I am often telling my clients to blow their own trumpet. For some, it does not come easy, but being confident to talk about your ability to deliver a fantastic service, to deliver an amazing product or to deliver delight in whatever form it takes is a critical part of being an SME owner.
Which is why when I help businesses grow, I always tell my clients to gather testimonials, because however persuasive your advertising is, or your sales conversation, the real persuasion comes from other raving fans – other people blowing your own trumpet for you.
A testimonial is social proof that can really nudge a customer from indecision into purchase. Many purchases are fraught with buyer’s doubt. Am I making the right decision? Will this work? Should I stick with what I know rather than risk a new supplier or product? Am I being ripped off? Which all boils down into one question that sits at the heart of most purchases: Will I regret this?
It is up to you as the business owner to offer up the evidence to allow the prospect to answer no to that question, and testimonials are such an effective way to do this.
The trick is to make it easy for your customer to give a testimonial. Give them pointers to help them understand what to write. A testimonial is a tiny story about your business, and every story should have a beginning (what was their challenge or issue?), a middle (how you helped) and an end (what the benefit or impact was for that customer). It need only be a single sentence, but this will help others see exactly how your product or service adds value and will be more persuasive than just a stream of (admittedly quite nice but rather non-specific) “fantastic”, “love it” and “great”.
If you have a large or ever-changing customer base, such as in a retail environment, perhaps it would be more practical to ask for a rating on a small card or online. Whilst a rating does not have the depth and detail of a written testimonial, you only need to look to Amazon to see what an impact those little stars have on the success of a product.
To see the power of the testimonial, look no further than The Bestof annual competition. In fact, due to my clients’ testimonials, The Business Allotment came second in the UK in its category of Business and Professional Services. Oops, there I go again, blowing my own trumpet…
Member since: 11th March 2014
My name is Victoria Hunter and I'm a true Hertford person - I went to school in Hertford and grew up here. I understand the importance of bringing trusted businesses and the community together, and believe...