Most salespeople will claim to have many happy customers, but can they prove it?
Renewals and repeat customers are one thing, but many buyers can live with being content with their seller and stick with who they know because nothing is broken, but what evidence is there of your raving fans?
In today’s world of sales, most salespeople are aware that a good personal brand is a smart marketing strategy. A solid LinkedIn description should be about how you help customers solve problems, and the success you and your clients have achieved. But why should anyone take your word for it? The message is much more powerful when coming directly from the customer.
So why don’t more people gather and use testimonials? Maybe it is due to the fact that few people know how to do it without feeling like they’re fishing for a compliment. But a satisfied customer will be happy to share their experience and the use of testimonials should be part of your sales strategy.
10 Tips to Ask for Customer Testimonials
1. Capture compliments as they happen. When someone makes a positive remark—make note, even if the compliment is embedded within or connected to another remark “The event launch went really well, and we should talk about next steps.”
2. If you’re not hearing overt compliments like this during client conversations, don’t worry. Sometimes we have created such a strong partnership that they’ve begun to take you for granted. It is always a good time to check in with even the most loyal customers for a quick gut-check. “To be sure to keep you as a satisfied customer, let me just ask whether or not you’re satisfied with the service I’ve been providing.” The client is likely to either provide you with an important course correction (better now than never), or a compliment.
3. Tell me more! Once someone has expressed that your work has been valued, ask them to elaborate on the experience and get to the key points that make you a trusted partner.
4. Make the compliment more tangible. “You know, I’m really glad to hear that you’re happy with our (company, product or services). I have team members back at the office that I’d love to share your kind remarks with… and perhaps even some prospective clients who would appreciate any testimony you could offer about what it’s like doing business with (me/my company). Would you be willing to briefly put your feedback in writing?”
5. Simplicity rules! Make it easy for the customer by explaining that you’re not looking for a long essay, just a few quick lines that elaborate on the compliment they’ve just given you. The kind of thing that fits into a short email.
6. Be specific. Tell them exactly what you’d like them to focus on. You can go so far as to say, “I’m hoping you could mention how the training session made complex research easier for your team to use and understand.” By being specific, you’re making it easier for your customer to execute the favor you have asked for. Getting started is the hard part, by providing a simple prompt, you’re helping them get started.
7. Give Thanks! Once you have received the testimonial, be sure to THANK THEM. That day. Right then. Before you forget. Make them glad they did it. A thank-you note can be both classy and brief: “I just wanted to thank you again for sharing such kind remarks. It reminds me that I have a lot to live up to, and I look forward to exceeding your expectations even more as we move forward.”
8. Ask to share. Be sure to be honest and transparent and mention that you’d like to share their testimony with other prospects from time to time. Ask, “Would you mind if I share it in that way?” The author will take your request as a compliment.
9. Be Social. If the testimonial has been emailed to you, you can take it one step further by asking if they’d be willing to create a recommendation or endorsement on LinkedIn. It is a great, and easy way to make your testimonials accessible to prospects.
10. USE THEM! We all love compliments, and they are definitely a nice reminder of why we put in the hard work but don’t forget the most compelling reason to ask for testimonials: to build and grow your business!
Customers trust no one like they do other customers, and it is an authentic and impactful way to show your value. Having a collection of testimonials is a competitive advantage: Anyone can claim to have satisfied customers. But you can prove it!
*Editor's Note: This blog was originally written in 2014 and has since been updated.