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How to Give or Get Meaningful Testimonials

by Lori Saitz on November 1, 2010

FlowersTestimonials are an important part of your marketing and client experience (at least they should be).

They significantly add to your credibility, as potential clients trust a referral from a third party. And they cost you nothing!

Think about it. Your audience expects you to say your services are great. If someone else sings your praises, then it carries more weight.

And while most people want to be helpful, they don’t know how to craft a really worthwhile endorsement.

“Lisa is very pretty and nice to work with,” doesn’t give a potential client a solid reason to hand over a check.

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Here’s a great three-part formula you can follow whenever you want to give a useful recommendation or that you can share with clients from whom you’re requesting a testimonial.

1. Describe what your situation was BEFORE working with this company or person.

“I was overwhelmed with information. I knew I had to do something, but I wasn’t sure which way to turn, and every day felt like I was sinking in quicksand. I couldn’t sleep or eat and I dreaded the thought of making the wrong decision.”

2. Tell what direct results you experienced from working together. Give TANGIBLE and SPECIFIC benefits.

“After my first conversation with Sam at LMNO Corporation, I felt a sense of calm. They really understood where I was coming from. Over several weeks, we worked out an easy to stick to plan that addressed every issue I was facing. Within two months my company’s profits increased 20%.”

3. Share what your situation is like now.

“I love the dedication and real-world approach Sam and the team bring to the table. My revenues continue to improve and I’ve been sleeping soundly.”

Including the full name, company name and/or city of the person providing the testimonial is important to the credibility, so always include that if possible.

We’ve all seen referrals from “Mary S.” and wondered if she’s a real person! Any other information you can include that might help readers relate to the writer is helpful too, such as a picture.

You can even create a handout to give when asking for this kind of feedback from your clients. Once you have these powerful, results-based testimonials, add them to all your marketing materials (brochure, website, Facebook fan page, etc.) for high-impact.

Use this format when asking for or giving recommendations on LinkedIn too.

BONUS: Because video uses more of our senses, it makes an even greater impression on your audience. Ask for or provide this information in a video endorsement when appropriate.

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Image: Erica Minton via Flickr, Creative Commons

Lori Saitz is founder of Zen Rabbit Baking Company. She shares happiness by helping business people show appreciation for and give recognition to customers and employees with The Gratitude Cookie™. With an understanding of the value of creating strong connections and experiences, she supports clients in increasing customer loyalty, referrals and profits. Connect with Lori on Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook.

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