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"Get 'em While They're Hot!"

by Dave Balch, "The Stay-at-Home CEO"ô

(c) 2002, A Few Good People, Inc.

What do you do when a customer compliments you on your product or service? (If you donít get any compliments, you need to read all of my other articlesÖ NOW!) The correct answer is "I get it in writing!"

Itís wonderful when your customers appreciate you; itís even more wonderful when you can share that appreciation with others. After all, what gives you more credibility than a happy customer? And who better to spread the word than that customer?

The word of the day, then, is "Testimonial". Here are some tips and tricks to getting good testimonials and using them to your advantage.

  1. If you get a compliment on your product or service, ask if you can get it in writing, preferably on their letterhead.
  2. If you have what you feel is a good customer and you donít yet have a testimonial from them, ASK FOR ONE!
  3. Regardless of how the subject comes up, ask them some questions that will clarify the benefit they enjoyed from your product or service.
  4. Offer to put it in writing for them to save them time (and to word it the way you feel is best). Naturally, you will ask them for approval of what you wrote and then, if appropriate, they can put it on their letterhead.
  5. A good testimonial gives specific results; the more specific the better. For example, "Our productivity increased 35%" is much more powerful than "You saved us a lot of time".
  6. Try to get the letter addressed directly to you rather than "To Whom it May Concern" i.e., "Dear Dave" or "Dear Sally" is better than "Dear Person" or "Gentlemen".  That personal touch makes the letter appear more sincere.
  7. Use the testimonials everywhere you can. Every piece of literature, every brochure, every flyer should have at least one. And donít forget to use them generously on your website! (Donít include your customerís email address though, because that would make it available to spammers who comb the web looking for addresses to steal.)
  8. Organize the originals in a binder where customers can see them, or so you can bring them with you on calls.
  9. Make a separate piece of literature that contains nothing but your best testimonialsÖ call it "Our brag sheet" or "People are talking about usÖ and we LOVE it!"
  10. If possible, eliminate dates on your testimonials; if itís too old it loses some of itís punch, even though everything they said is still just as valid as when it was first written.
  11. Can you take photos of your happy customers with your product? Some products lend themselves better to photographs than others; thatís something only you can decide, but if itís a particularly large or well-known customer a photo could add more impact. (Remember, though, that if you use a photo of someone you will probably need some sort of release from them allowing you to use it for promotional purposes. And, if you didnít take the photo yourself, there could be some copyright issues to consider, so get some legal advice before you use photos in your marketing materials. It sounds like a lot of trouble, but a good photo is pretty powerful in establishing credibility for you and/or your product or service.)

Start collecting testimonials today, even if youíre not quite sure how youíre going to use them. Then, when youíre ready, youíll have a boatload to choose from.


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