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Marketing / Business relationships

Fight your fear of asking for testimonials. They transform your business.

Testimonials are astonishingly powerful for your business; they’re the fastest way to convert lookers into buyers. So why do we avoid asking for testinmonials?

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We all know how astonishingly powerful glowing testimonials are for your business. They are the fastest way known in marketing to obliterate objections and convert lookers into buyers throwing fistfuls of dollars (hopefully not the coin version because that would just hurt).

However, when I talk with clients about asking for testimonials for their business, they all say the same thing. “Yeah. I really should get around to asking my clients for testimonials but … I am too busy; I need to defrost my mother-in-law’s freezer; I have been busy knitting woollen socks for homeless mice in Argentina.”

Asking for testimonials is the equivalent of ordering kale smoothies. Oh so good for us, yet most people struggle with voluntarily placing the order, let alone drinking them.

Why is that?

When you ask for a testimonial, you instantly put yourself back in time to receiving your first report cards at school.

"Asking for testimonials is like ordering kale smoothies. We know they’re good for us, but it’s a struggle to drink one."

Your body remembers swinging on your wooden chair in the back row of the classroom, trying to look cool while your stomach is filled with a Zumba Class of butterflies, waiting for the teacher to hand out your report card.

You sneak a peek at your report card, only to feel an icy Tsunami of shame and disappointment deluge through your veins.

Even if you had straight A’s, you still managed to find that one line of faint damning praise from the teacher that you thought liked you, and that was enough to spiral yourself into a round of self-flagellation.

Fear of feedback

Your body remembers that first horrible experience of feedback and the burn is etched into your memory.

This association of fear and feedback grows year after year, and is amplified into abject horror whenever someone in authority says, “I’d like a word with you,” or “Would you mind if I gave you some feedback?”

As an adult who survived school and a j-o-b, you have been exquisitely conditioned to fear feedback.

When you ask for a testimonial, you open the door to the possibility of the customer telling you something you may not want  to hear. This triggers the fear and procrastination response.

You can try telling yourself that you are only choosing clients you know really love your work, but your conditioned fear lurks like used car salesman during a quiet sales month.

Little wonder asking for testimonials then disappears off most business owners To-Do lists and onto their To-Don’t list?

How can you conquer your fear of asking for testimonials?

If you want to blast through the mound of negative conditioning and ask for testimonials for your business, get yourself out of your way and depersonalise the experience.

Automate the testimonial gathering process. Remove yourself as a block to your business by using autoresponder emails and templated requests. This means you can relax while technology does its thing without your intervention, and then bask in the glory of many happy client testimonials.

If you don’t want to head down the automation route, delegate the request process to one employee in your business or your virtual assistant, and make it a required step of closing every project or job.

While we have blocks on getting feedback about ourselves, getting feedback about others is closer to listening to gossip than work, so others have no hassles with asking for feedback on your behalf.

If you have no-one to delegate testimonial gathering to, then create a hybrid process to work around your mental blocks.

Draft a testimonial request template and save it in your Gmail or Outlook.  Add a checkbox to your client project checklist (you do have one of those don’t you?) that includes the step “send testimonial request email”.  Before you close any project file, follow your checklist and send the templated email. By reducing the need to draft or think, you reduce your mental opposition to the process.

Or, rip off the Band-Aid!

If all else fails with your testimonial process, do a testimonial gathering blitz a few times a year using your email template.  Think of it as your quarterly act of courage for your business, and send a stack of 20 testimonial requests out at once, so you concentrate the pain into one Band-Aid-like blip.

While most people never quite get over their early experiences with feedback, using these strategies you can still find ways to ask for testimonials and then experience the bliss of marketing nirvana.

What’s holding you back from getting client testimonials?

Ingrid Moyle

from Heart Harmony Communications is a psychology-based copywriter and web designer who works with small business owners to help them convert lookers into buyers online. When not hardwired to her computer, she quests for the perfect coffee while playing Pokémon Go (Yes, it is still a thing).

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