WHY ARE TESTIMONIALS IMPORTANT?

Testimonials are one of the best ways to gain new customers.  A testimonial doesn’t cost a dime, and it is possible to get them without even asking for them.  Satisfied customers will often recommend your services to their friends, family, and acquaintances, and these recommendations can be worth their weight in gold.

Doing quality work is very important in getting testimonials, but there is more to it than that.  You must provide excellent customer service.  Outstanding customer service can make the difference between a satisfied customer and a customer who is so happy that they can’t wait to tell everyone about your greatness.

Willingness to accept constructive criticism is a huge asset when it comes to customer service.  You’re not a mind reader, and sometimes you will not do things exactly the way your customer would like them done, but the willingness to accept suggestions and requests for changes is a much-appreciated trait.  It also lets customers know that their needs are of the utmost importance.

Promptly answering customer inquiries is another way to show your customers that they matter.  People want to know that when they are paying for your work, you aren’t just doing what you have to do in order to get their money.  Even potential customers who have not yet hired you to do work for them or to buy your product deserve to have their questions answered quickly and accurately.  Taking an interest in your customers’ concerns tells them that you truly care about their satisfaction with your work.

Many businesses offer incentives to their customers for providing testimonials.  This approach can be effective, but genuinely happy customers do the best job of pitching your services to others.  If you go out of your way to make sure that your customers are pleased, they will gladly recommend you to others without expecting anything in return.

Testimonials are an important (and free) way to get more business.  Treating your customers like you would want to be treated will ensure that they are pleased and will make them more willing to suggest your services to others.

Remember, there is NOTHING wrong with calling a satisfied customer and asking them for a testimonial. Most people (when they are happy with your product or service) will be happy to put in to writing their total and complete satisfaction. In fact, a large majority of your customers will feel that when they do this, their satisfaction is likely to go up, since they have recommended you. It’s a win – win situation for everyone.

SO, WHAT MAKES A GOOD TESTIMONIAL?

A ‘Good’ testimonial is one that continues to send business your way for weeks, months, and years.  It has a chain reaction and continues to generate added business from multiple sources.

We need to be looking for potential testimonials and then nurture them.  Generally, testimonials will only take place when action or pressure is placed on something.  So what’s the lesson?  Testimonials will only start from the pressure you place on a situation to make it happen.

What is the type of pressure you need?  Superior service, trusted consulting, placing value in the relationship, being a client’s advocate as you deliver your service, etc.  What are the results?  You never know when the fruit of your effort will bring about a chain reaction of relatives, patients, clients, employees, etc., or other relationships from that one initial deal.

Ultimately, a good testimonial is one that produces much more than you thought possible, but the only way it can happen is through being diligent in the basics every time.

 

FROM THE DESK OF FRANK KERN:

 

FTC Declares Shenanigans On All Kinds Of Stuff!

OK. Before we begin, let me make the following disclaimer: I AM NOT A LAWYER, NONE OF THIS SHOULD BE CONSIDERED LEGAL ADVICE.

(Duh!)

Onward…

Most people think the new FTC guidelines are aimed at stopping those fake blog sites.

You know the ones, right? Where the “blogger” is a totally non existent person and it’s just some made up story to promote a CPA offer?

I’m sure you’ve seen them.

Here’s a list of fake weight loss blogs
http://www.weightlossweapons.com/blog/weight-loss-scam-sites/

…And here’s a list of fake “Make Money” blogs:
http://workathometruth.com/classifieds/m-fake-mon/

And while I’m sure these fake blogs played a major role in the FTC ruling, all those people telling you that this is all about blogs …

ARE WRONG.

Here’s the deal:

First, if you’re getting paid to sell something on a blog, yeah, you should go ahead and let people know. Maybe mention it in the TOS, or maybe say something like, “If you decide to get this thing, click this link first and they’ll pay me a little commission money so I can finally retire to that little fishing village in Mexico!” (<---Like I said, this is not legal advice! Get advice on this from a real lawyer and NOT me.)

Personally, I don't think the whole "blog thing" is that big of a deal for REAL marketers like us and I think it'll be super easy to comply with the FTC.

BUT HERE’S WHAT THEY’RE NOT TELLING YOU.

These new guidelines are a whole lot more serious than this blog business.

They also cover how you can use testimonials …and this is likely to PERMANENTLY change the way we do business.

Here’s the interpretation straight from my FTC lawyer, Gary:

“…The most significant change to the revised guides is the deletion of the “safe harbor” that has long allowed advertisers to use testimonials who reported specific successful experiences with an advertised product or service as long as the advertiser included a disclaimer such as “Results not typical.” Under the revised Guides, advertisements that feature a consumer and convey his or her experience with a product or service as typical when that is not the case will be required to clearly disclose the results that consumers can generally expect.”

Umm …right. Here’s the “Kern Translation”:

Let’s say you sell an exercise DVD.

And let’s say you’ve got a customer …we’ll call her “Patsy” …let’s say Patsy followed your DVD to the letter, worked out like crazy, watched what she ate, and lost 950 pounds.

Now, let’s say Patsy wrote you a testimonial and said “I lost 950 pounds thanks to this DVD!”.

Nothing weird there, right?

Up until these guidelines came out, you could be really safe by simply putting the standard “results not typical” disclaimer on your site. You’ve seen it 100 times, right?

It goes something like this: “Results not typical. Your results may vary.”

No big deal …up until now.

Here’s the key phrase form the “official” paragraph above:

required to clearly disclose the results that consumers can generally expect.


What this means is that if you have a testimonial where someone gets an amazing result using your product, you’ve got to follow it up by saying something like this:

Results not typical. The average user uses this DVD as a coaster for their Big Gulp and never loses any weight at all.

And frankly, even doing that might be dangerous if you say “the average user uses this DVD as a coaster” because the FTC could theoretically argue that …well, you’re implying that therefore all anyone has to do is NOT use the DVD as a coaster and they’ll lose 950 pounds.

See? Easy to screw that one up.

Here’s more from my man Gary: “The FTC also said that it believes that it is “likely” that testimonials that present the specific experiences of a product user (e.g., the number of pounds or inches lost) will be viewed as claiming that those experiences are typical of what consumers will generally experience.”

Mmm hmm. Trouble with a capitol “T” right there, buddy.

Here’s the sentence that get’s you: viewed as claiming that those experiences are typical of what consumers will generally experience

In my opinion, this means that if you say Pasty lost 950 pounds, the FTC will view this as you saying the TYPICAL USER will lose 950 pounds.

And if you don’t have documented proof out the wazoo showing that the typical user loses 950 pounds, you’re hosed.

Here’s what this means to you

OK. Basically, if you use a testimonial that shows someone really hitting it out of the park, you can’t say “results not typical”.

You gotta say something like “Results not typical. The average user experiences XYZ.”

And if you don’t know what the average user’s results are, you’d either better find out …or simply not use these types of testimonials at all.

But this doesn’t mean that ALL testimonials are this serious. From what I understand, you don’t have to worry about any disclaimers if you’re using testimonials where your customers simply say they like your product, like you, and are happy with their purchase.

…It’s only when you’re conveying a specific result.

Here’s my advice

COMPLY, BY GOD!!

Look. Many marketers are going to scheme for days on how to “get around” this new ruling.

Don’t waste your time. You don’t “get around” the FTC. If you’re worried that a certain testimonial will get you in trouble, don’t use it.

In my experience, testimonials are overrated anyway.

My Mass Control sales video didn’t have any (but I did use them in pre-launch. I won’t do that any more.)

And our current “Screw Google” promotion doesn’t have any either.

If you deliver enough value BEFORE asking for the sale, you should be able to sell plenty of stuff forever.

We’re SUPER lucky as Internet Marketers because when you build a list, you can constantly be providing great value for your subscribers for free …and when it’s time for you to sell something, they don’t need too much convincing.

Anyway - that’s my take on this whole FTC thing.

Hopefully, it clears things up for you and will help you keep your nose clean!

Frank

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