It’s not that potential customers don’t trust what you’re saying about yourself in your marketing, it’s just that … they don’t!
They figure you’re just saying what you’re saying to sell them something. You do want to sell them something, and that’s OK — you’re typically there because they have a problem or a need they want addressed. The thing is, the saying, “Perception is reality” holds true here.
They need to trust you first, and to do that, they need more than the words you’re saying.
Think about it. When you go shopping for a car — or need some kind of work or service at your home or office for something you don’t know how to do — don’t you ask your friends and family members if they know someone reputable?
Then, if you’re like me, you’ll go online and see if the testimonials match up to what your “neighbors” say about them. As potential customers, we all want to know who will testify to how good the product and/or service you’re trying to sell me really is because we’d rather not be a guinea pig — or worse — be taken advantage of!
Testimonials are also protective. If we take action on a recommendation or rely on a testimonial and it doesn’t work out well, we don’t feel so stupid. Nobody wants to appear stupid. When we see a testimonial, we know someone else has already tested the waters for us. Especially in today’s crowded marketplace, you need something that sets your contracting company apart. Getting testimonials from customers is a powerful way to do that, and is absolutely essential to getting and keeping the phone ringing. Marketing 101 in my opinion.
As potential customers, we all want to know who will testify to how good the product and/or service you’re trying to sell me really is because we’d rather not be a guinea pig — or worse — be taken advantage of!
Getting the feedback
Here’s the thing — you’ve got to have a process in place for getting those testimonials. Very few customers will volunteer to do it unless prompted. They will, however, be more than willing to do it if you go about it the right way.
The first step in this process is to automatically send out a request for a review online that is super easy for them to follow through on. The next level of getting great testimonials is to send them a Customer Satisfaction Survey each and every time you do work for a customer. And the time to do it is as soon as the work is completed, and they’re hopefully feeling the best about you and your company.
Here’s the type of template I use with my clients to solicit testimonial comments. It’s what I call a “Customer Satisfaction Survey Form.” Know that this is normally in the form of a writable PDF.
CUSTOMER SATISFACTION SURVEY
The 7-Power Contractor Scottsdale, AZ 85254 (480) 205-5164
[Town], [State], [Zip]
How would you rate the service you recently received on a scale of
1 to 10 with 10 being Excellent?
- Your experience with the person you spoke with?
- The company’s ability to set a scheduled time range that was at your convenience?
- Technician’s arrival within that scheduled time range?
- Politeness of the technician who performed the work?
- Workmanship and quality of the work done?
- The work area was left clean and neat?
Would you use The 7-Power Contractor again? Yes ☐ No ☐
Please share more about your experience with us below:
May we use your comment in future marketing? Yes ☐ No ☐
The great news is pretty much any software your company is using these days can be a big help here. Also, there are some really great companies that specialize in helping to get these reviews online. Recognize how valuable this is.
That said, you should keep in mind it’s the written comments that count the most! That’s because it takes effort, and you can use them in your marketing if given permission. Ratings from 1 to 10 are nice and very important for you to know. But they’re not as helpful in producing quality testimonials that you can use to further your sales and marketing efforts.
Timing is everything
If you don’t already send out customer satisfaction surveys, and you think maybe it would be a good idea for techs to do this survey with the customer right after they do the work — stop! You think if I was your tech, and I ticked off a nasty customer that I’d actually do that with them? No way! That’s why this must be emailed or texted to them right after the tech has moved on to their next call.
Now, if it’s a big ticket sale, I suggest the salesperson (I call them the system advisor) be required to stop back and fill this out with each customer. I actually teach system advisors how to set the expectation of getting a great testimonial during the sales process.
The trick is you need to preset the stage. You say, “I’m going to make you so happy with the work we’re going to do that I’m going to come back about a week or two afterwards to make sure we delivered everything we promised. If we did, we’d love if you’d provide us with a testimonial we can share with others.” This way you’ve already set the expectation, and when you come back, it’s time to get a picture and testimonial while they still love you.
Some guidelines: At the very least, a testimonial must include the customer’s full name and what town they are in, otherwise your prospective customer may not perceive it as relevant. A text-only testimonial where that customer is bragging on you is great, but for maximum effectiveness you also want to get a picture of them happy and smiling preferably standing in front of whatever work you did for them. No one wants to see the thing you did so much as they want to see that customer looking happy in front of what you did.
Rule of thumb: The customer or customers should be at least 50% of the picture.
If you really want a home run, get a video testimonial. Video is massively effective. It doesn’t have to be a long video, just one or two minutes — and it can be done on your phone. You want them to look good so be cognizant of decent lighting and sound quality.
Here’s a secret: Viewers probably won’t listen very closely to what the customers is actually saying but they will notice how that person is coming across.
These are the questions you will want to ask:
- What was going wrong before we arrived [or did our work]?
- What were you most afraid of before working with us?
- What were you most pleased with about the way we did our work?
- Would you recommend us to others?
You will be surprised how many people are more than willing to do this. You will also find the more testimonials you get, the more you’ll get! Especially if you are pushing them out in your eNewsletters and social media. People want to be in that club.
The trick is to get the testimonial and the written permission to use it as soon as possible after the work is done and they’re feeling good about you.
This all assumes that a high percentage of those customer satisfaction surveys you’re sending out are coming back with excellent ratings and ample praise. If they aren’t, you’ll need to figure out what needs to happen so you can consistently deliver value that goes above and beyond customer expectations. Because ultimately, that’s what will make you worthy of the glowing praise you seek — and is what your prospective customers are looking for.
Photo credit: Blue Planet Studio/iStock / Getty Images Plus via Getty Images