Most of us wait until a job is completed to ask for testimonials.
Admittedly that's a good time, but it's also much harder to get a testimonial from a client at that stage. Then we have to get all needy when asking for the testimonial.
There are three points when you can get testimonials, and get them long before the client has finished with your product or service? Where are these points located? Find out in this episode and get to the points sooner than later.
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As spring arrives in British Columbia and Alaska, something amazing happens.
The grizzly bear comes out of its hibernation. All through the winter it has been high up in the mountains where there's lots of snow, and it's relatively easy to hibernate in the snow. Now it's time to feed, but there's no food up here so it has to make its way down to the coast. It's all about timing.
It's all about planning. It has to get there just in time for the salmon run.
It might seem to us that the bear just shows up, but usually a mother bear will have some cubs with her as she makes her way down the mountain, so it's not just a matter of showing up but also making sure that the cubs make it, because the cub mortality rate is very high.
Over half of the cubs die every year. The bear has to wake up from its hibernation, makes its way down the mountain, make sure the cubs are all fine, or at least as fine as they could be, and then get in position for the salmon run which will happen at a fixed time, provided the rains come.
All of this requires an enormous amount of time and anticipation, and we have to do exactly the same thing. We have to act like bears when we want to get our testimonials, because if we don't anticipate and we don't plan, then nothing happens.
It's all about timing. It's all about being there at the right time, at the right moment. Or is it?
Most of us think that testimonials are only available for us once the project is complete. It doesn't have to be like that. The project can be very incomplete before you starting to get testimonials.
Let's just explore these elements of where you can get testimonials
- The first point of getting a testimonial, or getting an agreement for a testimonial, is before the project even begins.
- The second point is the in-progress testimonial.
- Finally, you can get a testimonial right on the tail end of the project.
In all three instances, the project hasn't been completed and you're getting a testimonial, or at least an agreement to a testimonial. Let's explore all three of them one by one.
In one of my first jobs as a consultant I didn't have any testimonials
So I had to get the testimonial in advance, or at least get the agreement for the testimonial. Here's what I did. When we sat down to work out the project, we worked out the scope of the project.
And then at the tail end of the discussion I turned to the person and said, “If this project works out exactly as you planned, as we planned, can I get a really good testimonial?” Of course the client is anticipating the fact that the job will be done really well, and so they will give you a really good testimonial.
Just by asking this little question at the starting point, it makes a huge difference to how you get the testimonial at the end. When someone has already agreed to something, there is more of a likelihood of them giving a testimonial.
When they have not agreed to something, and at the end you say, “Can I have a testimonial?” the chances are diminished. The first instance is always to look at where can I get an agreement. At first it seems like this is only consulting-based, but it works just as well if you're doing a workshop, just as well if you're writing a book.
If you're writing a book
Say for instance you're writing a book and you have graphs in the book. The client or the prospect client can look at those graphs and agree to a testimonial in advance. Same things applies to workshops. What you're really doing is setting the whole benchmark.
You're getting the client ready and prepared. Not every client is ready when you just finished the project, but if you've put it in right at the start as part of the agreement, the chances are much higher. You're like that bear sitting there not on some river any place on the planet, but specifically in British Columbia.
You're waiting for the salmon, so you're setting it up in advance. You're setting up your position in advance. This is a very critical step, especially when you're starting out and you don't have much of a reputation.
This takes us to the second point, which is the in-progress testimonial.
Often when I'm writing a book or creating a course, I don't have testimonials for the product in advance. Now, I still have to write the sales letter. I still have to send out some kind of testimonials. What do you do? You have the in-progress testimonial. In this case, the customer doesn't look at the complete picture but looks at the part of the picture.
Let's take an example of the book that I wrote—Dartboard Pricing. It consists of three different sections. Say I finished the section on sequential pricing, which shows you how prices go up and they go down. The customer doesn't really need to read the entire book.
They could just read about sequential pricing, and then they could give you a testimonial that went into a lot of detail about sequential pricing.
Now surprisingly, this kind of testimonial is often better than a testimonial that just talks about the entire project.
This is the kind of testimonial that focuses on one aspect, and it gets the prospective reader or the prospective client to then get excited or interested in that one aspect. Instead of the entire project, now you're starting to get interested in just how does this sequential pricing work. How does it relate to Karate?
Why do prices go up and come down, and do we do that for all our products, all our services, all of our training? How do you use all the three different aspects of sequential pricing simultaneously? What is a doorway?
Even right now, you're getting interested because what we're covering are elements of that section of sequential pricing.
It's often easier for a customer to tackle a small section and talk about why that section works than the complete experience. By the time you're finished with the complete experience it almost becomes abstract in a way. There's so much stuff to consider, so much stuff to implement. When you deal with a smaller sequence, you're able to explain that in greater detail.
This is the in-progress kind of testimonial that you can get.
A customer doesn't need to go through a whole year of your consulting practice. They don't have to go through your entire book and they don't have to go through the entire course.
In fact, when you come to a Psychotactics workshop you will see that on day one there are some people who are giving a testimonial, on day two another batch, and on day three a third batch.
Now, not only is this smart in terms of planning, because you can’t do all of them back to back.
It's too tiring for you in the first instance. More importantly, you can get the customers to talk about that specific moment, that specific section, that specific segment. You can do this for a book or a workshop or consulting.
This is the second type of testimonial, which is the in-progress testimonial.
Notice we haven't reached the end of the course. We haven't reached the end of the book. We haven't reached the end of the consulting program, and yet, you're getting testimonials that are better in some respects than the testimonials you get right at the end.
The in-progress testimonial is very powerful, so pay attention to it and use it.
This takes us to the third part, which is how to get a testimonial right at the end of a project, not after the project, but right at the end.
How do you get a testimonial right at the end of the project?
In every Psychotactics course I have an entire week where the customers will give feedback, and this is brutal feedback, believe me. They also give a testimonial. They're finished with their feedback. They've got it out of their system and now they move to giving the testimonial. This is part of the assignment. We're not done.
Now the mistake that you can make, and I've made this mistake, is to treat it as part of the whole system. Supposing this is a 12-week course and you say in week number 12 you're going to give your feedback and testimonial. Obviously that won't go down too well. If it's a 12-week course, people expect 12 weeks of instructions and then the 13th week to be one of testimonial or whatever you want them to do.
We do this in our eBooks as well
We put in a little email link in the last chapter and people write to us from the chapter. For example: When the pricing book was launched, few days later customers started writing in.
Now be aware that we send the email anyway
If your customers are part of a list and you have them on the list, then you should send them an auto-responder that asks them specifically for their testimonial. In effect, we have four spots where we can ask them for the testimonial, but what are the three main spots that we covered today?
Let's just summarise
- The first instance where you can bring up the testimonial is at the starting point when you're sitting down with the client, when they're buying into your consulting or your training, and you can ask them whether they would give a testimonial at the end. This agreement makes a big difference.
- The second point is the in-progress testimonial, which I think is the most powerful of all, because it focuses on a specific bit.
- Finally, we have the testimonial you get at the end, not after, but at the end, where you tag on a little assignment that the customer can do or should do as part of their whole exercise. Most customers agree to this. There's no problem getting this. It's the waiting after the project that's a problem.
Yes, you can send an email or you can request for a testimonial after the project is over, but that’s the harder testimonial to get. That's the kind of testimonial that most of us try for. You're like a bear sitting and waiting for the salmon after the season is over. You want to be there getting those salmon, those testimonials, as they leap up through that salmon run, not after.
Now let's say you have a product and you already have a few testimonials.
Should you go through this exercise every time with all your customers? The answer is yes.
There are two reasons why
1) The first is, a customer is explaining their mindset in the testimonial, so if the testimonial is done right, you will get an insight into your product, a completely different insight from all of those other customers. This is very powerful for you.
It's very enabling but it also shows you what customers are looking for and what they're not looking for, because then you can go and fix it. All of our products, all of our services, they're all versions, at least at Psychotactics.
When you go to the next workshop, when you go to do the next course, when you read the next version of the book, it's always better, and it's because of these testimonials. It's because of the feedback that we get.
That's the first thing, that it enables you to look into the customer's mind from a completely different perspective.
2) The second thing is that when a customer goes through a good experience they actually want to say thank you, and they want to say thank you in a meaningful way. The testimonial is a meaningful way. It is their way of saying thank you for all the trouble you've taken. The testimonial is a way of saying thank you. It also ratifies that they have made a good decision by investing in you. You definitely want to have that testimonial in even if you've got a million other testimonials.
Testimonials can be organised and planned for—and should be.
Make sure you don’t miss out on your “salmon” because you didn’t plan just right.
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