Reason to believe is one of three key elements of a successful marketing and customer communication strategy, necessary to successfully grow your revenue – overt benefits and meaningful difference being the other two.

Providing your customers and prospects reason to believe in your ability to deliver the benefits you offer is key to shortening sales cycles and minimizing competitive pressure. Strong reason to believe reduces the pressure to discount your offering, often resulting in an increase in the value of the average sale for a given product or service.

For a reason to believe to be most effective, it should address a concern your customer has about your offering or ability to deliver the benefits and difference you claim. The better you can predict your customer’s barrier to purchasing from you, the better you can directly address it with demos, testimonials, guarantees, pedigree, etc.

Testimonials and creative guarantees are often overlooked marketing and sales tools available to all businesses. Of all sales tools, I believe testimonials to be most overlooked.

tes·ti·mo·ni·al (tes-tuh-moh-nee-uhl)
n.
1. A statement in support of a particular truth, fact, or claim.
2. A written affirmation of another’s character or worth; a personal recommendation.
3. Something given in appreciation of a person’s service or achievement; a tribute.

A testimonial is a written or spoken statement – extolling the virtue of your product, service or company – which is then used in the promotion of your product, service or company.

To be effective, a testimony should be from a person with a similar profile as the people in your target market. The power of using testimonies is their ability to speak directly to your target audience, from outside of your marketing machine.

Having a customer, peer, industry expert, analyst, etc., extolling the value and benefits of your offering is incredibly powerful — the most powerful endorsement of your offering available. It’s compelling reason to believe in your ability to deliver the value and benefits you promise. As a form of reference, it gives a level of assurance to others not yet familiar with your company or offering. It gives a level of comfort in engaging with your company.

How do you get testimonials? Assuming you deliver a quality product or service, it’s easier and more natural than many people believe. Here’s some tips to get you started using testimonies:

  • Look within written communications between your company and satisfied customers. Find the compliment on your quality, timeliness, dedication, etc.
  • When you receive a compliment either spoken or in writing, ask at that time if it’s okay to share that comment with others.
  • Call one of your favorite and most satisfied customers, your fan, and ask them to share a few words on why they value a relationship with your company.
  • Don’t cheat. Never put words in someone’s mouth, don’t beg. If you offer real value and benefits, you’ll have no problems getting quality testimonies.
  • Ask the person giving the testimony before it’s used. While not required in all cases, it’s a courtesy others appreciate.
  • Whenever possible, provide the name, title, and company of the person giving the testimony.

So, look for testimonials and integrate them into your sales and marketing activities. Remember, it’s worth saying again — testimonials give compelling reason to believe in your ability to deliver the value and benefits you promise. It gives a level of comfort in engaging with your company.

Do yo use testimonials in your marketing and sales efforts?  If not, why? If so, what has been your experience?

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