If you think word of mouth is good, try this…

Do I trust you enough to buy from you?

What is it about human nature that we tend to believe what someone else says about a product you are buying, but we don’t have the same trust about the person standing trying to serve you.

On the flip side, as a salesperson, how frustrating is it when you have a prospective customer in front of you, yet you get the feeling they do not fully believe you. You have answered all their questions, given them a red-hot price, and they still baulk at buying.

You feel frustrated and start channelling John McEnroe “you can not be serious” when they do not buy.

What’s missing?

Getting a handful of testimonials is the key. Third-party validation is the single most important strategy for converting an enquiry you receive through to a customer who buys from you.

There are 3½ reasons why testimonials work…

Testimonials are an arm’s length perspective from someone else’s point of view. We trust this source and it sits right alongside word-of-mouth from a friend (and we know how important word-of-mouth is for those of us with regionally based businesses.)

The role of a testimonial is to build trust. They say, ‘the eyes are the pathway to the soul’, and a photo of the person or a video provides that pathway (unless, of course, people are wearing sunglasses – which unfortunately some do!)

We know that 80% of buying decisions are based on emotion, whilst 20% of buying decisions are based on logic. We need both. A well-produced testimonial provides the emotional support to your logical sales conversation.

Should you use a written testimonial or is video better? It doesn’t really matter; what matters is you have something. If you do want to go a little deeper into the psychology, think about this: how often do you hear that the book was better than the movie? The thing is that more people watch movies than read good books. There is a reason that YouTube is the number 2 search engine.

The best time to ask for a testimonial is when you have delivered on your promise and the customer is over-the-moon with your product and you. Getting a testimonial is as simple as getting the feedback and then asking
“… thank you and would it be OK if I just jotted down what you said so I can use it as a testimonial?”

Testimonials are a great way to help prospective customers know that you are credible and trustworthy. It makes it easy for them to buy from you.

Thanks for reading,

Stuart “All you have to do is ask” Goodfellow

Your Questions Answered

Here are the answers to a few questions I have received. If you have a question, email me at [email protected] and get your question answered here.

I don’t want to be a product pusher
Hi Regional, I am planning out my marketing and have set products to sell, but it all comes across as me pushing my product. I have been told this approach doesn’t work and to bring in more of a personal style – but I don’t know how to do it. Help.
– Kelly

Hi Kelly, yes, wouldn’t life be simpler if customers just bought what they were told. 🙂

Remember this though, people who are redecorating don’t go to the homewares store to buy vases, cushions, a lounge, side tables, plants and picture frames. What they are really buying is the feeling they get when the lounge sits just so, the cushions, vases and plants are in the right spot, pictures go up on the wall and their house starts to feel like a home.

How does knowing this help you.

To get your personal approach across in your advertising, get your insights from your customers. Ask the next person who walks in your door about what they need, also ask them why they need it and how, having this problem, makes them feel. Listen carefully. Use their responses in your advertisements.

For example: Let’s say you own a carpet store. You customer may comment “I am so embarrassed about my carpet that I don’t want to invite anyone over to my place. I feel awful”. Your marketing could read “Are you embarrassed about having friends over because your carpet is tired?”

Ask the question and pull out some of the key ‘feeling’ words and emotions they have shared with you. This is great fodder for your marketing.

What is the best business benchmark data?
Hi Regional, We own a small food manufacturing business. Recent times have meant we have had to change our product range and how we sell it (contactless). It’s been challenging but we are getting through it. We have 18 staff in our team and we are all working hard, but there is not enough profit left. Even before COVID and the drought, there was not much left after all the bills were paid. What am I doing wrong?
– Amy

Hi Amy,

Having pulled yourself through recent times is a testament to your resilience. You couldn’t ask for more than that. For your contribution to the families of those on your team, you deserve a big pat on your back for a job well done. This alone is a great motivation to get through the tough times.

And, we still need to make sure you can keep some of the cash on the way through.

Success leaves clues.

Here’s the tip. Go through your monthly profit and loss statement for the last couple of years (or have your bookkeeper do it for you). Identify the 3 months where you made the most money. Then circle the best 3 months for highest gross profit. Check again and put a circle around where you have the lowest cost of goods in, lowest wages, lowest packaging, lowest electricity/gas/water. Again, focus on the best 3 months.

Pull together the data and you will see that you have, and can, make a profit based. This now becomes your personal benchmark. Now you know you can do it.

More customers needed
Hi Regional, I am in retail and things are getting back to normal now (actually it’s going berserk, but I feel guilty admitting it). Many of our old customers are returning but there is more room for new customers – how do I get the new ones to shop with me?
Thank you,
– Lisa

Hi Lisa – well done. You must have a strong following for them to come back in droves – nice work!

Here’s how to capitalise on what you do.

You only want the best customers, right? Leave the tyre kickers and price shoppers for your competitors.

All you have to do next is map out your ideal client and know why they shop with you.

Talk with your best customers to understand what their real issue was before they started to look for a solution. Then ask them why they were attracted to your business. Bring this together and develop your marketing campaign – not just one advertisement, but a series of ads in a theme pointing to their problem and how you solve it.

Aligning yourself to their problem first, before trying to sell them something, puts you in good stead. Support this with a compelling offer. Deliver your advertisement in a space where your A-type customers are and watch the new customers walk through your door.

If you think word of mouth is good, try this…