Thursday, 1 March 2012

Writing for your business: how to create a winning testimonial

What is a testimonial?
A testimonial is a favourable assessment of your services or product by someone outside your company.  In short it's someone else singing your praises.

How do you create effective testimonials?
Online by encouraging feedback on your website, in your blog and product pages.
Offline by asking face-to-face clients for their feedback.

Isn’t this scary?  Yes it often feels so especially if you're new in business. Even if you're scared,  think of the advantages of clients telling others how you've motivated them, solved a problem or shown them a new way of doing something.

How do we ask for feedback that won’t turn into all criticism?
It’s tempting for us to think that we know what our buyers want, and what they like about our product or service. But we’re deluding ourselves if we think we have it right all the time. Less positive comments give us the chance to improve our performance.  And wouldn't you prefer they give us that chance?

Here are some easy steps to end up with winning testimonials
First: ask what they like about what you did for them.

Asking for the positive first allows the focus to be on what they like rather than giving them a blanket permission to destroy us.

Second: ask for a couple of ways to improve what you do
Doing this proves to them you value their opinion. Shows them you take their business seriously.

Third: construct a testimonial or review from what they’ve said
Clients will say they're satisfied with what they receive. But they often put off telling us . The problem about getting that positive feedback is many people are hesitant about writing it. That’s why it’s better if you guide them. Here’s a formula that avoids general feedback like ‘fabulous’ ‘or wonderful service’ which convinces nobody.

  1. Take the problem that you help them solve
    2.   Add on the way you helped

   3.   Plus the result

And you have a specific viable testimonial.

For example:

Before buying your product, I’d always struggled with my accounts. So I was hesitant to buy yet another program. But your helpful 30-day trial convinced me to try it. And I have to say the results were better than I hoped. Not only did I find it easy to use with clear instructions and help feature, but also it worked exactly as it said it would.  Now my accounts are up to date every month, taking me only a couple of hours to complete. Thank you for your product and service.

Anyone reading such a testimonial can find specifics to relate to and will be reassured.

Finally and most important.
When people offer you feedback, you need to have their permission to use their names and to edit if necessary their feedback. Not to change what they’ve said which will be illegal, but to shorten sections where needed.

Reliable feedback built up over years will produce results for you far beyond the effort you make to acquire it.

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