The Marketing Power of Social Proof: Testimonials
By: Wendy Maynard
Offer proof to your prospects. Testimonials are one of the most powerful and cost effective selling tools you can implement in your arsenal of marketing. Why? Because you are offering social proof to your prospects from their peers attesting that your services/products actually work. If you say you are good at what you do, it’s self serving. But, if others say you are good...it’s credible.
Providing testimonials from current and prior customers of their actual problem and the specific results from your company enhances your company’s credibility. It’s not enough to say that you solve problems - you have to show your prospects the direct results of other people. Testimonials offer proof that you are the real deal.
People receive a lot of information and they are often skeptical. But, they will be more inclined to buy from you if you show examples of their peers who have achieved positive results. An effective testimonial is filled with specific benefits and substantiates the claims you are making. Whenever possible, testimonials should offer tangible, quantified results. (ex: I lost 65 pounds, I raised my income by 42%, I saved $300, and so on.) To show it comes from a real person, a good testimonial includes a first and last name, a city and state, a business name, their industry, and a website URL.
Be sure to ask people for a photograph. You can add their picture next to their testimonial in your office or in a brochure. It’s a great strategy for your website’s testimonial section. And, you can take your website to a higher level of interactivity by including audio and video for an even greater impact.
If you are offering a new product or just starting your business, you can contact business associates and offer them a free session or product sample to try. In exchange, ask them for a heartfelt testimonial. Most of the people you contact will be delighted to do a trial run of your offering and provide a testimonial.
On your website, your brochure, and in your presentations, provide testimonials from current and prior customers of their actual problem and the specific results from your company. These third-party endorsements work to sell for you - even when you are not around. Your testimonials also help close the sale with prospects. Depending on your type of business, you can even cover your walls with pictures of happy customers. Or you can create a notebook that shows pictures of customers with your products.
Even after you’ve been in business for a while, don’t stop collecting testimonials. You can use an autoresponder service to automatically follow up with a customer who has purchased something from you to ask them how they are doing. Ask them to provide a testimonial. Incorporating a testimonial into an advertising campaign and/or direct mail marketing is also very effective.
You’ll find that incorporating the power of social proof to your marketing arsenal will help spread word-of-mouth advertising. It will also help you easily close sales. Often, a person will review your testimonials and be prepared to buy before you’ve even met. The reward of collecting testimonials is always worth the effort!