She was probably 16 at the time. She was a part-time sales associate who worked at Lady Footlocker and I was her manager. We were standing on the sales floor beside each other when a woman walked into the store. This woman proceeded to look around and as she walked up to one of the displays, Nikki turned to me and said with a smirk on her face, “What are you waiting for, a green light?”
Success leaves clues and if you’re already thinking about the type of year you’d like to have next year, this list is the perfect way to start. After working with hundreds of business owners over the past decade, I’ve noticed some habits, patterns and approaches that can help you to fast track the success you are looking for in business.
There are times when something that you do or say resonates with another person in a much more significant way than you realize.
As the year comes to a close and you begin thinking about next year, there is a huge opportunity for you to press pause, and do some serious reflection and inspection of your business.
Business has not been normal the last two years. For some, it’s been busier than ever, and for others, it’s been dismal. Regardless of what side of the spectrum you’re on, avoiding your numbers is bad for business.
It started with a bunny. Eddy jumped, (which is completely out of the norm for him), it startled Sunshine, and she yelped, then yelped again. And I knew she was headed for her crate. She had hurt something in her back.
Back issues are common to dachshunds, and this is not the first time this has happened. It’s the second time I’ve spent half a day in an emergency room with her, and it’s the second time she’s been prescribed pain meds and extended crate rest.
How many times have you launched something, only to have little to no success with it? All too often, we put the cart before the horse and we find ourselves feeling frustrated, disappointed, and angry about the way our launch went.
So, what should you do before you launch?
Testimonials, reviews, and recommendations are about more than making you feel valued and appreciated, they are likely playing a key role in the leads you generate, and that’s why they are so powerful and important to your business. While there is nothing better than reading or hearing praise from a happy client, it’s the stranger or the warm lead who is reading what another person wrote that is being influenced by what is said.
The benefits of testimonials, reviews and recommendations are HUGE—especially considering how much research browsers do online before they make buying decisions. The new verbiage for Testimonial is really “social proof” and has a huge impact on your business reputation.
A good testimonial, review or recommendation provides a potential new client with legitimate proof from a previous buyer on the quality of the product or service you provide. Many people think that a testimonial or endorsement from a big celebrity is the way to go, I disagree with that way of thinking. I disagree because I believe people are looking to see what other people like them have experienced. They want to be able to relate to the people who have experienced your business in order to validate the testimonial.
The web contains a wealth of information about your business and you need to do your due diligence to ensure that you’ve captured the best things that are being said about you.
With this in mind, here are seven simple tips for maximizing testimonials, reviews and recommendations in your business:
1. Do Fantastic Work
When you do a great job and deliver value to your clients, they are happy to endorse your work. You always want to deliver more than your buyer expects so they feel great about the decision to buy from you. When you incorporate a little extra, your client will be wowed and happy with the experience they had working with you and will be more likely to want to share it with others.
2. Have Perfect Timing
You want to ask for a testimonial, review or recommendation at the right time. Practice listening for signs that your customer really loves what you have done for them and, when you hear them say how much you have helped them, step up and ask them if they’d feel comfortable writing what they just said as an endorsement of your business.
3. Always Practice Sincerity
Be sincere when you ask. Let the client know that you are happy that they have had positive results working with you and let them know that what they have to say could be helpful to other people considering working with you.
Be authentic, and avoid guilt-ridden desperate pitches like “my business is built on referrals” which implies the client is responsible for the growth of your business. When you say things like that, it can feel pushy and be perceived as insincere because isn’t almost everyone’s business based on word of mouth to some degree?
4. Write One For Someone Else
You attract what you give. In all seriousness, if you have never taken time to write a quality testimonial, review or recommendation for someone else, why do you think someone should do it for you?
Make a list of 3-5 service providers you have worked with who have done a good job and write them a testimonial. Your endorsement will make them feel great and you will have engaged in the law of reciprocity. If you aren’t sure where to do this, start by using Linkedin recommendations or Google reviews to start.
5. Pay Attention and Thank People Regularly
This might sound funny but, pay attention to your email, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Linkedin comments. People are saying great things to you and about you all the time—the question is are you paying attention?
Pay attention and acknowledge people publicly when they sing your praises. This act of graciousness will encourage other people to respond in kind because they know you are the type of person who truly appreciates it. You always have an audience, start paying attention to what people are saying and how you respond.
6. Create Some Link Love
When you post a testimonial on your website you should always link to the other person’s website. This type of linking allows your reader to easily click through and learn a bit about the other person, creating a win/win situation.
Not only does the link help the other person’s SEO (Search Engine Optimization) it also adds credibility and legitimacy to the testimonial. It provides proof that the person really exists.
7. Leverage What They Say on Social Media
When someone writes a public testimonial, review or recommendation, you can use this as part of your marketing. You can copy what they have said and create a library of love that others can see, and that you can refer back to anytime you’re questioning the value you provide to others.
Here are three ways you can make your next testimonial great:
- Focus on what you learned or gained, rather than what the other person taught or gave.
- Share the outcome or results you gained from the product or service.
- Make it sincere and authentic.
While testimonials, reviews and recommendations are super important, they become even more valuable when you take the time to carefully describe why this product or service was good. Spend a little extra time thinking about how you craft your words so the person reading what you wrote really understands the experience you had.
As a consumer, I’m sure you are used to reading testimonials, reviews and endorsements yourself. Pay attention to what influences you, and then, ask yourself, are you receiving or providing service worthy of that type of feedback? If the answer is yes—write a review and or confidently go out and ask for one.
Make it a habit to do this regularly and before long, you’ll be glad you did.