In business today, referrals are more critical than ever before. As we’ve discussed in previous blogs many of our businesses have experience significant disruption in our sales process. In many respects, virtually any in-person networking, prospecting, presentations, and closings need to happen in a digital environment.

As a colleague of mine put it, using digital meeting rooms is like having several people in the room where only one person can speak at a time. That might work well for presentations and closings, but it can be a catastrophe for networking and prospecting. Therefore, how we network and prospect within our ideal client community has changed. Cold calling is making a comeback and social media connections are now made with more specific intentions to identify and connect with a prospect.

All of this increases the value and importance of obtaining referrals, and to obtain referrals we need to have a network of colleagues and customers that know, like, and trust us well enough to recommend us to our ideal clients within their networks.

The Value of the Testimonial
There’s a difference between testimonials and references. Someone that provides a reference for us may, or may not, be able to attest to the work we do. Their reference could very well be related to your character, work ethic, experience, or background. Therefore, references can come from clients and colleagues alike.
However, only a client can provide a testimonial regarding the work you do, product you sell, or service you provide. They need to have experienced it’s benefit and value in order to provide a testament of its potential value to others.

Both, testimonials, and references have their value, but testimonials trump references every time. Therefore, we need to be sure that we obtain as many testimonials as possible. Here are some key steps for securing testimonials from our past and current customers.

1. Request a testimonial at the best possible time.
Ask for your testimonial as soon after the customer experiences success with your product or service. Alternatively, consider requesting testimonials at typical review periods such as the end of the month, quarter, or year. This works well for past customers or clients that may not be currently active and allows you the opportunity to re-connect and potentially re-engage them for additional purchases.

2. Provide delivery options.
Give your customers the option to provide written, recorded or video testimonials. With so much of this being driven by the digital environment the ability to get recorded or video testimonials, that you can facilitate, may be easier than asking them to take the time to write something.

3. Provide a list of questions that generate testimonial quotes.
Having the customer answer questions about their experience can help frame their testimonial in a way that simplifies the ability to tell the story. Questions that explain their experience in the form a story will always work best. And they work great whether your obtaining a written, recorded, or video testimonial. Here are few sample questions:

• When you purchased our product/service, what problem were you trying to solve?
• Why did you choose to work with me or my company?
• What difference did this make for your company or personal life?
• What was the most valuable aspect of the product or service you purchased?

4. Ask if they would be willing to refer you or your company to a colleague.
This is the perfect time to determine if they would be a good referral source. If they answer this question in the affirmative it allows you the natural opportunity to follow up, thank them for answering the questions, affirm their willingness to have you use their answers, and obtain a specific referral.

Utilizing these 4 simple tips will help you obtain the valuable testimonials necessary to assist in your new networking and prospecting efforts. The most important parts of this process are 1.) Start it and continue it and 2.) Use the results wherever possible in your marketing and business development efforts.

To learn more or request a free Strategic Business Assessment contact me at https://strategicorientation.com/contact/ and for more key tips on business success check out my other blogs at https://www.StrategicOrientation.com/Blog and connect with me on Linked In.

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