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BLOGTestimonials and References

by Randall CraigFiled in: Blog, Business Development, Make It Happen Tipsheet, Sales, TrustTagged as: , , ,

When you make a purchase decision, what is the one thing, more than anything else, that gives you confidence that the other party can (and will) do what they promise? Yes, statements of work, contracts, and case studies all play a role.  But what about references and testimonials?

References are those conversations that happen just prior to contract signature.  They revolve around two key concepts: verification of expertise, and verification of trustworthiness.

Testimonials, on the other hand, are typically one-or-two paragraph (or video) endorsements of general capability.  They play an important role in the much earlier qualification process. Testimonials have value – or they don’t – depending on how they are set up.  In the mind of the buyer, the testimonial’s value is dependent on two things:

1) Relevance:  The closer the testimonial is to the buyer’s requirements, the higher its value.  For example, a testimonial extolling the virtues of the company’s printing services would have zero value to a buyer of web development services.  Implication:  If your organization has several business lines, seek testimonials for each.

2) Believability:  Sadly, many testimonials seem almost made up, or written by shills.  Yet the power of the testimonial is a function of its credibility – something that is easily fixed.  Even something as simple as how a testimonial is “signed” plays an important role. Consider the following examples of how one is signed:

  • Anonymous [eg not signed]
  • CEO
  • CEO of a digital consulting firm
  • Randall, CEO of a digital consulting firm
  • Randall Craig, CEO of a digital consulting firm
  • Randall Craig, CEO of Pinetree Advisors, a digital consulting firm
  • Randall Craig, CEO of Pinetree Advisors, a digital consulting firm, with picture
  • Randall Craig, CEO of Pinetree Advisors, a digital consulting firm, with video
  • Randall Craig, CEO of Pinetree Advisors, a digital consulting firm, with video, [Linked to LinkedIn profile]

Each testimonial sits somewhere on a hierarchy of value: the more real it appears to be, the higher its value.

THIS WEEK’S ACTION PLAN

Clearly, an anonymous quote has vastly less power than a fully attributed quote with a video.  This week, review how you use testimonials: how might you add ones that are more relevant – and for those that you already have, how might you make them more believable?

Does this topic resonate? Reach out to Randall: he can present it to your group.  (More presentation topics)
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@RandallCraig (Follow me for daily insights)
www.RandallCraig.com: Professional credentials site.

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