Her testimonial is swaying power.
Nearly all consumers now use product and service reviews to decide on their online purchases.1 Positive reviews build trust and grow loyalty. They’ve become indispensable to your organization’s branding and marketing strategies.
According to Merriam-Webster, a testimonial is “a statement testifying to benefits received; a character reference or letter of recommendation”. You have to communicate beyond the bells and whistles of your products and services to leverage the effectiveness of the testimonial. Your prospective client wants help imagining your product’s role in their solution.
Your prospect needs stories. Why? It’s about giving them someone to identify with, who’s used your product or service, so they can make the connection and cross over. Your reader is looking for a reason to buy (or they wouldn’t have dropped in), and most people are strongly motivated by someone else — someone like them in some significant way — who has experience with you and what you offer. Every good story features a hero, and that’s most often you, in testimonials. The testimonial is written from the perspective of the character you saved from demise or helped to become the hero in their own story. What’s more compelling than that? Make sure it’s okay with that happy customer that you share their story, and that it wasn’t a private fist bump.
The third-party perspective overcomes skepticism. Let’s say your ecstatic customer isn’t someone your prospect relates to very much as, say, a Princess Buttercup, or a Gotham resident. Okay, even if you don’t get to be Westley or Batman, you’re still not the fact-spewing salesperson. You shine yet because objectivity increases in their eyes via the testimonial’s third-party nature. Otherwise, HR departments would just let you write your own letters of recommendation — wait, what? Don’t even. If you’re bothering to learn what it takes to start strong and solid, and thrive by helping others thrive, then build this third-party objectivity into your word-of-mouth advertising that you channel into your website and brochures. The testimonial writer’s words provide utter authenticity. Speaking of which…
Authenticity warms your prospect to the facts. Like a sales script on a cold call, your sincerest account of the facts, benefits, and applications of your product and service can provide you the secure feeling that you’re prepared for your web-shopping potential clients to discover your online presence. If you do that part very well, congratulations on getting your reader to want to know more. But she is savvy and seeks someone else’s testimony that verifies those facts, someone who has experienced those benefits. She respects herself enough to demand that you respect your business and its trajectory enough to provide her with authentic reviews. Authentic testimonials will convince her of your authentic quality, and move her towards the decision to purchase.
Your prospect is on a quest and will consider information from your website, external internet reviews and personal recommendations. Offer products and services of high quality. Publish people’s responses to that excellence, everywhere, to develop confidence before they experience your high quality for themselves. Testimonials will build trust. Eventually, these happy customers will think of you first when it’s time to buy again, or when their friend asks for a recommendation. They’ll be adding their testimonials, lending power to sway new readers to make their first purchase — from you.
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This article was adapted from Four Reasons to Use Testimonials in Sales, by By Liz Scavnicky-Yaekle.