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9 Strategies to Get Testimonials

Business Development Comments Off

There’s more to obtaining testimonials than just asking your customers for their comments and feedback. If you want powerful testimonials that catch your prospects attention and build a relationship of trust, you should consider the strategies below:

Try to get a testimonial from your customer ASAP. This could be the day you make the sale or within the first week after you make the sale. Your customer will be at their most motivated to write you a glowing testimonial during this time period. Don’t wait until the honeymoon is over. Consider having them write the testimonial before they leave your office or store.

Always ask your customers to include your USP in the testimonial. For instance, if your USP (unique selling proposition) includes great customer service, same day installation, and a money-back guarantee, then ask your customer to attest to those qualities.

Don’t ask for customer testimonials in survey requests. Many businesses make the mistake of sending out customer surveys to get feedback from their customers, in addition to testimonials. Your customer needs to have the freedom to stay anonymous and say negative things in your survey, which is the opposite of what you’re looking for in testimonials.

Ask your customers to be specific in their testimonials. For instance, if you delivered your product the same day your customer purchased it, tell your customer to include the time that it arrived. If you delivered some kind of outrageous act of customer service have them write specifically about what you did and how it helped your customer.

Ask your customer to talk about the problems they were having prior to receiving the benefits of your product or service. Most likely, the reader will have had the same or similar problems and will empathize. This will make your prospect more interested in receiving the benefits of your product or service.

Have your customer state their credentials. This will make their testimonial even more persuasive because their comments will be perceived to come from a credible source. People tend to believe people in positions of perceived authority.

Always try to get a picture with them using your product or service. As a matter of fact, try to take the picture yourself so that you know you’ll get a good one. Take several and make sure they are showing the benefits of the product or service. Pictures double the effectiveness of your testimonial and bring the testimonials to life.

Make sure you get permission from your customers to use their testimonials in your advertising. Thank them profusely and let them know that it is testimonials like theirs that help your business grow.

Ask them if you can their name as well as the town (suburb) they live in. Addresses, even if it’s just a city name, increase the believability of the testimonial. It demonstrates that they are real people who live in the same community as your prospects.

And if your customer procrastinates to send in their testimonial, call them up and mention that whilst you know they are very busy, you value them as clients and their testimonial is important to you.

Suggest that to save them time and hassle, you will draft a testimonial for them and they can make any editing changes they want. Then send it back. Of course, you’ll want to send a self-addressed envelope. You get the perfect testimonial and they don’t have to do any work.

How to Retain and Nurture Clients

Business Development Comments Off

Retention and nurturing strategies are simple, fun, and low cost. Yet so many businesses fail at nurturing that it makes nurturing such an easy process and massive point of distinction for those businesses that do!

Here are some retention and nurturing strategies to implement immediately:

Link clients and prospects into a regular communication cycle. Regular communication is paramount to any retention and nurturing system. It’s impossible to build a relationship if you do not regularly and predictably communicate. Many businesses ‘dig up’ their databases to use as promotions. This is destructive. You are asking without first giving. Clients and prospects will resent you for this. But they’ll love you for giving them something for nothing; and then providing them with an opportunity to invest.

Thank clients for doing business with you. Most businesses behave as though the client is the lucky one to be using their service. You may behave like this without even knowing it. After every session, service, or product purchase you should THANK your client. Send them an email; sms; card; letter; small gift. Make them feel special and valued.

Give away stuff. We all love unexpected gifts. An excellent nurturing and retention strategy is to give away high perceived-value, low cost gifts.

An excellent way to create value for your clients, at little or no cost to you, is to develop joint ventures with other businesses. For instance, you could approach health spas and get them to provide a free treatment voucher. They are often willing to provide a free treatment as a loss-leader to acquire new clients. This strategy can be applied across a broad range of services.

Add-value to the relationship. Send clients specific information relating to their challenges. Send research, reports, tools, press releases. Anything that your client will find interesting.

Go further than expected. The key to creating true value is to go further than your client would reasonably expect you to go. If you do this, you tilt the reciprocal obligation in your favour, and your client will feel indebted to you.

And here are some additional pointers to keep in mind…

Focus your marketing on existing clients. Your current clients have already overcome certain hurdles to doing business with you. They are much more likely to buy from you again. Focus most of your time, efforts, and resources on better serving your current clients. Go deeper rather than wider.

Be consistent in your approach and interactions. Treat clients with honesty, humour, and respect. Present a consistent, solid, and professional style to your clients – one they can grow to depend on.

Follow through on your commitments. If you promise to send information or to follow up, be sure to do this. You’d be surprised at how many professionals promise to send information, but then never do. You will gain loyalty and trust by doing what you say you’ll do.

Allow yourself to connect. Find out about their lives, hopes, goals, and desired outcomes. Use social media to communicate. Ask questions that encourage a deeper sense of shared understanding. The greater the level of connection, the greater the mutual satisfaction.

Have fun. It’s easy to get caught up in goals, outcomes, and deliverables. Whilst clients do want outcomes, they also want to work with people who enjoy what they do. The more fun you can have while providing strong outcomes, the longer your clients will stay.

Position yourself as a resource for life. Tell clients at the beginning that you want to be their coach for life. That means they can always come back to work with you no matter how much time has passed between meetings.

Ask for feedback and input. At intervals throughout the working relationship, solicit feedback and input. Ask your clients how they feel about working with you and ask if they have suggestions for how the working relationship or outcomes can be improved. Asking for their ideas shows that you care about their opinions and value their contributions.

Share resources. Do you know of a good book that your client might benefit from reading? Tell him about it. Do you have the name of someone who could help your client move ahead on her business plan? Tell her about it. Sharing resources is a terrific way to build loyalty and satisfaction.

Reward them for staying on. You might consider implementing some kind of loyalty or perks program, where your long-term clients are rewarded for staying on. You might offer them gifts, products, or services for a certain level of ongoing participation with your business. Maybe Gold or Platinum Membership to your exclusive club.

Keep learning. The more you focus on gaining new knowledge, new skills, and new experiences, the more you have to offer your clients. The more you have to offer, the more they will benefit. The more they benefit, the longer they stay. Keep focused on your own professional growth and learning – make this a priority. Both you – and your clients – will gain.


How Do I Eliminate Stress From My Life?

Personal Development, Professional Development Comments Off

In our case scenario, your client has asked you how he can eliminate stress from his life… below are some thoughts from our Master Coach Zahava Starak.

Initial Assessment

To find an answer to this question the coach needs to undertake an educative role and teach their client a little bit about stress. There is a plethora of information available describing stress and its symptoms – but there is perhaps not enough understanding.

Therefore before a client can eliminate stress they need to know what stress is. With knowledge the coach and the client can then apply techniques for the identification, management and reduction of stress. It is important for the client to know that stress affects everyone at some stage of their life and that not all stress is bad for you.

No one can completely escape the effects of stress and in actual fact stress is that natural part of the human being that keeps us alert and prepared for situations which require prompt responses. In fact, stress plays a positive role as a performance enhancer as it facilitates the availability and release of motivational energy.

It makes sense therefore for individuals to seek an optimal level of stress in their day to day lives. If stress is totally absent, boredom, apathy and dissatisfaction set in and psychological disturbances can occur. Some people thrive on stress levels that others might find terrifying. For example, politicians, pilots and police officers readily expose themselves to stressors which could severely limit others through their career choices.

It becomes apparent therefore that before eliminating stress coach and client need to identify the stressors in the client’s life and determine how much is required for healthy functioning.

There are a number of tests that a coach can ask the client complete as to determine and measure stress. A pioneering system for measuring stress was devised as far back as 1967 by two psychologists, Holmes and Rahe. Scoring was used to rate the disruption and resultant stress of a range of recent events in the individual’s life.

Some of these events include major upheavals as a divorce, accident, and retirement and some less dramatic causes such as a change in eating habits, change in school or change in work responsibilities. There are also other tests used to generally rate life style stress. Checklists as handouts can be given clients or the coach can ask questions such as:

  1. Do you struggle with stressful interpersonal relationships?
  2. Is your work challenging and satisfying offering intrinsic rewards?
  3. How do you manage your time? Is there too much to be done in the time available? And
  4. Are you the type that accepts high pressure or stressful situations passively when you really want to act assertively to re engineer pressure situations?

With the information these questions and tools provide it is possible to determine what stress the client is experiencing and whether this stress is good or not. It is significant to note that the objective now becomes not to eliminate stress but to find a balance which allows optimum performance and a healthy and happy lifestyle.

Strategies to Achieve Balance

Motivation will play a key component in how successful the client will be in reaching this goal. When the sources of stress have been identified, there are usually three proactive steps the client can take to bring their stress to acceptable levels 

  1. Modify specific situations
  2. Change attitudes
  3. Introduce stress management techniques.

In modifying situations the coach can teach numerous strategies moulded to each unique situation. For coping with too much to do and not enough time to do it, the client can be taught time management techniques and be provided with a time map.

This map is divided into ‘activity zones’ that correspond to your life categories and contain all the tasks on your to-do-list. For those who find the workplace to be a major source of stress, they can learn problem solving strategies and conflict resolution styles.

Individuals experiencing the stress of small business and executive pressures can undertake programs to learn leadership skills, team building and decision making. Skills such as basic communication and assertiveness can help deal with stress in both the work and home fronts as well as in social interactions.

To help clients comfortably talk with others in any setting, coaches can systematically introduce communication skills such as the use of open-ended questions, giving self disclosure, changing topics, breaking into ongoing conversations and learning how to tell stories.

If a strategy or technique is not enough to bring stress to an acceptable level, coach and client can take a hard look at how the client can ‘let go’ of the stressful situation and walk away from it. This challenge will bring another set of skills as the client learns how to deal with pressure situations by releasing their hold on them.

This latter process then introduces the client to the second step they can take in their attempt to optimise their stress levels- change attitudes. And when it comes to this step there are a lot of approaches the coach can use.

Neurolinguistic Training or NLP – for one – is a framework which has many techniques aimed at helping individuals de-construct the meaning they give to events and then introduce a different healthier meaning to them. The fundamental concept in this and all related approaches is that the individual needs to change the thinking around the stressful occurrence.

Click here to access some NLP techniques…

This can be as simple as introducing an intervening thought every time a stressful situation arises. For example, if traffic jams are a source of stress the client can ensure that they are never caught in traffic hurdles (thereby addressing step 1) or they can change their thinking about traffic snarls.

Every time they are caught up in traffic they will think to themselves that this is an opportunity to relax and to listen to that CD they have wanted to for a long time. The response to this intervention is a distressed individual.

Step 3 includes the introduction of stress management techniques is the content of hundreds, more likely thousands of books and articles. The coach can both introduce ways to prevent and reduce stress and can also refer their client to these books.

A more detailed look at some of these stress management techniques can be found in the featured article on Edition 101 of our newsletter – Coaching Inspirations.

In brief, some of these techniques include Relaxation Techniques such as breath control, thought control and muscular control, meditative movement therapies such as yoga, alternative medicines such as acupuncture, manual healing methods such as massage therapy, a change in diet and nutrition, getting a pet and laughing a lot.

Outfitted with the right attitude, the knowledge of how to modify stressful situations and some specific tools to avoid and manage stress the client  has not eliminated stress but has found how to make stress work to their advantage.

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