Building customer testimonials. A 5 step guide for small business.

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How? The key is to make it as easy as possible for your customer to “give you the goods” and with that in mind, here’s a simple and effective guide to soliciting and securing great testimonials.

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Building customer testimonials. A 5 step guide for small business.

  1. 1. Building Customer Testimonials:A 5 Step Guide for Small Business Geoff Vincent CEO & Founder Bizcompare.comCopyright BizCompare Inc. 2011. All Rights Reserved.
  2. 2. Introduction • It’s commonly known that customer testimonials about a company’s products or services can be a very strong influencing factor for potential new buyers. • Almost every company has happy customers who would probably be willing to provide such a testimonial. • The challenge is how to get these great testimonials in writing (read: cogent) and usable for a web site or sales collateral. The key is to make it as easy as possible for your customer to “give you the goods” and with that in mind, here’s a simple and effective guide to soliciting and securing great testimonials.Copyright BizCompare Inc. 2011. All Rights Reserved.
  3. 3. Step #1: Get your sales reps to secure preliminarycommitment from customers. • Your sales reps are the gateway to your best customers: • because they own the relationship and • they know EXACTLY who is likely to provide a good testimonial • The rep must make the initial request. The rep’s script goes something like this: “Stan, we’ve worked together for years and I’m hoping that you’ll provide my company with a testimonial about our services. This will not take more than 10 minutes of your time and we’ll do the work to create the testimonial. In exchange, your company will be featured on our website with a link to your site. If you’re OK with that, our marketing team will contact you via email”. •The challenge is how to get these great testimonials in writing (read: cogent) and usable for a web site or sales collateral. • Your rep is happy because their job is done. The customer is happy because they don’t have to invest much time at all.Copyright BizCompare Inc. 2011. All Rights Reserved.
  4. 4. Step #2: Have an admin person call or email toconfirm participation: • A simple call is made from someone with good customer skills • The caller references the sales rep’s name and confirms that their effort to provide the testimonial information will take no more than 10 minutes. • This is simply a professional thing to do. Note: This step is optional but recommended.Copyright BizCompare Inc. 2011. All Rights Reserved.
  5. 5. Step #3: Email is sent from Marketing solicitingspecific information. • In this email, you ask the customer to answer just 4 short questions. • If the customer prefers, you can conduct a brief interview over the phone when a Marketing person poses the same 4 questions (but email is better because you get more complete thoughts from the customer). • The questions are: • What was your original business challenge that caused you to seek a solution from us? • What was the specific reason that you chose us? What stood out in our offer? • What has been the specific business success that you’ve enjoyed as a result of our services? • Lastly, was there anything specific that we did that really impressed you ..perhaps something about our Sales rep, our post sales team or our customer service team?Copyright BizCompare Inc. 2011. All Rights Reserved.
  6. 6. Step #4: Marketing re-writes the feedback from thecustomer into a standard format. • Having a standard format is important because over time you will have dozens of testimonials and you’ll want to them to follow the same general flow and length (approx 200 words). The flow is: • The first part of the text briefly describes the customer and their products and explains their business challenge. • The next section specifically states why they picked your company….in their own words, what was your “promise” to them. • Next, what were the specific results that the customer enjoyed, quantifiable if possible. • Lastly, the customer summarizes their positive experience with some specific feedback on their interaction with your company. • Note: The reason to try and get this information via email is because it forces the customer to take a few minutes to structure their response in writing which you can then use in the text. Whenever possible, use actual customer quotes in the text, complete with “quote marks”Copyright BizCompare Inc. 2011. All Rights Reserved.
  7. 7. Step #5: Get your customer to approve the write up. • By sending a finished version, you allow the customer to OK the text which is just good conduct on your part. • Every testimonial should end with the customer’s name, title, location (city, state/prov.) and web address which would serve as a live link to their site. •The final steps are all internal, so presumably can be done with precision and expedience: • A Testimonials page should be created on your company site with appropriate links to that page throughout the site. • These testimonial texts should also be available for reps to quickly send to customers so they be formatted into PDFs and be accessible with other sales materials.Copyright BizCompare Inc. 2011. All Rights Reserved.
  8. 8. Final thought: • This is not a onetime effort. • Soliciting testimonials is an ongoing effort and Marketing should own the project. • A little bit of effort on a continuous basis will result in a healthy number and variety of customer testimonials.Copyright BizCompare Inc. 2011. All Rights Reserved.
  9. 9. About the Author and Bizcompare.com Geoff Vincent is the founder and CEO of BizCompare Inc. which owns and operates Bizcompare.com. Geoff’s background includes a plethora of senior marketing and management positions at leading B2B companies including American Express, FedEx, CCH and Dun & Bradstreet. Geoff can be followed at his blog and on Twitter. The Bizcompare.com site is a business to business information portal that features over 100 industry research reports and 1.5 million company profiles focused on the BUSINESS SERVICES vertical. The site displays key firmographic information in insightful graphs so one can compare companies to their peer group for greater context. Popular uses for the site include market research, lead generation, competitor analysis and B2B marketing planning. Quick links: BizCompare home page Browse our 19 industrial categories to drill down to 108 specific industries See a sample industry research report See a sample company profileCopyright BizCompare Inc. 2011. All Rights Reserved.

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