Use Testimonials to Attract Prospects and Win Sales By Kendra Lee
In today’s economy you need every advantage in your sales kit. Prospects are scrutinizing all requests for their time and each purchase decision.
You want to pass their piercing investigation but the sales tools you’ve used in recent years aren’t cutting it. You need something more, and testimonials are the answer. They can be the difference maker in not just winning opportunities but also in attracting attention in the first place.
Testimonials are your clients’ stamp of approval. They provide an independent perspective that gives prospects insight into how you work, how effective your solutions are, and the results others have experienced through engaging you.
Recently, a client we’ve worked with over the past 5 months was at a conference where I was speaking. He’s highly respected among the community and people stop and listen to his suggestions. He’s been so pleased with the sales training and consulting support we’re providing his sellers and managers, that every time he saw me, he walked up and expounded on it to the people nearby. He went on and on about his team’s comments and results he’d seen. He ended by telling people that they needed to hire us, too.
The business his testimonial drove was huge, all because of his effusive endorsement. You can get the same results by exposing your prospects to your delighted clients. They’re dying to sing your praises, and see you and your company excel, if only you’d ask.
Here are 4 Quick Steps to adding exuberant testimonials to your sales kit:
QuickStep 1: Identify those key influencers who are happy with your offerings
Everyone has access to unending stores of information about you: from your own press releases, annual reports and websites to social chatter in Twitter, Flickr, YouTube, FaceBook, iReports, Plaxo, LinkedIn, and blog postings.
Getting through prospect filters requires building their confidence in your past successes and current promises. Use your delighted customers to tell their stories, share the results they’ve experienced, and promote the value of working with you.
QuickStep 2: Capture quotes and examples, validate, and gain approval to use them
Beyond their satisfaction, current customer testimonials will help you build your credibility and protect your reputation. During client meetings and in email exchanges, watch and listen for expressions of their pleasure with a project and ask to quote them.
With emails, I’ll frequently respond to a client with thanks for their kind words, then ask if I can quote them. I’ll let them know how I want to use the quote, and if it isn’t clear, will paraphrase the quote I’d like to use.
Consider capturing quotes for email signature lines, podcasts, webcast stories, article bi-lines, press releases, blogs, and social networks as you use them.
QuickStep 3: Integrate testimonials into your sales kit
Now that you have testimonials, don’t forget about them! Incorporate them into your selling activities throughout the sales cycle. Go beyond including them in proposals or offering them as references during the decision process. Rather, use your client’s voice and share the good word to attract and win new prospects!
Mention them in a first meeting to demonstrate credibility and create interest. Introduce a specific testimonial or two early in conversation when you recognize similarities between a client and a prospect. Use them as examples to help uncover potentially hidden needs.
The next time your prospect mentions an issue they’re grappling with, you’ll be able to say, “You know, we helped a client just like you save $x by…”
QuickStep 4: Leverage your testimonials to attract new prospects
Put a plan of action in place to maximize their power and get the message out there! Think about how you can communicate your testimonials in your prospecting activities.
Add them to emails, cold calling scripts, marketing materials, or an upcoming event. Make one or two an offer after a webcast. I often refer to testimonials during prospecting calls, picking out the results or a good quote. They become my stories when I’m delivering a webcast, and examples when I talk about how we help other clients.
Strong testimonials make prospects long to engage you – especially when times are tough and companies are cutting expenditures. They see you as the answer to their prayers. Add them to your sales kit and you’ll soon find prospects asking you to engage with them.
Kendra Lee is author of “Selling Against the Goal” and president of KLA Group. Ms. Lee is a frequent speaker at national sales meetings and association events. To find out more about the author, as well as subscribe to her newsletter visit www.klagroup.com or call +1 303.773.1285.
-What are some ways you’ve used or have seen testimonials used during the sales process to improve sales results?
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