Word of Mouth

by Judy Baker on November 8, 2010

Word of MouthI recommend asking for testimonials.

I coach my clients in what to ask so they can hear for themselves just how valuable they are to their clients. Yet, when I suggest they ask for testimonials, 99% of the time the first reaction I get is “I know I should do it but…”. What comes easy to each of us may not be easy for others. Getting into the habit of getting acknowledgment for the impact we have on the lives and businesses of those with whom we work requires focus, willingness to receive praise, being vulnerable, and the possibility of being rejected.

I created a checklist of questions to ask to help frame the request for positive testimonials. The protocol is to connect with satisfied clients. Request 10 minutes of their time. Let them know you are planning to interview them and you are going to ask them to approximately 10 questions.

These questions are designed to help you and your clients quantify the results of working with you. Here are the questions:

Quantify Your Results

  1. What did it look like when we started working together?
  2. How does your business look now?
  3. What is the best thing you experienced working with me?
  4. What have your clients noticed that is different as we began working together?
  5. What were your profits before we started working together?
  6. What are your profits now?
  7. What was your turnover at the start of our contract (instead of turnover substitute the appropriate business challenge of that company or client)?
  8. What is turnover like now?
  9. Who do you know who might benefit from working with me?
  10. This one is most important — Would you be willing to contact them on my behalf?

You may also choose to take a status or temperature reading of their business as it exists today. Here are questions that can help you get a clear picture of their business:

  • What is your income now?
  • What is the average value of a client?
  • What is the average value of a transaction?
  • What is the lifetime value of a client?
  • If you broke it down, what are they worth to you:
  • Per week
  • Per month
  • Per year
  • How many active clients do you have now?
  • How many are inactive?
  • How many clients can you handle? per day? per week? per month?
  • Describe the gap to between what you have and what you can do.
  • Describe the gap between what you have now and what you want in your life and business?
  • What do you think is getting in the way of your having what you want?
  • What are you committed to doing or changing to get what you want?
  • By when?

The Power of Stories

Here is a better way to capture the value of your services through the eyes your clients. Ask them for stories that tell about changes you initiated for them. Document at least a three stories and be sure to include metrics (increases in profit, the savings of time, money, or the reduction of losses, staff, profit) that were used to document progress. And, if you can, record the testimonials in audio and or video format. Then post the clips on your website, on YouTube, your blog, Facebook, LinkedIn, so others can see and hear about you straight from the lips of those who you have helped.

Treasure those stories and incorporate them into your message. Leverage word of mouth stories. Use them  to your advantage and grow your business.

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