Testimonials are a big part of sales. They provide outside validation for potential leads and give them a point of reference for additional information about your products and services. However, effectively using them can be tricky. Hence, for the purpose of this post, we thought it would be a good idea to provide a quick, yet complete, guide to using testimonials to drive sales.
The Testimonial Itself
The most important aspect of the testimonial is, off course, the content itself and who it is coming from. When providing testimonials, it is important to use the first and last name of the person providing the recommendation, their title, their company, and their picture if possible. The more background information included the more legitimate and trustworthy the testimonial appears. The first and last name help the user identify the person, give validity that it is in fact a real testimonial, and allows the user to find and contact them if needed. The title and company provides more validity and builds trust for the testimonial. The picture puts a face to the words and helps the potential customer better relate to the individuals providing recommendations.
As far as content is concerned, the more specific the testimonial the better. Testimonials which simply say, “Company A helped us increase the efficiency of our sales process” is of almost no value, while a testimonial which says “Company A streamlined our website chat sales tool, helping drive 50% more qualified leads at a fraction of the cost of our previous providers” is much more helpful for a potential customer.
The issue of how to get the testimonial is also a major factor in using testimonials. Which customers should I ask? How should I ask them? It may seem obvious that the best customers to ask are those who have been working with you the longest and have been consistently happy with results, but there is more to it than just that. When asking for testimonials, don’t ask for a positive recommendation, but rather ask for general feedback. You can then edit that feedback and frame it into a testimonial. This way, it will appear more genuine and believable then a list of glowing praise about your company and its services.
However, when editing the testimonial, make sure that you don’t alter the meaning as that will just make it confusing and make sure the person providing the testimonial approves any of the adjustments you made (deletions, restructuring of sentences or phrases, etc.).
The Formatting of the Testimonial
Once you have a selected group of testimonials, the next issue becomes how to best present them on your domain. While there are a number of ways that this can be done, below are a few tips we have found to be most effective through our sales consultation work with hundreds of clients worldwide.
As far as the testimonial page itself is concerned, don’t have too many comments from different customers as at a certain point it gets to be information overload. Instead, focus on a smaller select group of users whom you were able to get especially meaningful testimonials from. Include each testimonial and provide links to case studies which highlight the work you did for that particular client and the value that was provided. This will give potential customers some context and the more information they have on your success, the better.
While having a testimonials page is a must, for companies which provide a wide variety of services, having testimonials on individual services page can be a good idea as well. For example, for us, some of the services we offer to larger enterprise clients may not be of value to some of our more niche customers. Hence, testimonials on a particular service will not be of use to every new lead we have visiting our testimonials page. However, through placing testimonials on various services page, they are more targeted to the needs of the lead.
A last point to consider is video testimonials. As video distributing technology has gone mainstream over the net over the past few years, the uses of video technology online have become immense. Video testimonials are a perfect enterprise example. If the goal of testimonials is to help the lead connect with an existing customer and their praise for your services, videos help form a much more personal “relationship” then plain text, or even text an a picture, can do.