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Endorsements still matter in 2023
Your happy customers are a potential gold mine for your ongoing marketing efforts. Customer reviews are one of the most effective tools for generating B2B leads. Now more than ever, candid reviews by real humans contribute to sales success. Anyone can hire a copywriter to write flashy marketing documents, but a testimonial is real. It’s won by doing excellent work and selling exceptional products.
Despite the power of collecting customer reviews, many businesses struggle to tap into it. We get it – you don’t want to pester your clients, and maybe you’re even a little nervous that they might decline to comment — or have something bad to say.
We’re here to cast your doubts aside. Asking for customer testimonials doesn’t have to be intimidating. Here are six ideas to help you collect and use customer reviews to grow your marketing potential.
You don’t know until you ask
It can be hard to stomach, but any feedback is good feedback. Many businesses don’t want to ask for a review in fear of hearing that their customers were dissatisfied or unwilling to give a positive endorsement.
The truth is, if you don’t ask, you don’t know — but your customers still feel whatever they feel! If you’re brave enough to reach out and ask for feedback, you win no matter what answer you receive. If their feedback is negative, you have an opportunity to right whatever’s wrong and be proactive in mending the relationship. If it’s positive, you have a great review to use however you see fit.
Let them sing your praises
Happy customers want to sing your praises. They might even beat you to the punch! Maybe you find a kind email in your inbox raving about how amazing your team is. Well, guess what? You’ve got yourself a testimonial!
All you have to do is reply with a thank you and a request to use their comments as a review. If their email isn’t meaty enough for your needs, ask if you can hop on the phone to chat more about it. By catching them at the right moment – when they’re already basking in your glow – you’ll have a better chance of getting a great testimonial!
Throw them a bone
If the fear of asking for too much is holding you back from collecting testimonials, work on making the process easier for your customers. Consider the personality of each client and tailor your request accordingly. If you know that Paul loves to chat on the phone, offer to call him for 5 minutes. And if Randall is more of an email guy, send him two or three simple prompts to which he can type up a reply.
No matter how you collect the responses, be prepared to guide your customers if they aren’t sure what to say. You don’t want to put words in their mouths, but remind them of comments they may have made to you in passing or ask how they felt when the project was complete. A little coaxing may be all it takes.
If you need some inspiration, how about this list of 15 Testimonial Questions to Ask your Happy Clients?
Keep It Simple, Silly
There are many platforms for leveraging reviews. You might put them on your website, toss them in a proposal or pitch deck, or broadcast them on social media. Regardless of how they will live out in the world, keep reviews simple and to the point.
You do NOT need a 1,000 word essay from each customer. Attention spans are short. Reviews should highlight something your product or team does exceptionally well. Long, detailed breakdowns are better left for case studies and white papers.
If you get a long-winded reply from a customer, edit it down into a digestible sound bite. You want to get the meat of the matter as quickly as possible. Your readers will thank you!
You’re great. Prove it!
Once you complete your customer testimonial, consider ways to back up the claims. Do you have data supporting how much you improved your customer’s production efficiencies? If so, find a way to incorporate that into the final piece. While your future customers will love to hear positive comments about you, they’ll also want the evidence of ROI!
In fact, consider including short testimonials as part of your case studies and product brochures. Combining hard facts and evidence with personal testimony is a powerful sales motivator.
Please Sir, can I have some more?
Sometimes you need more than a quote or short paragraph from your customer. If you’re writing an entire case study, for example, you may want to expand a review into a case study or content feature. If so, consider the following:
- Identify opportunities early – If you can tell that a particular customer relationship is going well from the get-go, plant the seed early that you’d like to feature them in a case study. This way, they’ll be prepared for your request and might even start thinking about what they could say as they continue to work with you.
- Ensure their comfort – Case studies often have a lot of detail about the company you’re highlighting. Don’t blow your shot at capturing a great story because your customer gets uncomfortable with what’s being shared. Work together to ensure nothing confidential is disclosed, and they don’t feel negatively about the finished product.
- Pay it forward – Your customer may have gone above and beyond to contribute to your case study or testimonial. How can you return the favour? It could be as simple as picking up their coffee tab, sharing their latest LinkedIn post, or referring their business to someone in your network. Find a way to keep building on that great relationship!
Next time you see an opportunity to collect a customer testimonial or case study, don’t hesitate to make it happen! The worst that can happen is that your customer says they don’t have the time. And that’s okay; there are other fish in the sea – but you’ll never know until you ask.
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