THE SLICK AND EASY WAY TO GATHER TESTIMONIALS
by Jeffrey Dobkin
How convincingly easy it is to close large accounts when you take out that a big book of recent testimonials and show them how great you are. What? You don’t have a big book of recent testimonials?
If you had one, when people asked you about your services, you’d bring out the huge testimonial tome, and tell them to call any of the many who signed off on their statements of your firm being the best thing since sliced bread or indoor plumbing. When confronted with 100 testimonials, most people won’t call any.
In your normal course of conversation with clients it’s easy to get someone to mention something flattering about you. Someone said something nice about me once. I’ll never forget it. It was in June of 88. Wednesday. We were about three or four gin and tonics in and… OK, no matter about the rest of the story. Man, I was all over them for a written testimonial like a cheap suit. Here’s how you can do it, too.
Even if it’s a simple statement, “Hey, thanks a lot. Nice speaking with you.” Or, “Thanks, I appreciate it.” You can make a testimonial out of it.
“That was a nice thing to say!” you exclaim! Inferring that it was nice of him to say it was nice talking to you, or that he appreciated something you did. Of course, people probably have said much nicer things than these simplistic statements about you, haven’t they? Oh well, me neither.
“Would you mind if I use that as a testimonial?” you continue, big smile on your face and catching them completely off guard.
“OK,” they’ll say without thinking.
Now that they’ve committed, casually ask, “Come to think of it, can you say a few more nice words about my firm (or myself) that I can use – I’ll write them down? Got my pencil ready!” Then smile – it makes a difference. “Keep it clean, though.” you joke. It’s good to sound fresh, like you’ve never asked anyone to do this before, or this is the first time for that joke. Ha!
They’ll say a few words, you smile and nod (which will look good in person, or will look less good over the phone but will sound like you’re smiling) and write down the gist of what they said.
Continue promptly, “Thanks. Thanks so much. Here’s what I’ll do so it’ll be as easy for you. I’ve written down what you’ve said and I’ll send it to you. You can just initial it and send it back – I’ll enclose two copies one for your files, and an envelope to send the other copy back to me. Hey, thanks for doing this.” Insinuating it’s a done deal.
Now that you have a nice approximation of what they’ve said, feel free to admonish it ever so slightly. Use a deft touch… like a great editor whose work is so subtle the author will go back and read his words and never know it was touched by anyone else. Now that’s the mark of a really great editor. You, on the other hand, don’t need to be quite that good. Just go ahead and make your testimonial sound great.
Since it was oral, your client most likely won’t remember what he said exactly – so you can take some liberties here. This is especially true if you’re at a bar and have been for the past 6 hours, you know, like when I got my first testimonial. Or was it 8 hours. I forget. But that’s not important – what’s important is I got this huge tattoo that night and who exactly is Janette. If anyone knows, please call.
If you’re friendly with this client, you can mention how great his new testimonial would look on his own letterhead, but “it certainly isn’t necessary.” Never hurts to drop a hint. Then send the testimonial that he “sort-of said” to him in a printed form.
You can also feel free to send it over to him by fax. It’s fast. If you send the testimonial that he “sort-of said” in a letter. it will take a few days to get to your client and here’s the benefit to this: Over the course of the day or two it takes to draft this statement and send it to the client in a letter, there’s no way they’ll remember what they said, and certainly they won’t remember their exact wording. Plus – if you received this testimonial after a few drinks, you can probably feel free to take great liberties writing what you thought you remembered and what he thought you both said. Or something like that.
Writing a testimonial for a client, unlike soliciting a client’s written testimonial, where most clients prove way beyond a shadow of a doubt they don’t use spell check, you can spell every word correctly. Send them their statement in a letter and as long as it doesn’t look to far out of range I promise you they’ll sign off on it. You’ll have a great, well written and signed testimonial.
For best results, collect a whole set, and don’t be afraid to show it off to new prospects. Tell them you’d be so proud if you had their personal testimonial in there while pushing a pen and paper their way. That’s called “The assumed close.” And that’s another article.Jeff Dobkin is a fun speaker who writes highly responsive direct selling letters, ads and post cards. He has written 5 books on direct marketing and two books on humor. Call him at 610-642-1000 with questions or to buy his books. Or ask for any of over 180 articles on his uncommon marketing and direct marketing methods – if he’s in a good mood he’ll send it… when he sobers up. If he’s sober, I’m pretty sure he’s not in a good mood. Just kidding. He’s never in a good mood.