You can talk all day about how great your company is. You can tell people that you have great products, that your services are unparalleled and that you have the best customer service on the planet, and it will be to no avail. All you’ll get is a big yawn. The simple reason is that everybody says that about their own companies. In the words of T.V.’s Dr. House, “everybody lies.” Especially when it comes to their products and performances and especially their customer service. Every company I’ve talked to over the years has claimed to have great customer service. Even the ones who have terrible customer service. No company representative will ever tell you anything different. And when cornered about it, they’ll either say, “we’re no worse than anyone else”, or “oh that’s just marketing”.
The problem with this is that everybody looks the same to the customers. How many times have you heard customers say ,”Look you all have good quality and delivery so if you’re all the same then all we have to go on is price. Which means we’re just going to go with the company that has the cheapest price.”
But there is someone who is a credible witness to your superb services and outstanding products, someone who can positively influence the sale of your products. Someone who your potential customers will definitely believe. And those credible witnesses are of course your happy and delighted current customers.
Getting your customers to brag about your company and your services is the best form of advertising that there is. And getting your customers to do this is much easier than you think…if you go about it the right way
Here are some guidelines to getting your customers to “sell” your company to other companies.
Choose the right customers
- People who have known you for years
- People you just did something great for and they are grateful
- People who like working with you
- People who like working with a specific member of your team
What do they like about our products and services?
- What features do they like?
- What is it about your service that they like?
- What is it about your technology that they like?
- What do they like about doing business with you?
Choose people who are willing and FREE do give you a testimonial
- Large companies will not do it, don’t even bother … too many lawyers.
- Smaller companies will be happy to, it’s good publicity for them as well. They can piggy- back off of your advertising. For example design service bureaus, small assembly companies and small OEMs
The best times to ask for a testimonial or reference
- After you have done something they are happy about
- When you did them a solid favor
- An anniversary or milestone of working together
The best time to ask for a success story is once you have successfully completed an important project together.
How to ask for the testimonial or success story?
- The best way is in person
- But you can also send email requests.
The best approach is to say we are working on new marketing materials and would need their help in saying something positive about you.
Be specific. Tell them exactly what you want from them
- Whether it be a testimonial/ success story or reference
- How long it should be
- And where it will be used
- Be clear that you will use their name, title, and company. This is a must; an anonymous testimonial is worthless!
Sometimes they will ask you to write it for them!
- Yes, this is the best, do it and do it fast
- If they like what you write, they will sign it
- If they don’t, they will adjust it.
The partner ad
Pay for and publish an ad that highlights the customer and how your product helps her to achieve her company’s goals.
- This is the most valuable of all testimonials
- And it’s a WIN /WIN because it is actually a free ad for them
- But bragging about you!
If another customer complains that you are favoring the customer in the ad, invite them to be in the next ad. The more of these the better.
The important thing is to get out there and get your customers selling for you. Your customers will believe your other customers more than they believe you! It’s a good thing.
One more thing. Reciprocate! Yes, offer your customers the same courtesy. Brag on them as well. Offer to write a testimonial for them. I know that you are the vendor and not the customer but people judge companies by the way they treat their vendor as much as the way they treat their customer. And the best thing about working with your customers on either of you promoting the other is that it creates an almost unbreakable partnership between the two of you to the point that you’ll have each other’s back. You’ll both be looking for opportunities for one another, you’ll both be in a frame of mind to be helping each other to grow. Imagine having this kind of relationship with all of your customers…wouldn’t that be fantastic? It’s only common sense.