One of the biggest hurdles small business owners, coaches, consultants and service providers have to overcome in the sales and marketing process is trust. If prospective clients don’t trust us, they won’t do business with us. Period.
So how do we overcome that hurdle and instill trust? How do we prove that we will do what we say we’ll do when every other business out there is doing the same, yet many are not delivering?
One way is through customer testimonials. And the secret to getting more is simple: ASK. Asking for and publishing customer testimonials and recommendations should be a part of your Marketing Plan. It’s one of the best ways to show prospective clients proof that you deliver as promised.
Here are 5 easy ways you can ask for testimonials from happy customers without feeling like you’re begging;
Make Testimonials part of your service agreement
When I’m signing up a new client and going through the onboarding process I actually write this into the contract or customer service agreement. Under roles and responsibilities or deliverables, I list what the client can expect from me and then what I expect from them in return and one of those things is: “When you are happy with my service and the results delivered, please leave a Google, Yelp or LinkedIn review, that you agree I can use in my marketing”. Excited and hopeful new clients are always happy to agree to this and it’s a good way to plant the seed so that I don’t feel so awkward about asking later.
Send a LinkedIn requests for a Recommendation.
If you have past clients who were thrilled with your product or service send them a LinkedIn request for a recommendation. It’s easy to do through your LinkedIn profile. Once they leave they’re LinkedIn Recommendation, thank them and ask if they mind you using it in your other marketing, like on your website. (see my example here).
Make it easy to leave reviews at your office.
if you’re a brick and mortar business like a dentist, attorney, CPA, retail store or restaurant, make it super easy to leave testimonials by having an iPad at your counter. Have Yelp or Google+ set up and ready to receive reviews. When a customer is checking out and happy and smiling ask if they’d take a second to leave a review of their experience.
Ask for a review as part of your post-project review.
At the end of a project or job when you are performing your final evaluation, reviewing next steps, doing a post-job survey or making follow up phone calls, is the perfect time to ask for testimonials. Be sure to include this step in any post-job process you have.
Send reminders to your happy clients.
If you have a happy client who loves working with you, don’t be shy about sending reminders. People love to help and support small businesses, they just get busy with a million other things and forget. So don’t be shy about sending a few email follow ups.
Following these steps are guaranteed to get you more customer testimonials that will help future clients overcome the trust hurdle and choose you over your competition. Just to show you it works, here is an example of a testimonial from one of my happy clients and the links to all the places she left it:
Jill West Nutrition Consulting:
Carolyn Higgins and Fortune Marketing Company have been invaluable to my business! As a health care practitioner, I received no training in running a successful business. Carolyn was the coach and expert I needed to help me understand the business side of my work. She not only helped me research and define my target market and ideal client, but also provided valuable input and direction for my logo, website, networking and so much more.
In addition, Carolyn provided a very detailed marketing plan with the systems and tools in place that give me a solid foundation to continue to grow my business. In the time I’ve worked with Carolyn, my revenue has doubled and I’m attracting the clients I love to work with. I highly recommend Fortune Marketing Company —Thank you, Carolyn!
Remember, regardless of how you ask, make sure it’s as easy as possible for customers to leave a review or testimonial. If they get frustrated with the process, if it’s too many clicks or too many sign-ins they’ll bail. So send links and have it all set up for them so it’s as convenient as possible.