Archive for the 'Marketing & Tips' Category
Here is a simple method to get client testimonials that definitely works – assuming of course, you do have a few genuinely happy clients!
by Peter Crocker
Getting impressive customer testimonials on your website or marketing collateral is a very powerful way to win new business. But how do you get them?
If you’ve ever tried to get a client to write a testimonial for you, you’ll know how difficult this can be – even if they’re your number one fan. The problem is, most people hate writing, and a non-urgent task like this will always go to the bottom of the list.
The trick to getting customer testimonials is to make it so simple for them that all they have to do is say ‘yes’.
So how can you do this?
Write the testimonials yourself.
But, before you start writing this off as deceptive advertising, let me explain. I’m not talking about the canned, carefully scripted ‘testimonials’ you see on cheesy sites signed off by some bloke known only as Bill from Oxford. I’m talking about sincere quotes signed off by your real clients with their full names. Here is a simple method to get client testimonials that definitely works – assuming of course, you do have a few genuinely happy clients! If so, this method should get you half a dozen solid testimonials over the next few weeks.
Flick through some of your past emails and see if you can find a few with something nice to say. Usually at the very least there’ll be a few comments like “Thanks, this is exactly what I wanted!”, “I appreciate you doing this so quickly for me”, or even just “Looks good!” Then, if you’re lucky, you might find a few with a bit more detail. If there are no emails, recall any positive verbal feedback you have received.
Based on these comments and what you’ve provided for these clients, start jotting down a few quotes that paraphrase or summarise their thoughts. If necessary, expand the content to explain what you delivered. For example, if their email simply says “Thanks so much! A great job as usual”, you could make this into a very useful quote without changing the sentiment just by saying “Thanks so much for organizing and managing our huge product launch event. A great job as usual!”
Try to make sure you select a range of comments that cover some of the main attributes you’d like to get across such as reliability, creativity or great value.
Then put together an email something like this:
SUBJECT: I need a favour!
Hi Jo, Thanks for all the work we did earlier this year. Just a quick note to ask you a favour. I’m looking to update my website shortly and am hoping to include some testimonials from my clients. I was wondering if you’d mind me including one from your business – it would just be a short quote with a link back to your website.
I know these can be a hassle to write, so I have taken the liberty of drafting something up for you below based on some of your kind comments. I want you to be 100% comfortable with the quote, so please feel free to add or delete any part of it as you see fit. And, if you’d prefer not to have a quote that’s totally fine too.
Possible quote for review: “Thanks for all your great design work advice for our website launch (especially given such tight timeframes!). It’s been really well received and I look forward to working with you again.” Jo Sample, Marketing Manager, Sample Works
Thanks for considering this, Jo. Hope all is well with you and your business and speak soon.
I’ve used this approach myself with a number of clients, and I’ve always found that as long as your quote is something your client will be comfortable with (i.e. you’re not trying to gild the lily), then they are genuinely pleased to help. Particularly if all they need to do is to say ‘yes’ or make a few little edits.
Good luck and have fun with it!
Food for thought by Seth Godin
Models are fairly generic placeholders, attractive men and women who anonymously walk down the runway at a fashion show or stand up for a photo shoot. It’s surprisingly unglamorous and isn’t particularly steady or financially rewarding.
Supermodels, on the other hand, are a relatively recent innovation, and they are in a totally different (financial) category. The interesting thing is that everyone benefits: the model makes a lot more money, the advertiser gains more credibility from using the known face and the audience gets the frisson of recognition that comes from celebrity. Supermodels aren’t necessarily prettier, they’re merely more famous, a niche that serves all the parties.
There’s a leap between model and supermodel. There isn’t really a stable niche for reallygoodmodel and extremelygoodmodel. You are either seen as worth the super premium or you’re not. This quantum leap from one state to the other makes it an unpredictable career, one fraught with risk, because you never know when you’re going to pop.
You’ve probably guessed that supermodel status exists in many fields. Stocks, brand names, consultants, doctors, even dog trainers.
The leap must be an intentional one. You don’t walk there. You leap.
by John Jantsch of Duct Tape Marketing
Small business owners are an odd lot. I can say this without judgment because I am one.
Cracking the small business code is something that routinely perplexes large organizations. I see it every day, and I’ve been asked numerous times to consult on that very puzzle.
The thing is, however, a lot of small businesses want to sell to other small businesses too. Many times I find that they miss the subtleties of attracting small business even though they need look no further than their own buying habits for keys to the sale.
So, today I’m going to share how I, one long-time small business owner, think and make purchases in an effort to create what might become your cheat sheet for how to think about selling to small business.
I suspect there are c consultants that would charge tens of thousands of dollars for what I’m about to reveal below, but you get it for free!
1) Realize I don’t plan that far out
Small business owners would love to have a three-year and five-year plan, but the reality is we often have a one-week plan and it’s a rough draft. I’m not saying it’s perfect, I’m just saying it’s the reality of the time and resource sparse business.
We don’t respond well to future ROI messages or value received over time because mostly we’re usually looking to fix something right now. Talk to me about the pain I have today, fix the problem that will get me immediate relief and then we can talk about the future.
2) Help me buy value over price
I actually don’t want to buy on price, but I will. If you don’t give me a way to see how your solution makes better sense to me right now , I’ll choose the lower price. But if you can demonstrate that you’re going to be here whenever and however I need you, that switching to your solution isn’t going to be painful and that this time it’s going to be different, I’ll pay a premium.
The problem is, I don’t believe your brochure. In fact, the greater problem is I don’t fully trust myself to implement what you’ve suggested either. So, demonstrate by building a relationship, don’t sell, educate. Prove to me that you really understand my business by using my language – if you use the terms synergy or value proposition it will hard for me to hear anything else you say.
3) Make the service as sexy as the sale
Good marketing makes you hungry for how your world is about to change for the better. Good marketing paints a picture of your new shiny world once you’ve bought the product or engaged the service. That’s the job of marketing – to build know, like and trust.
The problem is that once I say I want to buy, good marketing seems to come to a crashing end.
Good marketing also understands that I need to be oriented to what I just bought, I need to know what to do next, I need to know who to contact with questions, I need to know how I pay, how I get more, how I add features and I need to know it all as part of your sales and service process.
In fact, good marketing doesn’t ever end. It also wants to measure the results I got and it wants to make sure I’m thrilled.
4) Know that I am loyal to a fault
Okay, I’m playing with fire sharing this one, but you need to know that I value loyalty as much as anything. So, that’s a great thing to know, but it’s a two-way street. I will be loyal to companies that are loyal to me.
If you fix my problem, you do it in a way that is simple, effective and affordable and if I come to trust your words and actions – I’ll buy anything else you present to me in the same way. I’ll go out of my way to keep buying from you because what I know about you is more comforting than what I don’t know about someone else’s pitch.
Take advantage of this by making it easy for me to share you with my friends, neighbors and colleagues. Make me feel like a champion for your business and I’ll willingly become an unpaid member of your sales team.
5) Continue to educate and I’ll buy more
Don’t change once I become a customer. If you want me to buy more, don’t just toss me into the up sell and cross sell sales funnel that consists of little more than canned sales messages.
Continue to educate me, share things that real people share with each other, talk to me like someone you want to have a deeper relationship with – do that and you’ll earn the right to come to me with the unabashed intention of selling me something else.
Leap of the Week:
What can you do to add value and continue to educate your clients, as much as your prospects, to make your service as sexy as your sale (or as sexy as what you say it is…)?
Here’s an excerpt from a blog post I read by Naomi at Itty Biz… It’s a great reminder for any struggling small business owner…
So I’m on the phone yesterday with a client (let’s call him John) who runs a medium-sized business on the internet, and he’s telling me how desperately afraid he is about money. He’s up at night, wondering where it’s going to come from this month, and where it’s going to come from in the months after that.
John’s getting about as much sleep as he is new money – not much. The fear of where “new money” is going to come from is driving him crazy. His business isn’t in outright free-fall – it’s a good business, it’s bringing in decent money – it’s just not bringing in enough. And the stress is killing him. He needs something to change, and change fast.
And that’s what we’re going to talk about today.
The fastest way to bring in more money via your business is to stop leaving it on the table.
Yes, we’re going to talk about “the table.” The one that everybody and their mother is leaving money on.
This table is full of customers who want to buy something – and are ready to buy right now – but they can’t find what they need. This table is full of clients who got good service from a business, still need a little bit more, but keep forgetting to get around to it. This table is full of people who read your website regularly, find your content interesting, but don’t see something compelling enough to merit joining your list for.
These customers, clients and people have money to spend. (If you need confirmation of this, please get in your car, go to the mall, and stand outside the AT&T store for a while. Notice how few of the people whipping out their Visas for brand new iPhones to replace their perfectly good existing iPhones appear to be starving to death.)
- When they open their mail and find a coupon for that restaurant they like, they say “Oh, I’ve been meaning to go there again. I think I’ll do that tonight since it’s 10% off.” (They’re not being “hit over the head” by the ad. They’ve been thinking about that 12-ounce ribeye.)
- When they get an email from their coach or service provider asking if they want to purchase more services, they say “Dude, I’ve been meaning to get around to that – I’ll do it now.” (They’re not feeling harassed by the provider, they’re happy for the reminder.)
- When they visit a website regularly and see a clearly compelling reason to get on a list they say “Yes, that’s what I’m looking for.” (Sometimes they didn’t even know they were looking for it, either, but it looks like the content could solve one of their persistent problems.)
The point here is that “new money” doesn’t have to come from new people.
When you need to start making more money, you have two options:
- Do a bunch of stuff – probably resource prohibitive stuff – to get new people in the door, or
- Start making the most of the people and resources you already have.
Leap of the Week:
You have heard it here before… You are all sitting on a Gold Mine! And that is, your database of existing clients. Why not capitalize on those relationships?
This article was previously published at Small Business Trends and is being republished with permission.
When I heard Marcus Sheridan speak at BlogWorld, one thing that stood out was his statement, “Businesses are afraid to talk about pricing.” I realized he was completely right.
Think about the last time you went to a website for a product or service that you couldn’t buy outright online. Did it list prices? Or did the site encourage you to call for more information? How many times do you walk away from a purchase simply because you couldn’t get enough information on pricing to make an informed decision? I know that’s been the case for me in many instances.
Why We Don’t List Prices
I think we’re afraid to talk about pricing on our websites because we want to convince potential customers of the value our products provide. Simply giving a number doesn’t express how awesome our widgets and doohickeys are. But we, our companies’ salespeople, can expound upon the benefits our products provide! They’re magical and worth every penny!
But the truth is: Price does matter. No matter how magical your unicorn clone machine is, if it’s out of my budget, there’s nothing you can do about that.
Writing From Inspiration
I decided to write this post after I had an experience that hit home on this topic. I was looking into gyms in my area. I found one website, but it didn’t list prices, so I called. My husband groaned in the background:
I found out why. I was put through to the sales guy. I asked how much a family membership was. His response?
“Let me get your name!”
Instantly, I was put off. I explained I simply wanted to get pricing, not sign up for anything. We proceeded to get into an argument; he said I was reducing his product to a price. He wanted to talk about value. I told him I was familiar with his brand, and I just wanted information on pricing to help me make a decision. I got frustrated and got off the phone.
Guess what gym I didn‘t sign up with?
Bingo. There it is. As business owners, we hate the idea of customers reducing our product to a price. But they do. If I hadn’t considered that gym of the quality I was looking for, with the services I needed, I wouldn’t have called. If all things are equal, price is the one factor that will help us make our decision most of the time. Am I right? But the fact that the salesperson made getting this information a headache turned me off, and I walked away.
In Sheridan’s presentation, he quizzed several members of the audience on whether or not they listed pricing on their sites. One man in software development, when asked why he didn’t list pricing, said:
“Because it depends.”
And that’s the case for a lot of us. It depends on what the client wants; how big he is; how many he wants. But Sheridan shot that down and said that’s the case for everyone in the room, and it simply isn’t an excuse.
I get it now. I just listed prices (at least, starting prices) on my site as a result of this lesson learned. My goal is to at least weed out the people who can’t afford what my company offers, and to create a starting point for the pricing conversation. We’ll see if it draws more clients or makes it easier for potential clients to make a decision.
Leap of the Week – I have a challenge for you:
If you don’t list prices on your site currently, change that. Even if “it depends,” list prices “starting at” and see what happens. Direct potential clients to your site so they can understand what to expect with regards to costs. Let’s get out of the habit of pushing customers away by closely guarding pricing as a big secret! Are you with me?