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The Rubber Meets the Road

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“What information consumes is rather obvious: it consumes the attention of its recipients. Hence a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention, and a need to allocate that attention efficiently among the overabundance of information sources that might consume it.”~~Herbert Simon

Testimonials influence us in many subtle ways and range from professional to personal.  Advertisers appreciate this and pay for celebrity endorsements, despite a healthy skepticism from consumers.  At a subconscious level, though, people that admire Michael Jordan might reason that, “If it’s good enough for him its good enough for me.”  Pressed to consider this point, most would deny the influence and yet advertisers that study cause and effect can measure the influence regardless of how independent we think we are.

The next level of professional endorsements that influence buying decisions come from reviewers.  These include movie reviewers, restaurant critics, product advisors, and so on.  At a simple level we might check a movie review when deciding whether or not to see it although we can appreciate that the reviewer doesn’t know or perhaps even share our taste exactly.  We can get a more convincing endorsement from a friend who has seen the film and knows our likes and dislikes.  These personal endorsements (or warnings) are much more powerful, although less frequently sought.

A third category emerges, sandwiched between the professional and personal and that is the testimonial provided by non-professionals.

This is the focus of this week’s topic.

Testimonials from other customers can be powerful in moving us to take action. Many customers offer them in an informal, unsolicited manner.  One way to encourage this behavior, by the way, is to give away an item with your logo on it.  People like to help one another, generally, and will recommend a proven solution and include a personal story of the benefit received.  Most satisfied customers will provide more formal testimonials, if asked.

Often, however, when willing they get hung up on exactly what to say and by providing guidance you can resolve that, too.

There is more of an art than a science as to determining when to ask.  Once you start to recognize this, opportunities will present themselves regularly.  Let’s consider this scenario.  One month before completion of a long-term project you ask your client how they are enjoying the process, so far.  If they announce that you have made a huge difference in their operations and saved them a lot of time and expense, ask if they would be willing to share that with other customers by writing that on their company letterhead.  Coach them on pertinent issues such as why they chose to work with you, what benefits have they experienced that they did not expect, and so on.  This conversation will make it easier for them to complete this favor.  Negotiate a delivery date.

One you have these testimonials in hand then consider placement.  Some companies print them and leave them in the lobby for waiting room clients to see.  Others have a page on their website or sprinkle them in various places throughout the website.  Each method has its advantages and disadvantages.

Whatever model you use, be certain to revisit these testimonials regularly to cull those that are out-of-date and request more current entries.

Your action items this week are to ask for three written testimonials.  Make it easy for the author by specifying what should be emphasized.  Negotiate a delivery date and decide how you will deploy the information once received.  Finally, develop a strategy to regularly ask for and review these comments.  It goes without saying that you must earn these and seeking them regularly is an effective method to place your customer service level on a constantly improving plane.

© 2011 by Stephen Hand of Triangle BNI.
All rights reserved. No part of this document may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without prior written permission of Stephen Hand of Triangle BNI.

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Written by bniguy

September 18, 2011 at 2:26 am

One Response

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  1. Great article. I often tell my clients about them importance of testimonials, yet few provide them on their website or social media sites. Testimonials are encouraged in BNI and other word of mouth venues, yet people still don’t often do them. Your article provides a usable formula to make sure these testimonials get done. I will pass your article on to twitter and my face book pages because it needs to be repeated.

    Sincerely,

    Hector Cisneros

    Hector Cisneros

    September 19, 2011 at 1:26 pm


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