5 Questions that Lead to Powerful Customer Testimonials5 Questions that Lead to Powerful Customer Testimonials
In almost any context, a well-written customer testimonial can be hugely impactful. In fact, those stamps of approval often replace the need for customer reference checks because they serve as validation of your offerings’ value proposition and confirmation of your company’s capabilities. Simply put, testimonials instill confidence in your prospects’ minds and, ultimately, help you close sales faster.
February 6, 2014
In almost any context, a well-written customer testimonial can be hugely impactful.
In fact, those stamps of approval often replace the need for customer reference checks because they serve as validation of your offerings’ value proposition and confirmation of your company’s capabilities. Simply put, testimonials instill confidence in your prospects’ minds and, ultimately, help you close sales faster.
That’s assuming, of course, that they include all of the necessary information to help your prospects make faster, more-informed decisions.
Most salespeople and marketers make the mistake of thinking that brief, concise testimonials are best—such as the one- or two-sentence quotes you might see on a company’s website. Sure, those pithy statements might give a prospect an idea of how wonderful you are to work with, but they don’t give enough information to fully replace a reference check.
To do that, you need at least a paragraph (ideally, two) that answers the following five questions:
1. What was happening in your business that caused you to speak with us in the first place?
Having a prospect answer this question allows you to get to the heart of the business issue your customer was trying to solve. Every testimonial should include this information, because if your prospect is struggling with the same issue, he or she will be able to instantly relate to the customer giving the testimonial. You have experience with that business situation.
2. Why did you choose us?
While this might seem like a relatively innocuous question, you’d be surprised how often customers share new or interesting decision criteria that your prospects may identify with their own situation. Customers may tell a detailed story about their experience engaging with you through the sales process, or share their unrealized fears of the implementation. This information almost always carries added impact with prospects because it confirms that your business followed through on its promises. You can be trusted.
3. Why have you stayed with us?
If the customer you’re interviewing has been a valued one for a long time, make sure to highlight that. How many years has the customer been associated with you? What’s caused the customer continue to do business with you? If you’ve helped a customer through a particularly challenging IT issue, this question will illuminate your resiliency and show that you stand by your customers through thick and thin. You are reliable.
4. What do we do that sets us apart from the other vendors you’ve worked with?
I love this question because it helps you uncover the unique differentiators that set you apart from competing VARs. One VAR we work with recently learned that its customers view it as “accountable for all things IT.” “Accountable” is a word the VAR had never before used to describe itself but hit the mark. If your customer hasn’t worked with another IT provider, try asking it to compare you to the other vendors it works with. The objective here is to identify the characteristics, qualities and capabilities that your customers value the most about their relationship with you. You are unique.
5. How have we helped your business?
More often than not, your customers hired you to address one particular business issue. You know that your services positively impact their entire business, yet your customers often don’t realize that until after they’ve worked with you for a while. Let’s say, for instance, that a customer engaged you to manage its IT services when its IT system administrator moved on. Its goal was to have its IT maintained smoothly. As part of that partnership, you conducted quarterly business reviews. Ultimately through those reviews the customer discovered new ways to use its IT strategically and its business expanded. That’s the kind of detail you want to share in testimonials for new prospects. You get results.
Ultimately, your goal is to draw out the subtle details your prospects want to know, highlight your company in your customers’ words and replace the need for customer reference checks. If you ask the right questions, that shouldn’t be difficult to do.
Kendra Lee is a top IT Seller, Prospect Attraction Expert, author of the newly released book, “The Sales Magnet,” and the award winning book, “Selling Against the Goal,” and president of KLA Group. Specializing in the IT industry, KLA Group works with companies to break in and exceed revenue objectives in the Small and Midmarket Business (SMB) segment.
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