My wife drives a Toyota Sienna. Do you know why? It is because a couple of her friends do. My family is going on vacation next month. Do you know how we came up with Disney World? We asked our friends on Facebook what they recommended. This is what crowdsourcing is. By definition, it is the practice of obtaining needed services, ideas, or content by soliciting contributions from a large group of people.
Crowdsourcing is not a new phenomenon, but it has never had more power. Social media has brought the world to you laptop screen. You can access more content and opinions – and quicker – than you ever could before. People are making decisions this way. You probably did today.
Did you know that over 80% of all due diligence starts with a Google search? Do you know how many people trust a recommendation from a “friend”? 90%! Do you know how many people are positively influenced by a Facebook ‘Like’ button from someone they don’t even know? 70%! That number astounds me.
By contrast, only 19% of people now trust traditional advertising. I’m talking about print, TV, or radio. Do you know why? Because the game has changed. No one wants to hear you toot your own horn anymore. They want to know about real people who have actually used your product or service. They want a testimonial.
I plan on writing more in the coming months about the power of crowdsourcing and how you can maximize its advantages. But today, I want to give you 7 steps to harvest testimonials. There are a dozen ways to repurpose them once you have them. First, though, you have to get them.
7 Steps to Getting Testimonials
- Make a list of your top client relationships – This is obvious, but you first need to list those clients from whom you would like a testimonial. Consider who was in love with the service or product your provided. Consider who has the most clout. Who are those people who you have done business with who can sway the most people in your direction? Write them down.
- It doesn’t matter how dated the client relationships are – Don’t be concerned if these clients go back years in the past. It doesn’t matter as much when you provided value, but that you did.
- Write the testimonial for them – Typically, you are going to send an email request. For the first one or two, write the testimonial for them. It should read, “I’m writing to respectfully request that you write a couple of sentences as a testimonial for the service I provided. I’m looking for something like this…” Spoon feed it to them. Then let them know that if what you wrote is accurate, you are happy to use it as their words – with their blessing. This is the quickest path to obtaining a testimonial.
- Use peer pressure – Once you have your first one or two, introduce peer pressure. You can accomplish this by including the testimonials you have already received as examples of what you are looking for. This demonstrates that others are providing these testimonials. Peer pressure can then kick-in encouraging them to follow suit.
- Engage their competitive nature – By providing testimonials you have already received as examples in your email request, you will engage their competitive nature. Your client is likely to want to give you a testimonial that out-does the ones you have already received. Over time, this can really work in your favor.
- Make it easy – I have a coaching client who has collected recommendation letters for years. He has a book of them. It is very impressive. It also took a ton of work to accomplish. I’m not saying this is a bad idea because it is not. I am saying that you will have more success more quickly if you keep it simple. Use email. Ask for a couple of sentences. Provide examples. Make it as easy for them as possible. You are interrupting them with your request. The simpler it is, the more you will get.
- Systematize – To this point, I’m suggesting you look to the past for your testimonials. Once you’ve accomplished that, then systematize the process. Make it a part of your business to seek a testimonial from every new client you do business with. Over time, you will develop a stable of clients that scream from the mountain tops how awesome you are. Remember that 70% of people trust a recommendation from someone they don’t even know!