Testimonial examples - are they making people sick?

   How could a testimonial make someone sick?
   Have you heard that you can have “too much of a good thing”? 
   You know what I mean:
   Ice cream is nice – but not 3 helpings on the same day.
   Family time at the beach is great – but spending all day there usually means sunburn, blisters and complaints.
   Sugar is nice – but too much can be sickening.

   “Would you like a cup of coffee” 
   “Oh, yes please” you say
   “Thank you, just a little” you reply.
   Then there is silence. You are sitting there, waiting for the next question about how much sugar. 
   It doesn’t come.
   The coffee arrives. It smells great – nothing better than freshly made coffee.
   You raise the cup to your lips, for that first sip.

   “eeeyewwwww !”
   Your eye’s screw up instinctively – she’s added the usual amount of sugar she always does – 
   5 spoonfuls !!
   It’s sickly sweet. You can think of nothing better to do with that coffee, than pour it down the drain.

Now hold that thought.

Are your prospects screwing up their face in disgust at your testimonials?

   Have you looked at the testimonials you are showing your prospects lately? (I’m assuming you understand the awesome power of a third party referral, and you have collected some to use)

Testimonial examples - done badly:

   “Thank you so much for your service. I have just said good bye to your men. They are so polite and friendly and they knew just what I needed, to fix my problem. They fixed it so quickly.
   It’s so nice to have someone who knows their trade and are pleasant to deal with”
   Another of the bad testimonial examples:
   “I’m just writing to say how grateful I am that you came to fix my leak so quickly. I don’t know what I would have done if you had not come then. 
   You deserve all the best things in life – I will tell all my friends”
   Can you just taste the extra sugar? Aren’t they sickly sweet!

   Testimonials are a lot like personal references – too good to be true. People just dismiss them if they are too sweet and flowery.

   But, you’ve got a problem.
   You didn’t write the testimonial letters. You can’t go back and ask them to change them.
   Or can you?
   You know what? If you are getting sickly sweet testimonials it’s not the customer’s fault. Nope! 

   It’s your fault. You’ve been asking the wrong question.

   “Whoa!” you say,  “How can I ask this kind person, questions, if they have graciously offered to write me a testimonial letter?”
   If all you have been saying to people is:
   “Can you possibly write a testimonial for me?” 
   You’ve just gone to the cupboard, fetched the sugar bowl and are now standing there asking “Can I have some more sugar please?”

   You are asking for trouble

   Your customer doesn’t have a ‘Testimonial Writing’ business. This is not something they do every day, so they aren’t used to doing it.
   They graciously agree to write you something, then sit down to the keyboard and get a serious bout of ‘writers block’.
   They know they mustn’t make you look bad, so they scribble down a few sentences that are all sweet and sugary.
   “Hold the sugar please”
   You have the opportunity to guide what someone writes about you, by asking them if they can simply answer a few questions.
    So, what are the questions that will:
1. Make it easier for the customer to write the testimonial?
2. Be a magnet for other people reading the letter in the future and
3. Avoid all the sickening sugary phrases?
Well . . . . . . . . Head off in this direction:
What were their past perceptions? What had made them reluctant?
What has happened as a result of using you?
What specific results did they get from their having engaged you?
What would they say to anyone interested in the service you provide?

Let’s unpack the thinking here.
Try asking these questions to guide them [a written list works like a charm]:
a. What attitude did you have to ‘typical’ tradesmen in the past?
    What fears did you have before engaging me? 
    What was your usual experience of these things, before calling me?
    In what ways did you feel sceptical? Did you have any bad, past experiences? What were they?
This is the bait.
This set of questions usually bring out all the bad stuff like “So many tradesmen said they’d come – but never showed up” and “I thought you were expensive but . . .”
Everyone has had bad experiences with ‘tradespeople’ in the past. 
People identify with the fears expressed by others – because they share the same unhappy problems.
The human brain is hyper-aware of problems.
b. How did you feel as a result of using our service? What has happened for you? How did it go? 
This is the hook.
Here’s where their feelings get a chance to be aired. Your customer now has a chance to express that they feel ‘safe’ ‘confident’ or ‘proud’, depending on what you did for them, or what problem you solved.
Other people respond to emotions. We connect with people who express their emotions. (Consider who you bond with on Facebook, and why)
c. What specific results did you get from using our service?
     What was the bottom line?
Here's where you feel them nibble at your bate.
Let’s get down the facts. 
What real benefits did they get from engaging you? Here, accurate figures and percentage improvement, packs a punch. 
Then . . .
d. If you were talking to a friend who had a need for what I offer, what would you say to him about me? What would you say, to someone interested in what we provide?
Here is where they take your bate and you reel in the catch.
No longer is the happy customer talking to you; they have turned all their attention to your prospect.

They are looking them square in the eye – and saying that they must never do business with anyone, but you.

“Look no further – these guys are all what they say they are. 
I know. 
I’ve experienced their service.
Don’t even think about trying another tradesman, you’ll be glad you did”

I’ve noticed something.
People no longer just write a few flowery sentences about you. They write whole paragraphs. You’ll see long detailed answers to the questions you asked.
This is a good way to get inside the head of your target market to find out their REAL needs, and adapt your business approach to meet those needs.
The big spin-off.
That’s the response you’ll get now, from your prospects.
Now they not only read ALL the testimonial (because it’s believable) but they connect with the author.
They are driven to be your client, by the sheer force of the testimonial.
Now you have a marketing tool to:
Splash over your web site
Hand to every prospect you are doing a quote for
Make the centre of any ads or leaflets you print
And put in PDF format to email to everyone asking about your service (You had never thought of that had you?).
Till next time,
Paul Johnson
Paul Johnson
Call: 0407 261 900 (+61407261900 outside Australia)

Testimonial example from a client of mine:

To whom it may concern,
Re: Letter of Recommendation
Earlier this year I was faced with declining work load & shrinking client base. After 20 years of business I had big decisions to make and no idea on how to fix both problems.
I desperately needed to expand our customer base and with no skills in marketing or sales we were at a loss.
Paul from “Missing Piece Marketing” arrived at our hour of need.
He opened our eyes to the world of marketing and gave me a new skill base to use when meeting with new and existing clients. Confidence grew and success followed.
Through Paul’s “The Secrets of Getting In” programme we have been able to secure 3 new clients in a very shallow pool of possible contacts — in fact of the 6 targeted clients to date we have secured 3 and a further 2 have expressed interest and requested contact at a later date!
It is expected that our business will result in a 20% growth as a direct result.
Paul enabled all this, in a very depressed market place under the current Global Financial crisis.
With simple tools, key phrases and ‘tuned antenna’, I can only see a positive future for us.
Please contact me so I can encourage you to pursue Missing Piece Marketing.
Jeremy Patterson
      KJR Drafting
       Phone: 02 8883 4344 Fax: 02 8883 4322
       Email: kjrdrafting@kjr.net.au 
Jeremy Paterson
  Jeremy was good enough to agree to let people contact him if they had any questions about
'The Secrets of Getting In' course.
Can you see how believable this testimonial is, with contact details included?
Don't worry, in reality few people ever call him. It's just the reassurance that they can, if they ever wanted to.

Testimonial examples?

Here are lots more - many of which follow this format.
 © Paul Johnson 2013  paul@missingpiecemarketing.com.au