Are you making a Major Sale? The Major Sale is defined by Neil Rackham in his book Spin Selling as:
- There is more than one decision-maker
- The buyerâ€™s financial and/or emotional investment is significant
- The purchase warrants significant time and research into alternatives
- There is the potential for a long-term relationship between you and/or your business and the customer
- The consequences of making a purchasing mistake are high
If your business is engaging in making Major Sales, then you have GOT to get serious about getting testimonials. Unfortunately, the power of written testimonials is being diluted daily.
See, back in the old days (the late 1990’s), when you included a testimonial for your product or service on the web, you wanted to be sure to list contact information for the person providing the testimonial. The reason you were to include the contact information was to act as a credibility check. The easier it was to check the credibility of the testimonial, the more powerful the testimonial was.
However, the state of the internet today makes it poor practice to include an e-mail address right out there in the HTML of your web page where it can be harvested by any spam-bot that happens along. Placing contact information in the path of a spam-bot (an automated program that gathers e-mail addresses from the code on web pages) is no way to reward your customers who are kind enough to lend you their testimonial!
Unlike the claims of some, clients or customers who include their contact information as part of their testimonials were RARELY, if ever bombarded with inquiries. It makes a nice story though for those who don’t want to go to the time and trouble to collect REAL testimonials. By removing contact information, it makes it easier to doctor an authentic testimonial or create one that’s a work of fiction. Unfortunately, many of the testimonials I read today on the internet are obvious works of fiction and that dilutes the power of a testimonial for everyone!
If you are making a Major Sale, there are several great reasons to collect testimonials. Of course, the most obvious is so you can share the testimonial on your web site or in your marketing materials. However, there are other gems to be mined from your customer’s testimonials.
Reading what your current customers/clients have to say can help you focus on what’s important to them. If your testimonials have the recurring theme of how EASY it is to do business with you, then perhaps that’s a message you need to focus upon delivering. If your testimonials rave about your outstanding service department, then THAT is a message to focus upon in your marketing and advertising.
Testimonials are an essential element in making the Major Sale, since the Major Sale is based upon building trust. Try to provide as MUCH credibility to your testimonials as possible. In one client’s case, that meant putting up testimonials that were authentic, but didn’t deliver much “punch.” We chose to include those “luke warm” testimonials because they were authentic. Real testimonials usually don’t sound like they were written by an advertising copywriter! Remember that if you do decide to craft your own testimonials. However, I’d recommend getting authentic testimonials. There’s much to be learned from listening to your customers.