This is a rebroadcast of Episode 110.
Phenomenal reviews can convince you to go to an out-of-the-way restaurant. Written testimonials can do the same thing for your business. Consumers trust testimonials from other people more than they do your own marketing materials.
BNI members can use written testimonials in several ways.
- Place written testimonials on your website.
- If your business attracts walk-in clients, display your written testimonials in a binder in your reception area. If you’re a salesperson, take a binder with testimonials with you when you call on prospects.
- Include testimonials and endorsements with your business proposals. Match the testimonial to the service you’re providing or the industry your prospect is in.
Using testimonials builds your credibility. Start by getting members of your BNI chapter to write testimonials for you. One place people can write testimonials for you is on Yelp.com.
Brought to you by Networking Now.
Complete Transcription of BNI Podcast Episode 110 –
Hello everyone, and welcome back to The Official BNI Podcast brought to you by NetworkingNow.com, which is the leading site on the Net for networking downloadables.
I’m Priscilla Rice, and I’m coming to you from the beautiful Live Oak Recording Studio in Berkeley, California, and I am joined on the phone today by the founder and the chairman of BNI, Dr. Ivan Misner.
Hello, Ivan. How are you, and where are you?
Well, I’m in your neck of the woods this week, Priscilla. I’m in the Bay Area for a big conference. I’m doing the key note presentation at a Referral Institute conference this week up in San Francisco Bay area.
Well, welcome. I’m so glad you’re here.
This week I’m going to be talking about Asking for Written Testimonials. Endorsements and testimonials are very important in word-of-mouth. I was thinking about this last weekend when my wife and I were on a trip. And we wanted to go out to a really nice restaurant, but we weren’t really sure what was there. We weren’t familiar with the town we were in, and Beth perused the local magazine for restaurant reviews, and I logged on to the Internet to search for some top rated restaurants in the area. And we settled on a steak house that was more than a little bit out of the way and not real easy to get to. People might say, “Why? Why would you do that?” Well, it’s because the restaurant had phenomenal reviews both online and in the local magazine, and that was really enough to convince us that we should go there and try it out.
It’s like that, I think, in business. Before people come to you for a particular product or service, they often want the comfort of knowing what others have said about you. Testimonials carry a level of credibility because they come from someone who has direct experience with your product or your service. Consumers generally place more trust in a testimonial from another person than in the business’ own marketing message. That’s very true. They’re a little less likely to believe the marketing or sales than they would that testimonial or endorsement. They believe that the average person is unbiased, particularly if we’re talking to a friend.
And that’s why I think BNI works so well. It’s about people who know people, and they’re referring someone to someone they already know. So there’s a little bit of a relationship there. The person has nothing to gain from providing that endorsement.
And the business really stands nothing to gain or lose, although, frankly, you do have something to lose if you give a bad endorsement or bad testimonial. You lose a little bit of your reputation. So people that trust others will take that endorsement, and I think that’s what so powerful about BNI.
So I wanted to talk about what you could do as a BNI member, and I think that written testimonials can be used in many ways to enhance your credibility, set you above your competition, and be used very effectively in BNI. And I have three suggestions.
One is, place endorsements or testimonials on your business Web site. Some Web sites have them strategically sprinkled throughout so there’s at least one testimonial on each page. Others have a dedicated page where a browser can view several endorsements or testimonials at once. That’s the first one, place some on your Web site.
Second is, if your business attracts a lot of walk-in clients, it’s helpful to display your written testimonials. Have them in a plastic sheath protector in a three-ring binder. Label them “What Our Customers Are Saying About Us,” or “Client Testimonials.” Keep the binder on a table in your reception area where customers can browse through it while they’re waiting for your services.
That’s a good idea.
If you’re a sales person, you should have a binder that you take with you that has this content and information in it. It’s a good way to connect with your prospects and enhance your relationship with your current client.
The third thing is to use or include testimonials and endorsements with your business proposals. So if you have a proposal for business that you give out, a bid of any kind, include a handful of endorsements in a section of the bid or proposal, preferably one that’s specifically aimed at that individual. If you’re gathering many endorsements or testimonials and you can find some that somehow connect with this prospect, maybe it’s a similar industry or there was an endorsement or testimonial that addressed a similar issue, like quality of the product or customer service, and you do an endorsement, maybe that particular prospect is really concerned about your ability to deliver and provide good customer service, so you do some endorsements that apply to how good your customer service was. Make them specific to the prospect. That’s really, really powerful.
So if you make a standard practice to ask clients and contacts for testimonials, you’ll build your credibility and your business. What better place is there than BNI. Start, if you haven’t already, by getting members of BNI to do some of the endorsements for you, and use those in your proposals as you continue your business.
We’ve done that quite a bit in our chapter. Are you familiar with the Web site by the name of Yelp.com?
Yes, I am. I am familiar with them. One of the senior executives just happened to contact me recently, and we will be getting sort of the beginning phases of relationship with Yelp in recommending Yelp. They are in most major cities in the United States. They have not gone international yet, but they are in most major cities. Yeah, I am familiar with them. Good program.
Yeah, and that’s a perfect way to get testimonials up on your business and have them affect how many people contact you.
Well, I’m impressed with Yelp.com, and we may be doing some things with them as time goes on, and they certainly want to go international. We may be able to assist them with that. It’s ironic that you bring that up, because I literally just had a phone call with one of their executives just within the last few weeks.
That’s great. Well, that’s wonderful. Do you have anything else you’d like to share before we end this podcast?
No, just to reiterate the three points that I gave. Place your endorsements on your Web site; have a binder; and use those endorsements in any proposals you give. You do those three things, start with BNI members and have it grow from there, and it’s a great way to help your prospects know about all the other people and what they think about your products and services. And that’s, I think, very important.
Oh, you’re so welcome. Thank you, Dr. Misner.
I would just like to remind the listeners that this podcast has been brought to you by NetworkingNow.com, the leading site on the Net for networking downloadables. Thanks so much for listening. This is Priscilla Rice, and we hope you’ll join us next week for another exciting episode of The Official BNI Podcast.