One of the key ingredients of success is trust.
If your audience has no faith in you – or doesn’t see you as credible – you won’t get very far.
If you want to build credibility with your customers, you need to start documenting your success consistently via testimonials and reviews.
Show your clients how you are exceptional before, during and after the sale.
Seeing is believing, right?
Read on for actionable tips to help you gather testimonials and reviews, but first, let’s get down to some basics and a secret at the end that has worked for me that very few people do.
About reviews and testimonials
Reviews and testimonials are two effective ways to document your success.
But, contrary to what you may think, they aren’t exactly the same.
Let’s take a look at what each of these important tools for success actually mean.
- Reviews: Hubspot describes a review as “a written reflection of someone’s experience and feedback on your company’s products or services. You’ll often see reviews on sites like Google Reviews, Amazon, Yelp and social media. But you can place them on your website and in sales kits, too.
- Testimonials: A testimonial is an honest endorsement of your service, and it’s usually used on your website and in your marketing. Customers will often share specific examples of how your service or product helped them, as well as an overall assessment of the value you offer.
Whether you’re gathering a testimonial or a review – or both – you have to ASK.
Steps to building credibility
Reviews and testimonials are a necessary part of building trust with your audience.
Do you order the product on Amazon that has 76 great reviews or the one that has 4?
Asking can feel uncomfortable, but you just have to do it.
Here’s some help to make it a little less awkward and to ensure you’re asking in a professional and ethical way.
Asking for a review
There are several ways to go about asking your loyal customers to provide a review for you.
1. Mention it in your follow up conversations and social media
You are following up with your customers, aren’t you?
Sometimes talking about your business and stories you received from other happy customers in natural conversation provides the perfect opportunity to ask for a review.
When posted on social media, those stories can entice others to do the same.
Simply ask them, “Do you have a story to share?”
2. Send an email blast
If you have an email list, use it to send out a message requesting honest feedback.
Provide clear instructions on HOW to provide a review (give them the specific links where you want them to go), so you’re more likely to get a response. No one wants to have to WORK to give you a review.
You can also provide a little incentive for the people who choose to participate (like an online item that is a high value but low cost for you ). It’ll up your chances of hearing back from your audience significantly.
3. Ask for a review when you’re being praised
It’s great to get that phone call, email, text, or link to a Facebook post when a person is telling you how much they love your service
So jump on it and ask if they’d be willing to provide a review.
4. Ask after a purchase
After someone makes a purchase or has used your services, ask for feedback and get their story.
Stories are “sticky” and will resonate with future prospects.
Ask about how their experience was different since they bought the product or service.
Satisfied customers are often happy to share their good experience but are often not asked.
The key is follow-up and stay in touch with added value – not just trying to make more sales.
Asking for a testimonial
Follow these strategies to get some valuable testimonials for your website.
5. Ask right away and follow up well after the sale
Right after someone has made a purchase is a great time to ask for a testimonial.
Getting their thoughts while they’re still fresh works.
The most powerful testimonial is well after they have used the product or service.
For example, I helped Invisible Fence brand dog fences with this strategy with great success.
Shortly after the installation and training of your dog is a good time to document that you were happy with the salesperson, installation team and the dog trainer.
But after my training, Invisible Fence changed their focus to capture stories 6 months, a year, and even more, after the family enjoyed the quality of the invisible fence, doggie doors, inside fences, and customer support.
These types of testimonials are even more powerful and persuasive to future prospects.
6. Do not just settle for written testimonials
Written testimonials are great and video testimonials can be even more powerful.
For example, I have over 40 video testimonials on my site and they have helped secure 100’s of thousands of dollars of new business for me over the years.
Ask people to ideally keep them short, usually under 90 seconds. (For most businesses that is the case – longer form testimonials can work well for a more intricate product)
7. Don’t stop at a “no”
If someone initially declines to provide a testimonial, wait a few weeks or months and ask again.
If they gave you permission to stay in touch with you, take advantage of it!
Nurture these customers with emails that offer value, not just a request or a sales pitch. And be sure to share the stories of other thrilled customers and how they are enjoying the product or service they use.
Then, ask again!
It’s entirely possible that they’re just now realizing the full value of making their decision to do business with you.
8. Make them easy to find on your web site.
Very few businesses do a great job of showcasing their testimonials.
Many do not have them at all, they are buried and not easy to find, they are out of date, they are just a boring quote without a full name, or simply not even there.
Don’t make your customers jump through too many hoops to find them.
On my site I have a tab that simple says Success Stories. There, you will find my “Raving Fan” client list by industry, and over 100 written testimonials – using the secret I will share in a moment – and over 40 video testimonials.
The secret to building credibility
There’s no doubt that testimonials and reviews add to your credibility and build trust between you and your audience. Use them online and they’ll live right in front of the customer
Here is one final secret that has really worked for me: get pictures.
Get pictures the customer’s experience before, during and after the sale.
For example, if you have a home remodeling company, make sure the pictures include the project.
Look at the pictures that accompany most of my testimonials. Pictures show the relationship!
A picture of the family with their dog and the Invisible Fence review is powerful.
A picture with the family after the kitchen remodel is powerful.
The before and after picture of the weight loss or after working with the personal trainer is powerful.
Make sure your testimonial strategy includes pictures!
Follow these steps for documenting your success with testimonials and reviews and show potential customers the value of working with you.