«Return to Blog List Avoid ‘The Kiss of Death’ When Asking for Your Next Testimonial
Note from Casey Hibbard: While I’m out on maternity leave until the end of July, this blog will feature a summer guest blogger series with content from experts in marketing, organizational storytelling and writing.
By Bill Metcalf
One of the most powerful tools in any marketing arsenal is raving testimonials from your happy clients. So every time you haul out the old brochure to “spruce it up,” write a press release or develop a new website, you go through the painful task of begging for testimonials.
Asking for testimonials from clients – yuck!
Seriously, doesn’t your stomach turn just a bit and your throat become parched just as you are about to ask . . . no, let’s be honest here . . . beg, for a testimonial from a client?
Worst of all, most of the time, you don’t beg once. No, you have to beg continually. It’s embarrassing. Finally, you give up, write the damn thing for them, and carry it over for them to sign. You consider yourself lucky, if you haven’t lost your client’s good will due to all of your badgering.
Victory? Well, sort of. Except that your testimonials all have that familiar ring of your own prose. They literally drip with syrupy phrases like, “outstanding service,” “a true partner,” “a commitment to excellence.”
Maybe your quest for a testimonial was doomed from the start!
Read this typical email and ask yourself if you have not – in one form or another – said or written something like this to a client when asking for a testimonial.
I was wondering if you would be willing to do me a favor. You recently told me how happy you were with our service to you over the years, especially after handling that big shipping problem you had. (Whew! That was a close one. So glad we could rescue that order for you.)
Anyway, we’re putting together a new web page and would really like to have a couple of testimonials on the site. Would you be willing to help us out?
Dinner is on me afterwards!
Justin has just delivered this testimonial’s Kiss of Death. How? Well, first of all, he asked for a testimonial! What do you mean, “He asked for a testimonial?” How else would you ever expect to get one?
How do you feel when someone asks you for a favor? If you have teenagers, your knee jerk reaction might be to put your hand on your wallet. If it is a supplier you like, you certainly may want to help them out, since they gave you good service.
But either way you look at it, when someone asks you to do them a favor by giving them a testimonial, you do not put this request on the very top of your “To Do List” because there is no direct benefit to you.
What’s In It For Them? You see, in asking your client to do you a favor by giving you a testimonial, you have forgotten the cardinal rule of commerce – “What’s in this for me?” Take a look at this alternative approach:
I am so pleased that our work is getting you the results you deserve! You know, the reason you are getting these great results is that YOU are an exceptional client. Not everyone “gets” the value of what we do, and how it can enhance their business. You do. And you take ACTION to really harvest the value of your investment.
We like to showcase some of our best customers to demonstrate how they are using our services to better serve their clients. While these interviews will no doubt say some nice things about us, they are more “information-driven.” That is, anyone who listens to this interview will discover ways that they, too, can improve their business through your successful experience.
If you would like to be “showcased” to position your company as a market leader, then I will have someone call to arrange a telephone interview. He will record and edit the interview. YOU will have final approval of the finished product before anyone else sees it. During the interview, he will make a point of positioning your company as a forward thinking, customer-driven organization.
Trust me. You will love doing this interview with him. He is a professional in every way. He makes you feel really comfortable. And then he edits the interview so well that he can even make me sound articulate! 😉
I am copying him on this email and hope that you two will connect soon. Nothing to prepare. He will guide you through the whole process.
He will probably only need 20 minutes for the interview, but he likes to have you block out an hour just in case you get started late, or you want to say more about your company.
Please feel free to pass on this opportunity Jo, but I feel that this would be a great opportunity for you and for our company as well.
I’ve attached a sample of these interviews to this email.
Can you see the WIIFT in this approach? Your client gets “showcased.” They are selected as an “exceptional client” who uses your products or services “to better serve their clients.” In other words, you will show how your services create value for your customer’s customers! When this interview is finished, it should present your customer in such a positive light they would want to put the interview on their own website.
Try this approach with your customers. At the very least, stop begging and start finding What’s-In-It-For-Them. If you do just that one thing, your testimonials will get instantly better. If not . . . pucker up baby . . . your Kiss of Death is on its way.
Bill Metcalf records telephone interviews with your Raving Fans to “do the math” and determine the real cash value of what you offer your customers. These interviews can be used as multimedia testimonials or Compelling Cases can turn these interviews into powerful written case studies. Discover more about Bill at www.MoreAndBetterClients.com.