For small businesses, a well-written testimonial has one job: to build trust in the minds and hearts of your would-be customers. Potential customers are nervous. They’ve been burned before, perhaps, or are skeptical. When they can see that past customers have tried your product or service and left satisfied, it helps them feel confident that your offer is right for them.
A really great testimonial is worth its weight in gold, but most of us don’t have the first idea how to get one. It’s common to use spontaneous praise which falls flat because of its vagueness. Enthusiastic sentiments (You’re great! Your business is the best! We love you!) are not specific enough to reassure a fence-sitting customer. Many business owners are too busy or too self-conscious to ask for something better.
Don’t let excuses keep you from having this powerful trust-building, sales-generating tool. Think for a minute of the customers you’ve truly enjoyed and who were pleased and satisfied with their experience. Write down at least three names. Today, write them an email asking if they’ll send you their responses to the questions that follow.
1. What problems were you facing before you found Business Name?
2. What did you feel skeptical about before purchasing from us?
3. How has working with Business Name helped you? How much time, money, or sanity has it saved you?
4. What do you like about our business, our products and/or our services?
5. Have you been pleasantly surprised by any part of your experience? What have you found remarkable?
6. Where do you think you’d be today if you hadn’t found Business Name?
7. Anything else you’d like to share?
These seven questions give satisfied customers an easy way to share their experience. When a customer completes the questions, you’ll have a compelling statement of the doubts they had before deciding to purchase, a summary of the satisfying outcomes, and very specific examples of how your business exceeded their hopes.
When you receive a testimonial from one of the customers you chose, be sure to get it on your website as soon as possible. Consider giving these customers a thank-you gift for taking the time to write about their experiences. It’s just one more way to wow them.
As a business owner myself, I find that the more I ask for testimonials, the easier it gets. Your satisfied customers would like to see you stay in business, and this is one way they can help you. Go ahead. Close the paper and get writing.
Jennifer Hofmann is a business adviser at the Chemeketa Small Business Development Center and the owner of Inspired Home Office. The Small-Business Adviser is produced by the center. Questions can be submitted to SBDC@chemeketa.edu.