Ten testimonial tips | submitted by Tim Johnson

Whenever you sell, people take your claims with a grain of salt. However, when someone else says something about you, be it good or bad, they tend to believe that person more.

Testimonials are the primary tool business owners and marketers use to overcome skepticism and reinforce claims.

Thing is, many small-businesses owners aren’t aggressive enough in accumulating and using testimonials. But it doesn’t have to be a big undertaking. Just below I share Ten Top Testimonial Tips that you can put to use immediately in your business at low or no cost.

1. Implement a comment card that asks this specific question: “If you were trying to convince someone to ‘visit Joe’s Restaurant,’ what would you tell them?”

2. Use the gathered testimonials in all your advertising and on your web and social media sites.

3. Put together a nice book containing all your testimonials and put it in your reception area for waiting customers to browse.

4. Feature a few testimonials in each email you send to customers and prospects.

5. Feature a few testimonials in your printed newsletter or catalog.

6. Upload testimonials as reviews to your local search sites on Google Places, Bing, and Yahoo local.

7. Upload testimonials as reviews on sites like Google, CitySearch, FourSquare, YellowPages, and other review sites. Be sure to comply with the sites’ terms of service.

8. Include your testimonials as a part of your proposals or pre-sale packet.

9. Ask some customers to provide video testimonials. Use a Mino Flip or your digital camera to record one on the spot.

10. Ask customers to submit testimonials by telephone using a phone-to-audio service. Then link and post the audio on all your websites, blogs, and social media sites.

11. Bonus! Share the testimonial book or play back audio or video with all the testimonials to the people that gave them to you and then ask for an order from them!

Testimonials truly are low-hanging fruit. They are proof that you deliver or over-deliver, and they often will do more to convince people to do business with you than your own sales message will.

To give you an idea of how to implement a testimonial gathering system, I can share the story of a Madison restaurant I work with. We included the question from Tip #1 on a comment card I designed for them. The card is a lot different than your standard restaurant card in that we also ask for (and receive) quite a bit of personal information that we use in email marketing and social media. Within a month, we had over 50 unique and catchy testimonials to begin using and over 300 email addresses!

I suggest you pick a starting point on the list and implement the tips one at a time, one per month, until the list is fully implemented. When you’ve done that, tally up your sales growth and let me know the impact that testimonials have had on your bottom line!

Tim Johnson helps businesses implement the right blend of online and offline marketing so they can sell more at lower cost with more time for what’s important.

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