The perfect testimonial

“Joe Blow is a great guy and a pleasure to do business with” may be a terrific compliment, but it’s a poor testimonial.

Good testimonials from your satisfied customers are a gift. They’re an invaluable sales tool … IF they’re worded right.

So, how do you get the perfect testimonial? Here’s how I structure testimonials I gather for clients from their customers to ensure they’re getting maximum impact:

Before – Get your customer to describe what life was like before he or she started working with you. Was it chaotic? Stressful? Frustrating? Be specific – detailed but concise. Both facts (sales figures, etc.) and emotional content (frustration, stress) are important if you want your sales prospects to “see themselves” in your customer’s shoes. Here is where you need to do some hard thinking about who your “target customer” is, because that’s who your testimonials should be aiming for.

Then – Spell out what the process of working with you was like. If you’ve got a specific system for solving your typical customers’ problems, by all means mention it, by name if possible. What did you help them do that they couldn’t do on their own?

Now – Here’s where the ultimate benefits go, both tangible and intangible. Did sales or customer service ratings improve? Does your customer now accomplish more in less time or with less effort? As with the “before” step, be detailed but concise, and don’t forget intangible benefits like peace of mind.

Using this structure, you come up with something like this:

“Before I started working with Jane Doe Financial Group, my retirement plan was a mess. I wasn’t getting the investment returns I knew I should be, and I was afraid that, if something were to happen to me, my family would be left struggling. Jane did a comprehensive review of my portfolio, diversifying my holdings and saving me money on management fees. She even sat down with me to make sure I understood my current portfolio. Now, I have everything organized, thanks to Jane. I can monitor my financial progress easily, and I feel more secure about both my and my family’s future.”

Above all, you want your testimonials to speak powerfully to your target customer so you get the “that’s me!” response that will make you memorable. A perfect testimonial balances factual and emotional content and speaks to both sides of the brain.

If you’d like help with gathering testimonials to use in your marketing materials, both online and off, contact me for a free no-obligation quote. I’ll interview your satisfied customers, condense their comments into “the perfect testimonial,” then get their signoff so you can use their rave reviews in your next brochure or other marketing piece.

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