To answer that question, imagine, for a moment, that you need to buy a new X.
(And imagine further that you don’t already know for sure what brand or type of X you’ll buy, or where you’ll buy it from.)
Now. It doesn’t matter, for the purposes of this illustration, what your X actually is. It could be:
It could even be something you wouldn’t traditionally think of as being “a purchase”, like a place to meet a friend for coffee in an unfamiliar city.
Regardless, the key point is that whatever your X is, you know you have different options. And you’re not quite sure yet about which one’s best for you.
If you’re like most people in the heart-based business space, you start asking around. Perhaps you mention what you’re looking for to a friend, or post a question about it on Facebook, or ask in one of your business groups.
You probably say something like, “Hey, I’m thinking of getting an X. Any recommendations?”
And then, when someone does recommend something, you ask them what their experience with their X was like (assuming they don’t launch straight into telling you unprompted).
Or… if you’re a little more tech-minded, maybe you start by googling. And then, when you find an option or two that sound good, you check out what previous customers/clients have said about them in their reviews.
So again: you try to find out what other people’s experiences with their X were like.
And that, gentle reader, is why testimonials are so freaking important.
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to know what friends or business acquaintances (and even random strangers on the internet) think of something you’re interested in buying. It’s just basic human nature – and it’s perfectly logical too.
After all, if someone else has already had a bad experience with something, don’t you want to be forewarned? And if you’re not sure whether or not something can genuinely help you, don’t you want to hear from someone who was in your situation when they bought it?
So it should come as no surprise that people who are considering becoming YOUR customers or clients want to hear from people who already are. Why?
And the first place they check for that information after they read your web page is any testimonials you’ve included on the page.
Once you understand what readers are looking for when they check out a testimonial, it’s easy to see why so many testimonials are ineffective.
Way too many of them are simply a cut-and-paste of positive feedback that they business owner spontaneously received. So, using my business as an example, that means it’s some variation on:
And don’t get me wrong: those are all lovely things to hear as an entrepreneur. They’re not, however, going to do ANYTHING to help a prospective client decide whether or not I’m the right person for them to work with. Why?
So, in order to be effective, a testimonial needs to tell the reader:
In other words, your testimonial needs to tell a story with a clear before, during and after to it.
Of course, knowing that good testimonials are important (and what makes them good) is one thing. Knowing how to actually ask for them from your clients without feeling awkward – and having a process to ensure that they’re actually effective when you get them – is something else entirely.
If you’d like the lowdown on the specifics of creating effective testimonials and then USING them to get results, I’m running a free 90-minute workshop next week that will help.
In it, we’ll cover:
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