10/7/2021

5 Tips For Getting (and Using) Great Customer Testimonials

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A good testimonial has the power to convince even your 'tough sell' visitors that your product or service really made a difference in your customer's life-and can help them, too. If you’d like to learn more about how to create customer personas, see customer persona examples, and how to use them to enhance your entire customer journey, check out these resources: Customer persona templates. 20 Questions to Ask When Creating Buyer Personas Free Template The Persona Templates Used by Over 130,000 Businesses.

Developing a strong sales program is the most critical aspect of any business. Without effective sales strategies, companies will not be able to compete and grow. Sales professionals must learn how to implement proven sales tactics that work. These sorts of sales tactics do more than just help them to close individual sales; they help to generate additional prospects for future sales.

As a sales team manager, one of your responsibilities is to provide your team with effective sales training and sales strategies that will increase your company’s profits. Effective sales processes are not just about working hard and putting in long hours. In fact, many sales teams work long and hard without experiencing results.

Effective sales strategies involve employing the best strategies in the right situations. Here are 18 sales tactics that can work for sales teams in every industry.

1. Be persistent with leads and develop the habit of following up with each customer.

According to the latest sales research, 80 percent of sales transactions require 5 interactions after the first contact with a customer. Many salespeople are primarily concerned with immediate sales. If they do not get the sale at the first meeting, they silently give up and continue their hunt for the next immediate sale. However, savvy sales professionals understand that they must nurture viable leads until an action is taken. These ‘rock star’ sales professionals send emails, direct mail, make phone calls or send brochures to customers at designated intervals. By taking this action, your customers will think of you when it is time to make their next purchases.

2. Solve your customers’ problems.

Successful businesses thrive in competitive industries because they provide solutions to meet their customers’ needs. There are many sales professionals who do not fully understand their roles in the transaction. Consider this fact. As many as 70 percent of your leads are reaching out to you to solve their problems. When customers contact your sales team, your sales professionals must be able to demonstrate to them how they can quickly and easily solve their problems.

3. Develop the ability to actively listen to customers.

Customers have access to pages of information on the internet. In many instances, they may be as knowledgeable as your sales team. When sales professionals interact with knowledgeable customers, they might be tempted to talk constantly to show them that they are qualified. It is important to remind your salespeople that they should never get into a knowledge power struggle with customers. Sales professionals should always listen more than they talk. Simply listening to customers’ answers can be one of the most effective sales tactics in your team’s arsenal. They should ask questions that probe into their clients’ thought processes and carefully consider the responses. The goal is to make customers feel as if they are respected throughout the sales process.

4. Use polite terms when you discuss the competition.

Your sales team should always strive to present themselves in a positive light and use professional language. There is nothing that screams unprofessional like using derogatory terms to discuss other people or companies. Although customers may participate in the negative conversation, bad mouthing any person or company is never a good sales tactic. If a competitor does not have a good reputation, the members of your sales team should remain neutral.

5. Earn your referrals before you ask for them.

Sales professionals know that referrals are the proverbial ‘holy grail’ of marketing. In fact, 91 percent of customers will provide a referral contact to a salesperson that they like. Before you think about asking your customers for referrals, you should focus on providing them with a quality customer service experience. During the transaction, your goal is to develop positive relationships with your customers. After you have determined that they are happy with your services, it is a good idea to pursue the referrals. When it comes to soliciting referrals, timing is important.

6. Ask for referrals from your customers.

You might not believe it, but only 11 percent of sales professionals ask clients for referrals. According to this data, the majority of salespeople are leaving money on the table. Most customers are generous, and they would happily share your good customer service with friends, family members and colleagues, but you have to ask. If your sales team waits for their customers to initiate a conversation about referrals, it might never happen. Teach your sales team how to integrate referral conversations into the sales process at the appropriate time.

7. Adhere to strict deadlines with your customers.

Sales professionals must create a sense of urgency with customers, or the deals will take much longer than necessary. Changing deadlines according to the whims of each customer makes sales professionals lose credibility. The old adage, where there is a will there is a way, applies here. If customers want to meet the obligations of a transaction by the deadline, they will definitely find a way to make it happen.

8. Develop relationships with your customers.

Without customer relationships, it can seem as if you are always in the vicious cycle of trying to ‘drum up’ new business. Your past customers can be an excellent source of new transactions for years to come. When your initial transaction is completed, you do not have to end the relationship at that point. Find creative ways to keep in contact with your customers even after you close the deal.

9. Identify your customers’ needs and meet them.

Sales professionals should never lose sight that the only purpose of the sales transaction is to help customers. Since transactions are closely associated with money, it is easy to lose sight of this fact. Create a list of questions that you can use to pinpoint exactly what the customer needs from the transaction. These questions will enable you to save time with customers and get to the heart of the matter. Once customers believe that you understand their predicament, they will work with you to meet their needs.

10. Be able to distinguish a lead from a customer and act accordingly.

Brace yourself for this disheartening fact. According to a report by Gleanster Research, only 25 percent of all leads are legitimate and ready to complete a transaction. Leads are potential transactions, and you cannot bank your future on potential. You should categorize your leads and create campaigns to interact with each type. For example, warm leads should have a different marketing strategy than cold calls. Time is a limited resource. It is best to use it wisely.

11. Solicit targeted leads.

A difficult lesson for many sales professionals to learn is that every person with a pulse will not be a customer. Since this is the case, sales professionals must create a strategic plan to attract customers that fit their target markets. One way to do this is to make good use of technology to find leads that could use your services. For example, credit professionals who are targeting people who are recovering from bankruptcy can use the public record to find people who fit this profile. Once you have found your potential customers, create a customized sales pitch that will appeal to each demographic.

12. Learn to uncover each customer’s pain points.

Television advertisements are known for pushing the viewer’s hot buttons in order to get them to take action. Fear of loss is the most common pain points that advertisers address. The primary mission of every sale professional, as emphasized in our negotiation training courses, is to find a customer’s pain points and use them to their advantage. Ron Shapiro said it best when he stated, “In order to get what you want, help them get what they want.” Sales professionals can start the search for pain points by asking closed-ended questions that only require a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer. As the customer begins to feel comfortable, the salesperson should ask open-ended questions that will prompt customers to reveal additional information. Once the vital information is discovered, salespeople can use it to help their customers take action.

13. Master the art of storytelling.

When sales professionals meet with customers, they are usually armed with all sorts of facts and data. Although data may seem important, studies suggest that only 5 percent of people remember statistics after a presentation. However, an impressive 63 percent of people remember stories after a presentation. Sales professionals need to arm themselves with stories about relevant experiences of people who have received favorable results after using their products and services.

14. Stand by your product or service and offer some type of guarantee.

If your customers are willing to part with their cash, your company should at least be willing to offer a guarantee on the product or service. The guarantee can be a refund or replacement. If you are afraid of most of your customers taking you up on a money back guarantee policy, you should not be. Less than 10 percent of customers return items each year. A product or service guarantee provides your customers with peace of mind that lets them know that they are protected in the event that something goes awry.

15. Find prospects who want the things you have to sell.

The best way to navigate through water is to go with the current instead of swimming against it. In sales, going with the current means that if you are selling chicken, your leads are people who like chicken. If your prospects are vegan, then it will be nearly impossible to sell your chicken products to them. If you want to be certain that your clients need the items you are selling, you should pre-qualify them before you actively market to them.

16. Develop compelling goals and an actionable plan.

Successful people know where they want to go, and they develop an action plan to help them propel toward their destination. Goal-setting and planning are critical to any sales team’s success. According to a study conducted by Inc. Magazine, sales teams that set goals realized a 28 percent increase in sales. Teaching goal-setting strategies should be a mandatory part of every organization’s corporate sales training manual.

17. Show customers proof that your product or service actually works.

When you look at infomercials for weight loss products, they often show ‘before and after’ pictures of previous users of the products. They understand that new customers are motivated by social proof. Sales professionals should keep customer testimonials in a binder or in their laptops to share with customers. When customers are able to view the visible proof, they will be more likely to invest in your product or service.

18. Maintain a positive mindset.

This may seem like a no-brainer, but you might be surprised by the number of sales professionals who develop a jaded outlook because of sales slumps. Sales professionals must make every effort to remain positive in good and tough times. Developing a positive attitude has many benefits. Customers can tell when you are not in a good mood, and it will affect the transaction. A positive outlook helps sales professionals look for solutions to pending problems. When your sales professionals are positive, they will be able to handle stressful situations.

The above list isn’t just a collection of interesting tips—these are proven sales strategies that work. In this competitive business environment, sales professionals need to learn all the tricks of the trade in order to close a deal. By using these sales tactics that work, your sales team can learn to thrive in any economic climate.

To learn more about our sales, negotiation, or influence training for your organization please click here.

Adding this single element to your website can multiply your profits--and get your customers selling your products for you.
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

What do people who've actually purchased and used your product or service think about it?

Answering that question is one of the most fundamental tasks your website needs to accomplish--and it's as simple to do as it is important.

By using testimonials (reviews and comments from your satisfied customers) in text, audio or video format on your website, you not only answer the question, you also transform your sales pitch into a credible, unbiased recommendation for your product.

Overcome Buyer Skepticism
Adding testimonials is probably one of the easiest ways to improve your website, and a good one can generate more selling power than some of the best sales copy out there.

So why are testimonials so effective?

  • Testimonials build trust. Whether your customers are raving about what your product has done for them or about the great service you gave, they're telling your visitors first and foremost that they had a positive experience with your products and company.
  • Testimonials aren't 'salesy.' Because testimonials aren't written in your 'voice,' they stand out in your copy as candid and unbiased accounts of how well your product works.
  • Testimonials overcome skepticism. A good testimonial has the power to convince even your 'tough sell' visitors that your product or service really made a difference in your customer's life--and can help them, too.

Related: 10 Online Invoicing Services for Small-Business Owners

How to Choose the Right Testimonial
When you're choosing testimonials, there are a few key ingredients to look for that make the difference between an ineffective testimonial and one that sells. Here's an example of a glowing, but ultimately ineffective testimonial:

'I love this product! I can't get enough! I'm so glad I bought your stuff and I'll definitely be back to get more!'

What could be wrong with that? It sounds like you have a happy customer on your hands!

But what does this testimonial really tell your visitors? Does it prove the product works, or explain exactly how your customer benefited from using it? While the feedback is definitely positive, the testimonial doesn't provide enough detail to have any real impact on your visitors.

Here's an example of the kind of effective, benefits-driven testimonial that'll turn a visitor into a customer:

'I used the methods you told me to use, and for three days my phone's been ringing! I sold over $3,500 in goods and services in three days! It's the first time in five months that anyone had really purchased anything.'

Related: Great Time-Tracking Apps for Freelancers

What makes this testimonial so powerful? Let's break down the elements of an effective testimonial in more detail:

  • A good testimonial is filled with benefits. A comment like, 'This product is great!' is nice to hear, but it doesn't tell visitors what your product can actually do for them.
  • You want the benefits of what you offer to be front and center in every testimonial: 'This product doubled our profits in a month!' or 'This product made the pain in my back disappear completely--and did it fast!' or 'We've never seen any product that could get the rust off our car without damaging the paint--until now.'

  • A good testimonial substantiates your claims. If you say your product can do something, your testimonials should back up your promises, complete with actual facts and figures. How much money did your customers save by using your product? How much time did they save by using your service? How did it solve their problems or improve their lives?
  • A good testimonial is from someone your audience can relate to. You want your visitors to see that your product helped someone just like them. Make sure your testimonials come from someone with whom your target market can identify.
  • If you sell primarily to seniors, for example, ask your customers if you can include their age along with the testimonial. If you're selling to moms with children, ask if you can mention how many kids they have or include a photo of their family.

  • A good testimonial is credible. Accompany each testimonial with the first name, last name and hometown of each testimonial-giver to show that your endorsements come from real people. Always try to include a photo as well.
  • And if you can, take it to the next level by including audio or video testimonials for maximum effect. Do anything you can to help your visitors connect with your testimonial-givers on a personal level.

  • A good testimonial endorses the key benefits of your product. It's fun to hear that your super-duper floor cleaner smells nice or that the bottle doesn't drip--both things that matter to people who would consider using your product. But have you established that it cleans their floors well?
  • A good testimonial is comparative. Did your customers try another product that didn't work before they found yours? You want your visitors to know what your product can do that other products can't. Choose testimonials that set your product apart from your competition.

Now that you know what you're looking for in a testimonial, how do you actually gather the reviews you need from your customers?

How to Effectively Use Testimonials

Getting Great Testimonials--Even if You Haven't Sold Anything Yet
If your customers have given you positive feedback on your product already, then you may already have some great testimonials to add to your site. However, if your customer response is a little scarce--or if you're just starting out--getting testimonials from your buyers might take a little more effort.

So how do you collect the testimonials you need and keep them coming as you grow your business?

One easy way to collect testimonials is to include a link on your site with a form that allows your customers to give you their vote of confidence: 'Tell us how this product changed your life!' or 'Click here to let us know what you think!' Put this link next to some testimonials that you've already gathered to give customers an example of the kind of feedback you're looking for.

A more effective method is to create an autoresponder that contacts your buyers after they've purchased your product to ask how they're enjoying the product, as well as giving them a chance to offer feedback on their experience with your business.

And, of course, anytime you receive a great letter or e-mail from a customer, ask them if you can use their comments on your website to recommend your product to others. If they were happy enough to let you know, they're bound to want to spread the word.

If you haven't yet begun selling your product and have no feedback yet, offer your product or service for free to a select group of customers in exchange for their thoughts on the product or some details on their experience with your site. The impact that testimonial will have on your bottom line will be well worth the initial expense.

Strategies For Using Your Testimonials Effectively
Once you've got some testimonials to share with your visitors, you need to make sure you're putting them to the best possible use on your site. Always make sure that you:

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  • Include your best testimonials front and center on your homepage, like in your sidebars, or even above your headline.
  • Place some testimonials right in the middle of your homepage sales copy to keep your readers focused on your credibility as you outline the features and benefits of your product.
  • Set up a whole page dedicated to your glowing testimonials, as well as including snippets of their comments throughout your site. Be sure to put a link to your testimonial page next to each of those snippets.
  • Include testimonials on each and every page of your website. No matter where your visitors click, you want them to find a positive customer review of your product or service.

Now let's look at a few mistakes to avoid when using testimonials on your website:

  • Don't edit your testimonials to exclude a comment or add information you want to hear! If you can't post a comment 'as is' and feel comfortable with it, it shouldn't go up.
  • Never use a customer testimonial without permission.
  • Never, ever invent testimonials! This is fraud, plain and simple, and lying never results in a positive impact on your business.

5 Tips For Getting (and Using) Great Customer Testimonials Phone Number

Final Thoughts
If you're not using testimonials on your website, you're missing out on one of the most powerful, easy-to-use and cheap marketing tools available to you.

5 Tips For Getting (and Using) Great Customer Testimonials Service

Most of us would rather act on a referral from a friend than make a purchase based on a sales pitch alone. We want to know that the product actually works before we take the leap to buy, and we're bound to put more trust in someone who has already used the product successfully than the person trying to convince us to buy it. Using glowing, fact-filled testimonials on your website will let your visitors know that you're worthy of their trust.

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