By Pam Lontos
Which are you more likely to believe, a company representative telling you how great his product or service is, or a recommendation from another customer about how it worked for him? If you’re like most, the words from a fellow consumer pull more weight than even the best-written ad copy. That’s why, no matter what you’re selling, you need to use testimonials from satisfied customers in every ad and marketing piece you create.
One of the main reasons people don’t buy something is they’re fearful of making the wrong decision. So when they see that a product or service is endorsed by someone in their same situation, that fear is minimized. Testimonials are a great way of influencing prospects to feel comfortable about buying your products or services.
Unfortunately, few self-storage operators actively solicit testimonials from their customers. They mistakenly wait for people to give them, and when they do get them, they don’t know how to use them effectively. In reality, getting and using a list of strong testimonials is easier than you think. The following tips will help you get testimonials and teach you how to use them to increase profit.
The best testimonials are written by people who are similar to your ideal customer, so be specific about who you ask. Look over your customer files and choose people who exemplify the best-case scenario for your product or service. Then approach them and say, “I’d love for you to share your experience with my company. Would you please write a short testimonial?” Most people will cheerfully say yes. Since you want more happy customers just like these, let their words sell for you.
You can even offer to write the testimonial for them. Often, if someone declines your request to write one, it’s because he’s too busy or feels he doesn’t have adequate writing skills. In that case, offer to write it for him. Simply say, “I’ll be glad to write the testimonial for you. Just tell me what you’d like to say about our company. You can review what I write, and we can use it as is or you can change it.” Most people will leave the testimonial as is, happy they didn’t have to take the time to write it.
Also look through your past notes and correspondence. Chances are you’re sitting on a pile of testimonials and don’t even know it. Go back through your e-mails, letters and cards from customers. Are there a few nice sentences in some of those messages? If so, ask the person if you can use his words in your marketing materials. He'll usually agree.