Last Updated on August 5, 2020
It’s a given that client testimonials are powerful in the sales process. Who have you done work for? What problems did you resolve? What kind of results did you achieve? That’s why recommendations, online reviews and case studies are necessary on websites and marketing materials. During the decision-making process, we want to hear real stories from people who are like us. In her book Neuro Web Design: What makes them click?, Susan Weinschenk explains the neuroscience around rating systems, storytelling, and how we process each.
We’re social creatures.
Our brains are hardwired to connect with others. But there are varying levels of connection as it relates to testimonials. Obviously we’re most influenced by people we know and trust; hearing about their experience is the most persuasive. Hence why social search is becoming more and more important in online marketing. For example, your Google search results are influenced by your Google Plus circles.
But sometimes we’re researching for a product or service and don’t have the time or inclination to poll our friends and colleagues via social media channels like Facebook or Twitter. That’s where rating systems, client testimonials, case studies and LinkedIn recommendations can help. Though we may not know the person directly, we can relate if there are personal details — name, location, occupation — that capture our imagination. A testimonial becomes less persuasive if 1) we don’t know them and 2) can’t imagine them or their experience. Last on the persuasive list is a simple rating (e.g., 3 out of 5 stars) and no details.
Our need for social validation affects purchasing behavior, but other behaviors as well. For example, we’re influenced by how many views a YouTube video has amassed or the number of stars a restaurant has on Yelp.
So how can you make sure your client testimonials are powerful?
- Make sure they include some details that future clients and prospects can relate to. It could be as simple as location, industry niche or occupation title.
- Tell a story. Facts are interesting, but how the results made a difference in your client’s business/life is much more compelling. People want to imagine how their problem can be solved.
- Capture them in written form as well as on video. Hearing a success story directly from the person who experienced it… priceless. Here’s an illustrative example: a Silicon Valley realtor who invested in his business and set himself apart in a very competitive marketplace. And yes, he’s my client. I was honored to be apart of this project, interviewing his clients and capturing their stories.
However you collect your client testimonials, be sure to put them on mediums with longevity. Tweets and Facebook posts are great, but they have a short shelf life. Recommendations on LinkedIn and testimonials on websites are evergreen.
How are you gathering success stories for your business?