How to get and use powerful testimonials
By Mike French
Testimonials are very important for promoting your business and selling your products and services. What others say about you has a greater impact than what you say about yourself. Testimonials are the most powerful way to sell. You can increase the response to your advertising dramatically by adding testimonials. If you want to get and keep the marketing edge, use testimonials!
Proof of credibility
One good reason to use testimonials is they are proof of credibility. What you say about your business, products and services means far less to consumers than what another consumer says. Testimonials prove in a way that you can't, that your claims about your business have credibility.
Testimonials reduce or alleviate a buyer's fears. Let's face it, there are people who are afraid to buy and use recycled parts. They are afraid the parts will fail and they'll be stuck. They're afraid about the quality of the parts, or they are afraid you won't deliver on time. There are other things they're afraid of that stop them from buying, too. You can assure customers but your words don't have the same impact as the words of a satisfied customer. Let’s take the first fear – that the parts will fail and they’ll be stuck. To address that fear, you can print a customer testimonial that says, “Hi, I’m Troy Ferguson of Troy’s Auto Body & Repair. I have bought used recycled parts from Harry’s Auto Parts for seven years. The parts arrive on time, in good condition, they fit and they’re guaranteed! I like using Harry’s Parts because they're OEM parts that have been carefully removed from late model salvage. They’re parts I can trust. Harry’s has saved me thousands of dollars. They have always helped me get what I need." You could say these things about your company yourself, but they would never have the powerful impact of a direct quote from a satisfied customer.
Gather customer testimonials for all aspects of your business. For delivery: “Harry always delivers to me fast.” For customer service: “Harry is there for me in my hour of need. It was 4:45pm and I had a job to get out when I called Harry’s. They were about to close, but they stayed late and got me the part I needed. They saved my day!” For price: “I saved $230 on the engine I needed when I got it from Harry’s. I added up the savings over the last six months and found that I’d actually saved a whopping $16,230 dollars on parts! Not only are we going to Disneyland, but we're paying off two credit cards - thanks to Harry's!”
To get maximum impact from Test-imonials make them specific: “I saved $497.50.” Avoid using words like “great” or “quality” or other non-specific phrases like, “They really care.” These words are non-specific and almost worthless. Always include details because details give credibility. “I saved $497.50” is better than “I saved money” or “I saved about $500.00” – which is only slightly better.
Answer an objection
Answer an objection by including a testimonial like: "When I thought about using recycled parts I was really nervous. I was afraid I would be shipped junk and would be stuck with it. But I have learned first-hand that Harry's Recycled Parts ships nothing but the finest OEM parts. Before I bought, I personally toured Harry's and saw how each part was professionally removed from late model vehicles using state-of-the-art equipment and technology. I saw how each part was cleaned, tested and inspected before it was shipped. I found I don't have to worry about being stuck. Harry's puts an inspection sticker on every part with the name and phone number of the inspector so I can call if there is a problem. I love the 100%, no-hassle, money-back guarantee with a 101-day-warranty on every part." - Greg Gimble of Gimble's Auto Repair
Prove what you claim
Prove a Claim: “On Saturday afternoon, at two minutes to five, I had a problem installing a part. I called Harry's and explained my problem. I knew they were probably closing and would tell me to call back on Monday. But they didn’t! The guy stayed on the phone for thirty-five minutes and helped me figure it out. He even gave me his home phone number in case I ran into more trouble. I still can't believe how helpful and patient he was!” - Tim Evans, Evan’s Auto Body Shop.
Keep it real
When you use testimonials - NEVER make up testimonials!! You could get in deep water legally if you do. The truth is, you better be getting some wonderful testimonials unsolicited or it’s a sign you have customer relationship/sales problems you need to fix immediately.
Ask for them!
Ask your customers for testimonials. When someone tells you they liked your service or appreciated doing business with you, ask them if they mind putting it in writing for you. Most customers are very happy and willing to do this. But, amazingly, many businesses never think to ask for testimonials.
When customers see you use testi-monials in your advertising, they will be inspired to send you one, too. The more you use testimonials, the more you get.
Develop and use a testimonial questionnaire
Never leave testimonial writing totally to the customer because most won't know how to write one and it will keep you from getting something useless. When someone offers to give you a testimonial, use a questionnaire to collect the information needed. Draft their testimonial from the information they supplied, then send the final draft to them for their approval and signature, so you can use it as is. Once they approve of what you write, their testimony is genuine and still theirs. Because of this, you will have a valuable, powerful tool to use in your advertising.
Sample Testimonial Questionnaire
My name is: ________________________________
My street address is: ________________________________
I live in the town of: ________________________________
I own my own business: ____________________________
My age is: __ 18-30 __31-40 __41-55 __56-up
My experience with the staff of (name of your company) during the entire process of buying parts was: (please be specific) ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
The thing I like best about (name of company) is: ________________________________________________________________________________________________
The biggest reason I chose (name of company) ________________________________________________________________________________________________
Other comments: ________________________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________
Mike is President of Mike French & Company, Inc., has been providing advertising and marketing products to the auto recycling industry since 1982. Mike is a master marketer who specializes in results-producing direct response advertising methods. He is an author, speaker, publisher, consultant and successful business owner. His marketing company produces over 400,000 different promotional products, graphic design, all kinds of printing, complete direct mail, mailing lists & mail fulfillment and magazines for the most progressive automotive recycers in North America, as well as for many other types of businesses. Mike can be reached toll free at 800-238-3934, or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org., or visit: www.MikeFrench.com