Buying decisions are more and more shaped by testimonials, written or spoken statements that are used to demonstrate social proof and build trust. When believed true, they are not only among the most effective marketing strategies or advertising campaigns, they are also among the salesperson’s strongest and most effective arguments.
Did you know that a study by Dutch research companies VODW consultancy and MarketResponse has shown that customers are prepared to pay 25% more when you have positive (online) testimonials? Compared to several years ago, more and more customers turn to the internet for research, orientation, buying and customer service. This of course brings new opportunities, especially for companies that keep their promises.
Part of this study was an experiment with three imaginary offers for a weekend getaway to Paris, all with the same features. The only difference being price, average rating and the number of reviews. The first offer was priced at 175 Euros (250 U.S. dollars), had about 100 reviews with an average rating of 5.5 on a scale of 10. The second one cost 200 Euros (285 U.S. dollars), was rated 8.0 and had only a couple of reviews/testimonials. The third offer was 225 Euros (320 U.S. dollars) and had a rating of 8.0 with around 100 reviews.
And the results? No less than 77% percent of all people went for the third option!
Just because of the high rating combined with the high number of reviews or testimonials, a price increase of 25% was justified. Apparently the customer values the unbiased opinion of other customers a lot more than messages broadcasted by the company itself. With the 2.0 world we’re living in today – a web of ‘likes’, reviews and online recommendations – the one-sided monologue loses credibility day by day.
As I’ve said before storytelling and word of mouth are among your most powerful and convincing selling tools, so use them. Which stories are told or written about you, your company or product? Set up a Google Alerts account and start monitoring today. Customers are not waiting for more information, more facts. What they want is to engage on a deeper level with your organization and your product or service. What your company needs is authentic, meaningful and inspiring stories, and who can tell them better than your most satisfied customers?
So how can you make testimonials work for you? First of all, make sure customers find written, or even better videotaped, testimonials on your website. Don’t make them look for it, they should be on your homepage or product landing page. Next, include some video testimonials or an interview with a satisfied customer in your sales presentation and make sure it’s creative, dynamic and entertaining. Not only will it make your presentation more interesting, interactive and memorable, it will also take your prospects on a journey into the future where they have already bought your solution and are enjoying the results. Visualization is a powerful thing!
Finally some ninja tips for successful testimonials:
* Make sure they are authentic and relevant to your prospects.
* Check your testimonials for spelling and grammatical errors.
* Include the name, picture, company and position of the satisfied customer (always ask for permission first).
* Use magnetic headlines to draw the attention.
* Select testimonials from different industries or perspectives, so that there’s something for everybody in your target audience.
* Specific numbers work best. Don’t say “one million” in revenue if it was $977,450.
* Don’t rephrase your customer’s words. They speak the language of your prospects.