Nov 27 2012
My learned colleague (and fellow member of the folically challenged club) Jeffrey Gitomer said, “If you become a testimonial-based seller (which I believe to be the most powerful form of sales in the world), then you can get testimonials for every element, or every step of your sales cycle.” and he is right on the money.
Why? It’s very simple…. because customers like to feel reassured that the purchase they are about to make will do everything that the sales person has told them it will do.
Why? Because there is a principle based around social proof that effectively confirms, “If other customers like this, it must be good”.
The power of using testimonials during different stages of the sales process increases sales when ‘real’ customers are seen or heard testifying as to how beneficial a product/service has been for them. They increase your credibility because they are third-party endorsements rather than words out of your own mouth. The goal of a customer is to predict the future about a product/service and by offering real stories from other real customers can turn a picture of your proposition into a tangible experience.
When using testimonials there are a number of elements that can maximize their effectiveness:
• The more specific a testimonial is the more power it has for the customer. For example; “Great company, great service” lacks meaning because it is vague and doesn’t tell the customer anything. Consider the impact when a testimonial becomes more specific: “I was really impressed with this company’s speed of service. They pulled out all the stops so that I had product sitting in my warehouse within 24 hours.”
• Every testimonial should include the customer’s name, their title and their organisation’s name (if relevant), and ideally a thumbnail size photograph of that person. This helps to convey the authenticity of the testimonial and builds credibility.
• Dividing testimonials into different aspects of the sales process can be really useful. When used in context they create more impact. For example; if a sales person is struggling to get an appointment with a prospect, a relevant testimonial could help persuade that prospect to agree to a meeting: “It took me two years before I agreed to meet this company. Having worked with them almost a year, I wish I’d seen them earlier.”
• Within the context of the sales cycle, testimonials can be used at many stages, particularly: – Initial letters/emails to request a meeting – Sales presentations to reinforce key points – Objection handling and negotiations – Post – meeting follow up to provide reassurance – Managing ongoing relationships with regular contact
• Validating the benefits of your product or service can be achieved brilliantly by using a video format for your testimonials at the end of your presentation. This provides a powerful ‘benefits-driven’ summary that confirms and proves your claims. Just remember, the only thing better than saying the right thing at the right time is when your customers do it for you–and better
• You are already acutely aware of your most frequently encountered objections. That’s why testimonials should acknowledge and mention these objections, before explaining why they still decided to buy from your organisation. For example: “I was initially surprised with their prices until I saw the quality of their product and experienced their vast range of promotional services.”
Testimonials are really powerful when they acknowledge an objection that paces the probable experiences of your prospects, and then wipes out the objection with an overarching benefit
• When requesting testimonials you are looking to obtain a genuine viewpoint that praises your organisation/product/service. Therefore, the best time to ask for this is when your customer has experienced the benefits of your product/service.
To help busy customers respond to your request, provide them with other examples of testimonials so they can see how easy they are to write. It also helps if you can provide them with a simple structure to follow, for example:
- Why did you agree to meet us?
- What persuaded you to buy our product?
- What benefits have you gained from using this product?
- How would you describe our level of service?
Using “The most powerful form of sales in the world” really is that simple.
News: And I am just as capable of giving testimonials as I am at asking for them, so stand up and take a bow, GolfKings. So many people ask me when do I ever take a break, but actually I have incredibly long vacations in the summer, a little light piste relief in the New Year, and I do manage to get some golf in too: Which is where these guys come in. They have an amazing range of options and wives, girlfriends and “significant others” have lots of fun too. Join the club!
I hope you are making the most of Top Sales World/Top Sales Management/Top Sales Awards as these three sites enter the final week of their long and illustrious lives. But time waits for no man – occasionally for women though – and we cannot stand in the way of progress. What comes next will always be so much better, as you will find out next Tuesday. Excited?