Part 5e: Plan Details
Step 5: Follow Up
Later, once your testimonials have been published to your site, let your friends know so they can check them out.
What? (to include)
As we come to the “What” questions, we are looking primarily at what we should include as we go about developing our strategy to get more testimonials and endorsements.
We start with our Ultimate Strategic Objectives. What are you ultimately trying to accomplish?
Why are we back to this? It’s because you need to ensure, as much as possible, that the highlights of your Ultimate Strategic Objectives are included in the testimonials that your clients give you.
How are you going to ensure that? Well, we’ll get to that shortly, but the key is that when your Ultimate Strategic Objectives come out of the mouths of your clients then it brings you greater credibility because you have someone else singing your praises and—here’s the key—they’re using the most powerful concepts that you want to highlight.
There are three other elements that I want to make sure that you include in your testimonials, as much as it depends on you.
The first element is emotion. You have to use emotional words such as “amazed”, “Wow!”, “Fantastic”, or whatever else you can come up with.
With these emotional words, your testimonial becomes a lot more persuasive than if a client simply wrote, “John helped me a lot. You can depend on John.”
The second element we have already touched on briefly is your Ultimate Strategic Objectives.
The third element you will want to include is the name, address, and picture of the one giving the testimonial. The address might be a website address or a general physical address, such as “Colorado Springs, CO.” The more detail you can include, the more believable it will become.
So this brings us to the next question, How? How do you get those testimonials and endorsements? Here is an easy template that I would like you to go through.
Step 1: Do an Excellent Job.
Today, nearly every business has become a commodity. That means, there could be 100 other providers of your type of business in your competitive arena. If you do a good job, you will continue to get your share of the pie. However, if you want to experience business acceleration, you must be excellent.
That means you take more time in your work (and studies) to produce a higher standard. If you’re providing a service, take the time to think through how the quality of your service can be upgraded. People recognize and reward excellence.
Step 2: Ask for the Testimonial.
StrategicallyThere is one way that you can be totally strategic when you ask people for testimonials. I have done this in the past and it works really well. Recognize this basic fact of business. People are busy.
If you just say, “Joe, can you give me a testimonial for my website?”, they won’t know what to say, they are often overcome with busy-ness, and they might not be prepared to put the mental energy in to give you a testimonial. Even if they do give you a testimonial, it might not reflect the strengths that you want them to highlight.
Here is what you do: You actually need to write the testimonial yourself, recognizing that other people are either lazy or busy, and that you can strategically craft your words into something more powerful.
Go to your Ultimate Strategic Objectives and highlight one aspect that you want included.
State an aspect of your Ultimate Strategic Objectives, then include a positive aspect (intangible quality) of your character. Examples might be your integrity, dependability, honesty, expertise, trustworthiness, etc.
Step 4: Say Thank you!
Respond immediately to every testimonial you get. Thank the person for the time they took and tell them of what it means to you in your business.
The Testimonial and Endorsement Acquisition Template
5 Steps to Great Testimonials and Endorsements
Back in 2008 I was sitting in the office of Honorable Najib Balala, the Minister for Tourism in Kenya. We were talking about ways to bring back tourists to Kenya after the post-election violence at the beginning of 2008.
I suggested to him an idea which he loved, so I asked him for a letter of endorsement. He said to me, “Patrick, I’m surprised. I would expect a guy like you to already have that created and all I’d have to do is sign.”
Well, I hurried from his office after that meeting, wrote the letter of endorsement and sent it to his office for approval. His assistant actually messed it up a little and filled if full of grammatical errors. However, it was sure nice to carry that into meetings when we tried to enlist major corporate sponsors in a project we created.
Create 5 different testimonials, as if they were written by different people, where each testimonial highlights a different positive attribute of your Ultimate Strategic Objective. The goal is that all 5 testimonials will bring out the totality of what you would love to have people say about you and will motivate your audience to do what you would like them to do.
Then you choose 5 people that you would love to get a testimonial or endorsement from. Maybe one person is your friend “Joe”. Send a letter to Joe and say,
“Joe, you’ve been a good friend of mine for a long time. I was wondering if you could write me an endorsement or testimonial for my website. I know you’re busy so I was thinking of something like this:
“When it comes to providing xyz product/service, I am thankful that (your name) is available. He/she is trustworthy (or use one element of your Ultimate Strategic Objectives that you want to highlight). Joe Blow, ABC City, Vermont.
“Would that be okay to use something like? Or perhaps you have something else to say.”
You will be surprised at the number of people who simply sign off and allow you to use them, or make very small changes.
If you only send out a generic request for a testimonial, you will be lucky to get 1 in 10 back that you can use. In contrast, you should have at least 5 great testimonials if you follow my advice.
On my website and throughout my marketing material, I use testimonials extensively. Some of these (not all) have actually been crafted by me. Now the people that signed off on them would not have done so unless they believed them to be true. So what you state must be true and can't be outrageous.
Step 3: Print and/or Save the Testimonial in a File.
Print out the testimonial with your client’s signature on it and save it in a file. I have heard before of officials from a regulatory agency coming to an office to check on the business’ testimonials. It doesn’t happen very often, but you do want to be prepared.