Did you know…
that someone else’s opinion of you leads to more credibility and quicker sales than any other form of marketing?
Because people invest in the people they trust.
If someone trusts you – and I trust that person and value her opinion, then I trust you – (I’d love to quote some equivalent mystical relationship theory that ‘feels like a twist on Pythagorean’s Theorem… – but alas, I cannot!)
As a mom entrepreneur, your best selling strategy is a happy client. And a happy client is worth its weight in gold for you and your ongoing success.
Consider how often chat groups, ‘opinion surveys’, and rating sites are consulted for referrals.
That is why every entrepreneur needs to make obtaining KILLER testimonials one of the KEY marketing tactics you consistently employ. Of course, you’ll want to feature testimonials from past clients who LOVE what you do and how you work… and are willing to say so. And, since this will be something that you’ll do more than once, it’s a good idea to set yourself up with a repeatable and successful system from the start.
1. A bird in hand is worth two in the bush…
No matter what you do it is important to capture a clients experience and testimonial as soon as you can while working together. Whether you have a system to share and implement testimonials or not, it is never too soon to begin to gather the good words of others about your products and services. Don’t wait until you have it all set up to ask.
2. Strike when the iron is hot…
Testimonials should be gathered during the high-times of working with your clients… You may want to time your requests after your clients have implemented your suggestions and begun receiving results. If you wait too long, you run the risk of your happy clients losing those details that really set you apart and speak to potential clients. Over time – we forget specifics and really only remember feelings. Feelings are great, but specifics solve problems. Potential clients are looking for you to solve their problems – and then they’ll feel good after you’ve worked together or delighted them with your product or service.
3. Inform & perform, then ask…
Our advisor had a very interesting tactic to obtain referrals. He began our second meeting by letting us know that he would not be in business without referrals and that 95% of his clients are referred. He then promptly slid a piece of paper with ten blanks on it asking us to please give him 10 names and phone numbers of our friends and family whom we thought could benefit from his information and services. Although a bit shocking and direct, it worked (eventually – but more on that later).
These key actions will give you a framework to follow:
- Inform – It is a good idea to let clients know that you would love referrals and a great testimonial from the get-go. And be sure you inform them that you rely on their experience and good word for marketing. Many entrepreneurs build the ‘inform’ piece into their initial meeting and even into their client agreements. You see – the real world doesn’t know what it takes to run your own business, so we just need to clue them in.
- Perform – Now comes the easy part – Just perform! Do what you do – brilliantly, delight your clients and over-deliver.
- Ask – The thing I would change about his approach is the timing. When he asked for referrals, we had not yet experienced any ‘results’ from working with him… and therefore, it felt more like a ‘breach’ than a resounding “Yes! Absolutely! We’re happy to help you based on our great experience!”
The story ends well though, because although our financial planner asked for 10 references we did eventually give him six names that led to one client. And that’s a pretty good rate of return for a five minute time investment.
4. Ask boldly, authentically and courageously for ‘their words!’
With all the noise in the online cyber world today, your client testimonials bring value, heart and authentic real-ness to your ongoing reputation and strategy as a business. Your client testimonials will allow potential clients to identify and self-select to work with you. If you write the same message as copy – it will actually have the opposite effect. Let’s just take a look and compare the two scenarios:
Here’s a real excerpt from a client testimonial:
The great thing about Cena is that she just “gets it” since she is a mother and entrepreneur herself. Her positive attitude combined with a humanistic “real” approach makes you feel as if you are speaking to a very close friend who wants you to succeed! Cena’s energy made me want to ‘step up’ and be a better version of myself as an entrepreneur and a mother. She assists you in implementing your action plans with gentle challenges and support so that you will feel successful. Her professionalism and optimism combined with her sense of humor made me look forward to joining her webinars every week.
Now, with a little morphing – here’s what it might sound like coming from me: (I’m so embarrassed to actually put this into print – but it really does drive it home!)
The great thing about me is that I just “get it” since I am a mother and entrepreneur myself! My positive attitude and humanistic “real” approach makes you feel as if you are speaking to a very close friend who wants you to succeed! My energy will make you want to ‘step up’ and be a better version of yourself as an entrepreneur and a mother. I’ll assist you in implementing your action plans with gentle challenges and support so that you will feel successful. My professionalism and optimism combined with my sense of humor will make you look forward to joining me every week… Aren’t I wonderful? How can you say no? – Just sign here.
Need I say more….? From me, at best – Cheeky – at worst – a real turn-off.
Get it from your happy clients… It works so much better!
5. Provide format, structure and cues.
The best way to get powerful testimonials is to take the guess work out of the process for your past clients and customers. If you’d like to receive a certain type of feedback or referral make sure you bring that to your clients attention. One of the biggest fears for many people is writing. When you ask someone for a testimonial you are asking them not only for their thoughts and verbal commitment to you but you’re also asking them to write something. When obtaining testimonials it is perfectly okay for you to provide an outline, structure and ideas for your clients to work from. And I’ll be honest, there are even times when I have drafted a testimonial for my client and asked for their approval. In the world of entrepreneurship, this practice is totally acceptable and encouraged especially when you have clients who endlessly delay. If you are going to ‘draft it’ for them, be sure to obtain your client’s approval. Most people will be overjoyed that the job is done for them and be happy to endorse you.
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net
6. Success begins with key ingredients.
These ingredients will help you gather awesome testimonials from past clients that will sell your products and services much more effectively than you can alone! A great testimonial includes an emotional pledge, statement or response to working with you, a strong before and after comparison statement, specific improvements your clients have realized as a result of working with you, and often a personal accountability statement or guarantee (Contact me at….). Of course, a head shot, name and contact information all create validity for potential clients.
7. Complete the circle with gratefulness.
As soon as you obtain a rocking testimonial write back and say thank you. In fact if you own your own business it’s a great idea to have a few set responses ready so you don’t have to rethink it every single time. One way I like to complete the circle with my past clients is to send them a card.
The key ingredients that make client’s testimonials strong are the emotional content shared in their transformation, their authenticity and believability, and the connection to others (in this case real potential clients can identify with other’s pain and transformations instantly).
Obtaining client testimonials is one of the quickest ways to appeal to your potential clients. When you receive testimonials, put them up on your site, add them to your marketing copy, and share them in your newsletters, on social media and in other communications. You never know who is out there, just dying for you to show up to solve their problems, relieve their stress and help them along on their journey.
If you are a MOMpreneur who needs help overcoming overwhelm, contact me. We’ll set up a Discovery Call to see if I can help.
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Meet Cena Block
Cena Block is a successful MOMpreneur on a mission. She is a coach, talk show host, speaker, author, and founder of Sane Spaces, (sanespaces.com) and the upcoming MagnificentMompreneurs.Com – from Mom to Wow®. Her private coaching, group programs, and teleseminars kick-start MOMpreneurs and help them thrive. She hosts ‘Managing MOMpreneur Mayhem’ a bi-weekly show on Word of Mom Radio. To access her free training for MOMpreneurs go to sanespaces.com. You can find her @sanespaces on any of the social media sites, or contact her directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.