Stop, close your eyes and dream up the most amazing testimonial your business could receive.
Right now. Really do it. It should have you salivating... Think of a product review that you'd pay thousands for. Ummm well, one that you'd pay for if you weren't so morally inclined.
What was it about the testimonial you imagined that made it great?
Was it a glowing review of everything you do... mentioning all of your capabilities? Did it describe how you are leaps and bounds above your competitors? Did the person say they'd work with you again in a heartbeat? Did they mention how much money they made, or time they saved from using your service?
If that's all you thought of, you're missing the most important piece.
What makes a testimonial great?
A good testimonial provides proof. For most folks, the goal of having testimonials and reviews is to prove to potential clients that they can deliver.
5-star reviews do that.
Often it takes a lot of them, sprinkled with a bad one here and there so they feel real, but once you get dozens of reviews, that group in aggregate starts to get powerful.
What if you could only have that one testimonial that you were dreaming up? What would make that one a SUPERSTAR? There's one word that makes a testimonial great. That word is...
Without doubt, a testimonial or product review is honestly just ok. Let me explain...
The reason you should be using testimonials and reviews as a part of your marketing is because your potential clients don't believe you. They've been burned too many times by someone who looked and sounded just like you. It's just too easy to throw up a fake testimonial.
They literally don't believe you.
If they were sold already, they wouldn't be reading... they'd be in your shopping cart pressing the checkout button. But they're not. Why? Because they aren't sold yet. And what exists when you aren't sold yet? Yup, that's right. DOUBT!
A great testimonial voices the exact concerns your future clients are having. It speaks about how someone else just like them had those same concerns but soon realized that not only were those concerns unwarranted, but your company actually went above and beyond to over deliver.
Legendary advertiser Rosser Reeves (Don Draper of Mad Men was largely based off Rosser Reeves) said a good salesperson enters the conversation that is going on in the prospect's mind. A great testimonial takes that concept one step further...
It voices the exact issue your client is worried about, and validates that client's feelings. Then it gives a real life example of why the fear shouldn't exist: "This reviewer is just like me. I know because she's worried about the same things I am. She got results, so I probably will too."
Pro Tip: Use a testimonial that filters out prospects that are a poor fit for your brand.
If you get too many inquiries from folks who can't afford your prices, use a testimonial that establishes the reason for your higher price. "I tried several of the cheap knock-offs and they never worked for me. I avoided buying this one because it was a lot more expensive, and I didn't want to pay a ton and still not get results, but ultimately..."
Go review the testimonials featured in your marketing. Any testimonial is better than none at all, but see if you can swap the current ones out with others that include overcoming doubt.
People aren't always used to including doubt in their reviews, so you can prompt it by asking for answers to specific questions. Ask them: 'What's most important to you about our product?' and 'What was the one thing that almost kept you from working with us?'
Next time you leave a review for your favorite company, make sure to mention what you were initially skeptical about, AND how the company's performance won you over.