Posts

One of my Duct Tape Marketing colleagues, David Smith from Boise, ID and I were kicking around ideas on how to get and craft a good review — to support local marketing — a program David’s delivering to a group of Idaho business owners.

My input, while not the most academic, may be of some help to you as you consider the same issue:

Be Real . . . Be Counter-Intuitive . . . Start Off Negative
I find that ‘glowing’ reviews, i.e. overly positive are dismissed more quickly and easily than clients will like.  An idea I picked up from a friend and colleague, Sean D’Souza is:  “Lead with a negative”.  The CREDIBILITY of what follows is so much greater and it won’t seem like it was written by groupies on drugs stalking their favorite rock band.  e.g.
“When I first heard about ‘Duct Tape’ Marketing, I thought, “What The Heck?”  Then, I thought, “Oh boy, here we go again!  Just gonna be another BS way of saying what everyone else is saying we ought to do only they’ll charge a lot more for it.”

That’s real.  It’s what your prospects are probably thinking.  So JOIN the conversation in their heads and THEN . . . bring them to know something you know that they probably weren’t thinking about . . . eg. “Well, BOY, WAS I WRONG!  Dave Smith, the local Duct Tape Marketing consultant met with me and my team last week and I had to say, “Wow” . . .”  

See what a credible impact that makes vs. a sugar-coated, lop-sided but utterly bland compliment that doesn’t stand out in a meaningful way?

Be Specific!
The other thing I believe is important to include in a review is SPECIFICITY of a VALUED OUTCOME.  The luke-warm (i.e. ‘safe’) comments are useless because they sound like what everyone else is saying.  e.g. “ABC’s food tasted great and the service was good.” (Well, I’d sure hope so!)

You’d be better to focus on a specific ‘outcome’ enjoyed from using (consuming) your product or service –e.g.  “We used to have WWIII on our hands trying to get the kids up in the morning.  Now, thanks to Tasty Chew Cornflakes, our kids are waking US up to make sure we’re in the kitchen for breakfast!  Kind of refreshing, actually.”

Help People Give You a Great Review
It’s always helpful to end a review with a RATING and a CALL-TO-ACTION.  Let your reviewers be your promoters — e.g.  “Overall I’d give these guys a 9 out of 10 (and I never give anyone, anywhere a ’10’)  so the next time you’re hungry in the KC area and the family wants to go out for a bite, be sure and put Oklahoma Joe’s on your ‘short list’ of ‘must-know-gotta-go’ places and get yourself a REAL pulled pork sandwich for a change”.

NEVER ‘Write’ Someone’s Review  
You do, however, want to explain the ‘structure’ and provide an easy way to invite them to ‘bullet point’ their key points.

You may want to say, Hey, can I write-up what I think you just said to me . . . and see if you approve the copy or would like to make some edits?”  That’ll work every time!

KEY POINT:
People love being editors vs. writers.  If you make their ‘job’ easier, you’ll make your reviews even better.

By now you’ve learned what you need for an effective testimonial:
1.  OBSTACLE . . . that prevented action with you in the first place
2.  RESULT . . . enjoyed as a result of actually using your service/s
3.  KEY ELEMENT . . . that produced the result enjoyed
4.  KEY BENEFIT  . . . your service produced for your client
5.  ADDITIONAL BENEFITS . . . easier once the first one is defined

So your last question, “Is there anything else you’d like to say?” may (or, may not) provide something new.  But, you never know until you ask!

I interview people for articles I write and I like to use a similar question after I’m ready to stop.  Funny, but simply asking, “Anything I did NOT ask that you’d like to address?” often generates some of the best parts of my interviews.  Not always, of course.  But often enough that I’ve trained myself to pose that question to someone I’m interviewing.

KEY POINT:
When you think you’re ‘all set’, remember to pose this final (and sometimes very revealing!) question

Alright.  You’ve now found a major OBSTACLE, a BENEFIT that outweighed it, as well as a single FACTOR that produced it.  Now what?  Go for more!  Focusing on one factor effectively ‘primed’ your client’s mental pump.  Now it’s time to leverage that opportunity you’ve created.

“Besides the benefit you cited, what are 3 other BENEFITS that you’ve enjoyed by using my services?”

Here’s the logic.  It’s easier to expand on a single, specific benefit than it is to come up with 3 benefits ‘out of the blue’.  It’s about ASSOCIATION.  If someone says, “I find I’m getting to work faster and easier” it’s relatively easy to think of how that means that . . . “I get more work done now” or “It’s easier to get my boss to notice me” or “I’m less stressed when I get to work”.  See how a ‘root’ benefit naturally leads a client to see the implications of it?

Once you ‘uncork’ the benefit bottle, the contents (related benefits) will start to flow.

KEY POINT:
Leverage the initial benefit to learn new ones your service produces for your clients.

Once you know the OBSTACLE  to acting on your service and the BENEFIT gained once they did, you want to get specific.  You want to FOCUS on one aspect of the service or program or product you provided that really ‘stood out’ to your client.

Here then, is your third question.  “Was there ONE thing about my services that was really significant . . . that caused you to enjoy the benefit you just mentioned?”

By asking your client to focus on just one thing, you make it easier for them to provide you with a testimonial.

Too often we ask, “Why did you like . . . ?” and they don’t know where to begin!  It’s so easy to overwhelm someone.  Instead, ask your client to focus on ONE thing . . . ONE aspect or ONE feature of your service that they feel might be the basis for their getting the benefit they just mentioned to you in response to question #2.

KEY POINT:
Focus . . . is powerful.  Focus is also the key to discovering the basis for the benefit they’ve enjoyed from your services.

Once you know WHY someone might hesitate to use your services, you can address it. This is the real ‘acid test’ of any testimonial worth it’s salt — “Does it address (and thereby defuse / overcome) an obstacle that could prevent a prospective client from taking action . . . with you?”

So here’s the next question you want to ask a client who’s been happy with your services. “Tell me, what did you actually gain as a result of using my services?”

LISTEN!  You’ll learn what your services did that, in the end, addressed your client’s concern (the obstacle to action). Knowing the benefit of your service that addressed the obstacle clients had to overcome to use your services will make it easier for you to provide ‘Obstacle-specific and relevant’ testimonials to future prospective clients for your services.

Now, when you hear or sense why someone is hesitant to move forward with you, you can provide a relevant testimonial that will (of course) address, defuse and overcome the specific basis for their hesitancy. That’s powerful!

KEY POINT:
Testimonials that address the concerns your prospects have with specificity and relevance are most effective.

Testimonials must come, of necessity, from clients who are actually benefitting from your problem-solving expertise.  That said, there are six (6) questions you can use to generate effective testimonials.  Here’s your first one . . .

Think back to when you were first thinking about hiring me / buying my / etc. . . . there must have been some reason or reasons why you thought, “I dunno. Maybe this ISN’T such a good idea”.  Tell me, what what was arguing AGAINST your hiring / buying / using my services?”

The answer you hear will be an obstacle to buying what you offer.  And, since testimonials are used to address, defuse and overcome obstacles, you need to know what you must address, defuse and overcome to help other people become your client in the future.

You’ll hear a number of factors cited by your clients.  Each one reveals an obstacle and suggests an issue that a testimonial must address, defuse and overcome.  The more frequently a given obstacle is cited, the more important it is for you to be ready for it . . . with (what else?) an appropriate testimonial!

KEY POINT:
Learning WHY people hesitate to buy reveals WHAT a testimonial must address.

Most of us are influenced by what other people do and say. Social psychologists call it ‘normative referencing’.  We want to be part of the ‘crowd’ and that means ‘listening’ to what others say, do, feel, think, believe.  Social is our nature.

It’s also why testimonials are so effective. As a marketer, what you tell me about yourself is inherently suspect.  You’re biased. That’s expected.

What’s better?  Comments from a credible source.  Your clients.  Normally, unlike our friend here, they have nothing to gain financially from endorsing your services.  And, if a client ‘looks like me’, then their words about you and your services have more potency for me.

Is there a key to a good testimonial? Good question.  Actually, there are several!

In the next few days, I’ll share what makes a testimonial effective and how to co-create good ones with your clients.

KEY POINT:
Testimonials reduce buying resistance but there’s an artform to generating effective ones!