What are the values of "testimonials?"

A READER ASKS:  In your experience, do prospective clients pay attention to testimonials?  
Remember that selling has a great deal to do with not only the perception of competence, but the concept of confidence as well. A testimonial is one way to lower the [mental] perceived risk that the intangible and/or intangible service a client is about to buy are plausible, realistic and risk free or at least "low risk."  When you ask a client for a testimonial, think more about what a risk-averse executive or manager needs to hear and request the testimonial address the risk issues they considered in buying from you.

First, consider the greatest value your clients have received. What have they said was the most important benefit you provided? Then build your requested testimonial around that. Consider including the following, in a sequence that works best for you;

• The project issue or challenge (the preamble for why product or services were required)
• The intended outcome of the engagement (the value provided)
• The actual outcome (especially longer term, in unit terms of dollars, output, or other measure that might translate to a prospective client)
• The reason the client selected your firm (this is the key element to convincing the next client why they should select you, and should include why any reservations were quickly overcome by your performance)
• The core strength you brought to the project (what aspect of your firm's offering you want to highlight)
• The reason the client selected you above other consultants (here is the second most important aspect of the testimonial to induce your prospect to select you)
Think about the points above when you are writing your printable marketing pieces or updating the presentation of your website.  Use these concepts to make your company standout and demonstrate why “YOU” and not “another firm.”

There is good value in planning your "testimonial portfolio" to be a working part of your sales and marketing tools.  Consider the range of compelling reasons you would like to place before a prospect. Since each testimonial can't realistically present all of these reasons, work with your client to create a testimonial that fills the gaps.

P.S.  Clients are less impressed by a testimonial about a firm when it doesn't necessarily relate at all to the buyers proposed needs. If possible, collect testimonials for the individuals on the team rather than the firm in general.  People relate to people.

The 4th quarter is almost upon us and I wish you a tremendous and profitable finish to 2013!  Call or write if I can be of any assistance.

George F. Mancuso, CPC, CEO
Client Growth Consultants, Inc.