How to Toot Your Own Horn

By Ron Rosenberg

a pretty little girl with a black jacket plays the trumpetWhenever people become inter­ested in your products or services, they naturally start asking them­selves questions:

“Are these guys for real?”

“Can I trust what they’re saying?”

“Will they work for me?”

You can write chapter and verse, include pictures, and record videos. But even the most trusting soul will recognize that you have a vested in­terest in any claims you make about what you’re selling.

That’s why it’s generally better to let someone else do the talking for you, and testimonials are the best way to do that.

In this article, we’re going to talk about five specific strategies to help you get the best testimonials.

So let’s start with the boldest strategy of the lot...

Write Them Yourself

Whenever I share this approach with audiences at my live programs or on our Outrageous Marketing webinars, I get reactions ranging from raised eyebrows to audible gasps.

That’s because people wrongly assume that I’m talking about fabricating testimonials out of thin air–inventing both the content and the person who supposedly wrote the testimonial.

Of course this isn’t at all what I’m recommending because doing so would be illegal, immoral, and unethical.

The problem, of course, is that most of your customers couldn’t write an effective testimonial to save their lives. And that’s okay–it’s not their job to help you market your business–it’s yours. But with a little help from you, their feedback can be turned into a truly great testimonial.

One of our members showed us a marketing piece that included a testimonial from one of their clients. As I was reviewing it, I noticed that the testimonial that was both compelling and believable. Our member explained that they had taken the comments from one of their clients, summarized the highlights in the testimonial, and secured the client’s permission to use it.

Well done!

How About a Contest?

Another way to get great testi­monials is just another flavor of our “ethical bribe” strategy–offering something of value to the customer in exchange for their input–with a twist: the whole campaign is structured as a contest with several levels of prizes, and a deadline, of course.

An approach like this lends a touch of excitement and compe­tition. You certainly won’t hear from everybody, but you will get responses from some people, and a few of the testimonials may be good enough to use, or at least to “mas­sage” and use with the person’s approval.

“Borrowed” Testimonials

This is all well and good, but what do you do when you’re trying to get testimonials for a product or service that’s still “in develop­ment?”

Good question, and one that comes up with surprising frequen­cy. It’s definitely a challenge to get people to say good things about something they haven’t seen.

Clearly, getting a prototype or sample into their hands is an obvi­ous approach, but in the absence of even that option, you can “borrow” testimonials from one part of your business and apply them elsewhere.

Let me explain...

Suppose you’re providing a business-to-business service of some kind. It’s a new service you’ve never offered before.

Since no one has experienced it personally yet, it’s not possible for them to comment on it.

But it is possible for them to comment on you. They could provide testimonials about your ex­perience, your expertise, and your reliability.

They could speak about the measurable value they’ve gotten from you in the past, the length of time they’ve been working with you so far, and their commitment to continue using your services into the future.

All of this lends credibility to any future services you might offer without specifically talking about something they haven’t personally experienced.

You Ought to Be in Pictures!

One of the easiest ways to get great testimonials is to always keep a video camera with you so that you can use it on a moment’s notice to get great testimonials from your customers, clients, and members.

I can’t tell you how many times, after doing a live program, people have come up to me at the front of the room and said the most won­derful things about my presenta­tion.

And every one of those times, I said to myself, “Boy, wouldn’t it be great if I had a camera right now so I could record this?”

Well now I do, and it’s about the size of a phone, shoots in 1080p HD quality, and has a microphone jack to get great audio input.

Now I can get testimonials at the best possible moment: when people are truly excited about what they’ve just experienced.

Find the “Sweet Spot”

Speaking of timing, when asking for testimonials–as in most areas of business and life–there is a “right time” and a “wrong time.”

Your objective should always be to find the “sweet spot,” the exact moment when your customers, clients, and members are in their most favorable mood about what they’re getting from you. They’ll be more likely to respond to your request and say something truly memorable about the experience.

So there you have it: five specific strategies for getting great testimo­nials. I can’t wait to see what you come up with!