There is perhaps nothing so powerful in the sales process as social validation. Testimonials provide the third party proof the prospect needs to gently coax their hearts, minds and wallets open. But as with anything else, the more we use a persuasion technique, the less effective it can become unless we continue to change it and tweak it by degrees, allowing it to evolve with the times and temperaments of our customers.
That is why you may want to spice up your testimonials with one or more of these useful suggestions:
1. Be bold. While it might be tempting to showcase only a handful of your best reviews, if you have pages upon pages of testimonials then by all means build yourself a “bragging wall” of them on your website. Then sprinkle the link throughout all of your messages with the anchor text, “This product has over 120 reviews” or “See what 120 of our best customers have to say about product x.”
2. Remove all doubt. Your customers know that you determine what appears on your website, so of course they expect that you’re only going to use the most glowing of testimonials. But what if there are reviews for your product on other sites not controlled by you? Then by all means let your prospects and customers know this. There is no better proof that your product does what it says it will do than unbiased third parties on other sites raving about it.
3. Be real. Polishing, tweaking, testing and adjusting your sales letter for maximum conversions is the norm, but think twice before you correct that testimonial. Misspellings, poor English and typos can act as proof positive that your testimonials do indeed come from real people.
4. Consider using bad reviews, too. Sure, this one feels risky, but it can actually boost your credibility. Choosing the right negative testimonial says that you’re honest, and it can even highlight a selling point of your product or service. For example, let’s say you’re an auto mechanic and you receive a testimonial that says something like, “These guys fixed the wrong thing on my car, but when they realized their mistake they made it right and didn’t charge me a thing.” By using this testimonial you’re telling prospects that:
a) You’re human and you can make a mistake (they already knew this but they’re glad to hear you admit it)
b) If you do screw up you’ll fix it at your own expense
c) You’re honest – and how often do people find a mechanic they know they can trust?
5. Full names only. We’ve all seen those testimonials that use initials instead of names, or first names only. Ideally you only want to use testimonials that give full names plus some other identifying feature, such as that person’s URL or Facebook page. Anything less can lead to doubt in your customers’ minds, and that’s the last thing you want.
6. Be a name dropper. Have quasi famous people used your service or product? By all means name drop – place their testimonials front and center, along with their credentials, URL’s, job titles, etc.
One last suggestion: Ask your biggest fans to become your advocates. Perhaps you get them to comment on your forum, or even reply to inquires from prospective customers about your service. Allowing prospects to interact with your customers can go a long way in convincing them that you’re the real deal and purchasing your product or service is the best thing for them.