Most consumers in America today have similar buying habits. Before you try out a new restaurant in town or buy that new raved-about product online, you typically look around to see what other people have to say—no one wants to waste money on something that doesn’t live up to the hype. So first, you ask around to see what experiences others have had with the product or service. Then, you look at available online review sites to get the input of everyone, from the lifelong supporters to the boycotters who have nothing positive to say. Being informed and being able to make an educated buying decision is what will either drive your purchase or have you halting the breaks. Customer testimonials play a big role in these decisions—which is why they are so important to use in the sales market to help drive sales.
While creating or reinventing your personal sales strategy and brainstorming impactful ways to bring your product or service to the masses, be sure to recognize the importance of and utilization of previous customer testimonials. Testimonials work because they aren’t strong sales pitches and come across in an unbiased voice that often establishes trust among future consumers. By using real people to show success in your product or service, you can convert more prospects into customers. Sales professionals often get caught up in spouting off all the bells and whistles, but third-party testimonials describe how the product or service solved a problem—and that matters most to prospects. Here’s why:
- Stories resonate with people. In an increasingly complex selling environment, successful sales professionals use relationship-oriented selling approaches, including sharing the experiences of other clients. Revealing a story about a customer’s positive experience helps the prospect eliminate doubt and minimizes procrastination. This is because the prospect can identify with the person who gave the testimonial and better understand the results of using the product or service.
- Objective opinions drive purchases. Many sales professionals thrive on spewing all sorts of facts and benefits about their products or services because they believe the information will compel people to purchase. While relevant, significant information helps buyers discern whether the solution will work for them. Many people are wary of sales professionals because they know their intent is ultimately to close a deal. Seeing or reading a testimonial from an objective third party typically carries the power to sway the prospect to overcome skepticism and move toward a purchase.
- Legitimate testimonials are more powerful than canned pitches. Sales professionals often use scripts to minimize anxiety about potentially making a mistake with their spiel. Of course, it’s important to prepare for a meeting and practice presenting using clear language, but people can often see right through a canned sales pitch. Dale Carnegie said, “Instead of worrying about what people say of you, why not spend time trying to accomplish something they will admire.” Know the core product information—facts, benefits, applications, etc.—but also take time to procure positive testimonials that resonate with your prospects.
- Develop confidence and credibility. Today, prospects are armed with pricing and information from your website, Internet reviews, and the recommendations of colleagues and friends. The more positive information available, the more confident the shopper will be that they’re making the right decision. Dale Carnegie’s 3rd principle, ‘Arouse in the other person an eager want,’ is more easily achieved when testimonials, reviews, and recommendations are used.
Customer testimonials create a self-fulfilling prophecy regarding your connection with your target audience. When someone enjoys your product or service, encourage them to leave a positive review. Consumers naturally trust each other more than they trust marketing collateral, so testimonials add more weight to the decision they’re trying to make. Those initial happy customers, therefore, encourage more purchases, which creates more happy customers. So next time you encounter a happy customer, ask them to give you a testimonial!