January 27, 2010

Asking for a Testimonial


Hostway Team

By Joanna Fletcher

Testimonials are fantastic free promotion for your business. Having customers willing to publicly endorse your business is one of the best ways to sell to people who like doing business with established companies. If you can show how much your customers love your product, you are one step closer to your next sale. So go ahead—ask!

Follow these simple steps to maximize your chances of getting a great review.

1. Focus on your unique selling points.

If your unique selling point is your ability to deliver on time, every time, pick a high-volume customer that you have delivered to consistently. They will naturally want to talk about how much they rely on you. Make sure their message is the message you want to send.

2. Figure out who your best customers are.

Make a list of five good customers and call them all. If you are nervous about asking for testimonials, remember that the worst they can do is say no!

3. Ask for what you want.

Keep your request simple and clear. Just say, "I'm looking for some customer testimonials— would you be willing to say a few words about my business that I could post on my Web site?" Resist the temptation to talk about other business in this call.

4. Make it easy for them.

Your top customers are usually quick to say yes, but you could wait forever for that email or letter! Ask if they have five minutes right now, or can they give you a good time to call back. Be ready with your voice recorder or make sure you take down their exact words if you are taking notes. Nobody likes to be misquoted. Alternatively, follow up a "yes" with a quick email reiterating your request a couple of days later.

5. Identify the source.

Include your customer's first name and initial of their last name at the bottom of your draft of the testimonial. Include their company name if you work with other businesses. It is also helpful to include something about how they have used your product, for example "Sarah G., workshop participant" or "David F., using Wowzer for six months" if this is not already evident from their testimonial.

6. Check and double-check.

Once you have the testimonial in written words, email it back to them. Ask them to check it and send you a confirmation email.

7. Say "Thank you."

Once a customer has made the effort to give you a testimonial, it is vital to thank them in a way that is meaningful to them. This may be a simple verbal thanks, or an offer of a free product, or a discount on their next order. For other customers, the most valuable thanks is to post their testimonial with a link to their Web site on your site as soon as you can. This shows you respect and value their effort.

About the Author

Joanna Fletcher is a writer and entrepreneur who has successfully gathered testimonials from customers of all ages.

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