12 ways to redefine the testimonial

Let’s start with two facts:

1. The word “testimonial” is defined as “writing testifying to one’s qualification or character.”

2. The word “testimonial” is derived from the 1432 French term testimonie, which means “evidence, statement of a witness.”

So, does a testimonial for your business HAVE to be a piece of letterhead from one of your customers?

Au contraire, Mon Fraire!

Your job is to SHOW and PROVE, not TELL and SELL.

Here’s a list of twelve ways to redefine the testimonial:

1. Video. Capture your customer on tape. Have him show (and tell) the camera about his experience working with you. Get those videos on your website! Get those videos on YouTube! Who have you interviewed lately?

2. Letter. Traditional, yet still effective. Be sure to get the note written on your customer’s letterhead. Consider scanning those letters and making them available as a PDF ebook on your website. Are your testimonials burning a hole in your drawer or being posted online?

3. Email. Encourage your customer to email his colleagues who work in similar positions. Great for regional or area directors, of which there are dozens around the country. Do you have a “Send this site to a friend!” box on your homepage?

4. Comments. Every time you receive a comment on your blog post or website, that’s a testimonial. To your page, to your writing, to your company, to your products and to your value. Be sure your feedback box is easy, accessible and quick.
Wait, you ARE blogging, aren’t you?

5. In person. Invite a potential customer to “see you in action.” When she sees the reaction of the existing customers you’re working with, it will offer sufficient proof that you do, in fact, rock so hard. Another variation is to invite a potential customer and an existing customer to lunch with you. Are you eating alone?

6. Demo Video. Similar to the above example, but on video. Professional speakers, actors, comedians and the like call it a demo video. But just because you’re not a speaker doesn’t mean you can’t have one too! Get a demo. A (personal) demo! Be sure to have audience (aka, customer) reactions too. Do you have a demo?

7. Their Article. Whether a publication quotes you or features you, someone is supporting you with THEIR publication, which testifies to your character and value. Post these online, include them in your press kit or media room and send them out as direct marketing pieces. When was the last time the media pitched YOU?

8. Your Article. Writing is a testimonial because a third party, i.e., a newspaper, values your expertise enough to run an article you write in their publication. Post these online, include them in your press kit or media room and send them out as direct marketing pieces. What did you write today?

9. Ping. Any time someone’s blog, website, message board or publicized message on the Internet reference you and/or your site, you’ve just been pinged, aka, given a testimonial. NOTE: be sure to use Google Alerts to track these! Are you keeping a Word of Mouth Log?

10. Reaction. If you’re giving a speech or working in public, you know you’re good when the staff of the conference center (or other uninvited guests) stop to watch. That’s called social proof. And it’s a great testimonial to your abilities. Are people overhearing you do what you do?

11. Endorsement. If someone sees another person (hopefully famous) using your product, they’ll think, “If it’s good enough for Ben Afleck, it’s good enough for me!” What well known, high-profile person could you give your product to for free?

12. Fans. Next time you have a line of people waiting to get into your club, restaurant, or just to see you, congrats! It’s a perfect way to prove to surrounding customers that you’re in high demand. What have you done in the last week to enhance your celebrity status?

REMEMBER: testimonials qualify your character. They’re among the greatest sales and marketing tools in the world.

It’s time to start thinking outside of the letterhead.

How do you redefine the testimonial?

Share your best technique here!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag

Are you the luckiest person you know?

Watch Scott’s interview on 20/20!

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Author. Speaker. Strategist. Songwriter. Filmmaker. Inventor. Gameshow Host. World Record Holder. I also wear a nametag 24-7. Even to bed.
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