster’s dictionary defines testimonial as a “statement testifying to benefits received.” It’s amazing that something so simple can have a huge impact on the referral business you can generate for your referral sources and on the business your referral sources can generate for you.
Sure, when you give testimonials about others, it makes them feel good. But what are the real benefits to using testimonials in your strategy to generate more business for others (and for yourself)?
Testimonials are used to create credibility for the person you are endorsing. When you give a powerful testimonial about someone, the credibility and trust you create for him or her far outweighs anything that he or she can possibly say about him or herself. In fact, sometimes a strong testimonial, properly placed and effectively delivered, can create more value for an individual or business than a new client.
One good testimonial can generate several new clients, and effective testimonials truly keep on giving.
So how can I create testimonials to give about others?
One of the biggest challenges in creating testimonials for others is knowing where to find them. You can create testimonials about others using strategies such as:
- Meeting one-to-one to learn about their business
- Visiting their office or worksites
- Asking to see testimonial letters they have received from their customers
- Talking to the customers or clients you’ve referred to them and ask them what they think
- Doing business with them
What’s the best way to deliver a testimonial?
Decide who your audience is and the reason you are giving the testimonial. Some things to consider include deciding whether you’ll be giving the testimonial in a one-to-one situation or in a group setting. Will you have collateral material or will your message only be spoken? Is it a personal introduction or are you endorsing someone with the hopes of making an introduction?
Then you should focus on real-life success stories. The key to doing a great testimonial is to keep it brief. Your testimonial should spark interest and dialogue about the person you are edifying so a prospective client or customer can seek more information. The elements that make up a great testimonial include:
- How long you’ve known the person and how you met them.
- Did the person help you or someone you know? You will want to share briefly who was the recipient of the product or service provided.
- What did they do? Did they (a) save a client money (or help a client make more money), (b) solve some type of problem or (c) provide outstanding service or follow-up?
- Give your endorsement
Support others and they will support you. The more testimonials you create and deliver for other people in your network, the more likely it is they create and deliver testimonials for you. Be a role model. Use the strategies discussed to support others and by doing so, demonstrate how others can provide the same for support for you. There are many appropriate places you can choose to deliver testimonials for others including:
- Introducing them at a networking event
- Introducing them at a meeting
- Introducing them in your company or client newsletter
- Bringing them up in conversation when you hear a need from someone they can help
- Creating a testimonial “booklet” and placing it in your office or on your desk for your customers and clients to view
When you give a testimonial about someone, you don’t guarantee they will land a new customer or close a big contract. You do provide a starting point for a dialogue that can cause a business relationship to happen. Successful business and salespeople know that the time invested in making testimonials happen, for each other, can lead to a significant and fruitful return on relationships.