Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Get Testimonials from Your Customers

When you are looking for a new restaurant to try what do you do? Many will ask family and friends for a recommendation. Do you look in the Yellow Pages when trying to find a physician for that medical procedure you need next month? Of course not, you ask someone who may have had or know of someone who has already had the procedure done. When traveling, don't you ask someone for a referral for a hotel that has "the cleanest rooms?" I know you did.

With your business it's imperative your sales brochures and website contain glowing testimonials from your satisfied customers and clients. These comments approve your product or service and give you a "third party" endorsement. It's like hiring the Brad Pitt or Angelina Jolie as spokesperson for your specific industry.

How do you get the testimonial? Ask for it. If they say no, ask why. You'll get either one of two responses. The first being is that they're embarrassed or "not good at writing." If this is the case, ask them if you can write the recommendation for them. Nine times out of ten they'll enthusiastically agree. The other response is that they are not happy with your work. When this happens it's your chance to make good and learn from the transaction so that the problem won't happen again. Can you say "cheap market research?"

I recall a restaurateur who regularly invited the media to dine at his establishment to review the food. Many times the critiques were glowing. There were a few times, unfortunately, when the menu was not up to par. What did he did next was brilliant. He invited those who didn't write good reviews to dine on the same meal they disdained. But this time he corrected the exact shortcomings brought to light. If the veal was too salty, he used less salt. If the crab cakes were too greasy, you can be assured that they were fried less and set to drain before being plated. The result was tens of thousands of dollars in free publicity and a string of glowing reviews and testimonials that lasted for months.

So work on getting your customers talking positively about your company. If they aren't doing it already, it's time to put words in their mouths.

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