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     Show Your Savvy Using Client Testimonials

A couple of weeks ago, I noticed that one of my gal pals had a cute new haircut. So of course, I asked her where she got it done. You see, I make purchase decisions by the testimonials of those I trust. Whenever I need a new service provider, whether it’s a trustworthy mechanic, an artistic interior designer, or a calming pediatrician, I ask my friends who they recommend. Their ENDORSEMENTS speak volumes.

Those in the service industry know how valuable great word-of-mouth is. But instead of waiting for others to talk about you, how about ASKING your clients for some business-inspiring testimonials that you can use today? You can take a few awesome client endorsements and use them in a variety of ways: post them on your website, use them in your brochure, or put them in your portfolio or media kit. It’s also reassuring to have something prepared when potential clients ask for REFERENCES. The important thing is to get the testimonials in writing, make sure they paint a great picture of you, and get them attributed to a real person. Follow these tips to business-boosting testimonials and watch your credibility soar.

It can be intimidating to ask for testimonials from your clients. But a satisfied client will nearly always be willing and happy to write one! The key is to ask in a TIMELY manner. For example, when you’re finishing a session and your clients says, “Wow, you do amazing work,” that is the perfect time to ask if they’d write you a short testimonial for use on your promotional materials. Another way to capture an endorsement is to ask if you can QUOTE someone when they rave about you. For example, after organizing one of my client’s home offices, he said, “Coming into this office now feels like we are stepping out of the dark and into the light.” It was a powerful statement and a perfect testimonial. So I immediately asked if I could quote him, wrote down the statement then and there, and went home and posted that testimonial on my website. Another way to gather references is to hand out client feedback forms after your sessions or workshops, and be sure to include a spot for comments, as well as a check box that says, “You may use my comments for marketing purposes.” You’ll usually get some great stuff there! And lastly, if you receive a thank you NOTE from a client, see if you can pull some of that wording into a testimonial.

Don’t be shy about asking for specific types of comments in your testimonials. Feel free to guide your clients a bit by encouraging them to share why they enjoyed working with you, the value they received from your services, how their lives have improved after your help, and why they would recommend you. That way, you don’t end up with a GENERIC and not-very-useful testimonial like, “Mary really did a great job.” You want specifics, something with POW to tell potential clients that you’re someone special -- full of unique ideas, tons of skill, and a kind heart — who delivers value for money spent. Note: Sometimes it’s helpful to e-mail these helpful writing hints to clients so they have them before they begin writing. And be sure to tell them they don’t have to write a book... just a few sentences will force them to get to the point and compose something powerful.

Nothing is more fishy than testimonials that don’t seem to be from “someone.” Ask if you can use your client’s name, city of residence, and/or business name. Of course, clients are embarrassed about using some services. For example, an extremely disorganized person might feel some shame about hiring a professional organizer to straighten out his life. In those cases, just use your client’s INITIALS and city of residence. It’s better than nothing. Whatever you do, make sure you have your clients’ permission to use their names. It’s also nice to have the clients represent the TARGET market you serve. For example, if you serve mainly corporate clients, be sure to include titles and company names of the clients served. That may impress prospects. Or if you aim to work in a certain part of town, be sure to include town names in your testimonials. Or if you want to work with families, see if you can work in details about the family in the quote, like “mother of five” or “stay-at-home dad.”

I encourage you to give testimonials a try. They are an amazing tool to show your EXPERTISE and bring in new clients without spending a cent! Be sure to let me know how it works and share any out-of-this-world ones with me.


Sara Pedersen is a professional organizer who enjoys helping clients organize, simplify, and create time to do the things they love. And her "Organize Today" newsletter is available directly through www.OnlineOrganizing.com. You may visit her website at www.time2organize.net.

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