Testimonials You Can Believe In

“What’s the best way to get believable testimonials for a web site?” Chris askBelievable Testimonialed.

“Just ask,” said Rick.

There was a pregnant pause and then Kate said, “So you’re just gonna stop there and leave us all hanging…”

Rick took a sip of beer and went on, “Most people are afraid to ask customers or clients for a testimonial but I find that when I do they are usually flattered. They know you think highly of them if you do that and usually they give you glowing reviews.”

Rob jumped in saying, “I think you’re right but often they ask me what I want them to say or to write something for them.”

Gail said, “Yes, I know what you mean. That makes me feel really uncomfortable.”

“Like I said,” Rick continued, “They are flattered and are usually willing to go along with just about anything that is not overblown. In fact sometimes I think it’s better if I write it and ask them to put it in their words. Usually it comes back with just a few minor changes.”

“Hold it,” I said. The question was how to get a believable testimonial. When it comes to believability there are at least two techniques that will change one of those puffy kinds of wonderfulness statements into a quote that is authentic and light years more convincing:

1. Have the testifier say something about a concern they had before or during working with you and how it was resolved…in terms of a concrete thing that happened because of the work. Make sure it is short, to the point but follows the formula: Concern/Resolution/Benefit/Referral.

2. Do it on video. Make it easy for the testifier. Interview them and then edit the answers together. Seat them comfortably and then conduct the interview seated beside and slightly in back of the video camera. When they look at you it will give the impression that they are looking directly in the camera. They will quickly relax and the viewer will feel they are in a conversation.

Video also needs to incorporate the formula Concern/Resolution/Benefit/Referral although it can use multiple examples and transpose Resolution/Benefit if that is a more comfortable speech pattern for the testifier.

Many times the testifier will be hesitant to talk about the concern but once it is stated and the resolution is discovered you have a credible story to tell.”

What would you do to make a testimonial more believable?
Jerry and the crew will return next week. Stop in for lunch.

Jerry Fletcher builds trust-based marketing strategies for startups, professionals and small businesses. Learn more at www.JerryFletcher.com
Jerry speaks professionally in Europe and the Americas. He is willing to deal for an engagement in Australia or New Zealand. Learn more at www.NetworkingNinja.com



Customer Service is not a department.

Margie Video

A special video treat

“It’s the way I do business,’ I said. “It is just one of the rules that I’ve always lived by. Clients come first. So this week my blog is a little late. And so it goes.”

“I don’t think any of us see it differently,” said Kate. “I’ve been a sales consultant longer than I care to admit but I have to agree. One of the greatest problems with some of the younger sales people I’ve been training lately is that they have a different idea of timeliness and maintaining a schedule. I know I’m not alone in this observation. It is a key ingredient in some of the blogs I read regularly but more importantly it is feedback from the HR people I trust. Customer service is everybody’s job”

“What’s the problem?” Chris asked. “You know I’m a part of that cohort.”

Kate replied, “In simplest terms some have a self-centered attitude that gets in the way of being effective with customers. Not everybody in the recent college graduates has it but the numbers are sufficient for it to be cited as a common problem. The conjecture is that in college the individual was on their own schedule but showing up at a specific time doing the work and leaving at the close of the business day is a foreign idea. If something that basic is difficult for them to grasp you can imagine how difficult it is for them to put customers ahead of themselves.”

“You don’t have to be a college grad to have that kind of disregard for customers,” said Gail. “Have you tried to get a clerks attention in a department store lately? I timed a conversation between two young ladies who were supposedly clerks at the customer service department at a local store yesterday. It took them eleven and half minutes to even acknowledge me. And then the one that handled my return didn’t even apologize for keeping me waiting. She acted like I was interrupting her!”

“And theah goes the brand down a rat hole,” said Rob. ‘Every time a clerk keeps you waiting the brand takes a hit. Every time that person in the government office says you should take a number when there is no one else in the office you get a lower opinion. When the delivery truck for the local florist cuts you off in traffic their brand wilts a little. When anyone in the company that goes face to face with customers is not fully committed to making the customer experience positive your brand suffers.

Customer service is not a department, it’s a mindset.

Y’all can run a one man band or a big enterprise. The problem is the same. Relationships are built with customers one interaction at a time. One, plus another and another until you have a string of them. Y’all have to work at making that string one of pearls.”

“But how do you do it?” I asked. Woody Allen said that showing up is half the job. I can see explaining that aspect of working to youngsters with good attitudes. Whoops! I guess I got ahead of myself there because I assumed people would hire for good attitudes and then train for other skills.”

Kate injected, “That is what my contacts are resorting to. More and more they are having potential new hires do assessments– a kind of psychological test that gives you an idea of whether they will fit into your corporate culture and in some cases how well they match up to profiles of successful people in the areas you’re hiring them for. It’s working.”

Chris volunteered, “We’ve been working on hiring some new telephone sales people in the last few weeks. We reviewed the records for all of the current ones and found that one gal stands out in terms of number of closes and speed to close.”

“Let me guess,” said Kate, “She knows how to get to know somebody before she tries to sell them anything. She asks questions up front so the person she’s talking to knows their need is being put first. She presents the product or service in the caller’s terms and will tell you she lets them buy when they are ready rather than trying to force a sale.”

“Are you psychic?” Chris asked.

“No,” I said, “She’s just an expert, particularly at training sales people. The reason she is so well respected is that she knows how to hire good ones. She’s the one that taught me about hiring for attitude. Like Bubba said, It’s a mindset. Everybody has to have the same one. So you have to keep it simple. That’s what a mission statement is all about. But it only works if you hire people with the right attitude and train them in how to apply it. Customer service is why a company exists.


Jerry Fletcher and his friends will return next week. Jerry apologizes for being a little late this week.

Jerry is a Networking Ninja, Marketing Rainmaker and Contact Relationship Magician and if you find that intriguing, learn more at www.JerryFletcher.com

Jerry speaks professionally (so far on 3 continents) on Trust Based marketing Strategies that work on and off line. See videos of some of his signature stories at www.NetworkingNinja.com

Do Your E-mail Numbers Add Up?

Girl with AbacusChris, back from vacation and full of energy flopped into a seat and said, “The latest data on e-mail could prove to be confusing.”

“How’s that” Digital Developer? I asked.

“What baffling bit of analytics is making you cranky,” asked Rick.

“Since you guys are so happy to see me I’m going to make this a test:
Which should you optimize for words or pictures?”

Rob jumped in saying, “We live in a visually oriented society. So usually I’d go with pictures. But I know the powah o’ words so I figure he’s runnin’ one on us and I’ll go that way.

Gail said, “I’ll go with words because that’s my stock in trade but I know how valuable the right photo can be.”

I said, “I’ve seen the research so I can safely say, it depends.”

Kate snorted and said, “Both of you quit hedging and tell us.”

Chris said, “It really does depend. When you survey the population about two thirds of people say they prefer mostly images. But when you look at click through rates every picture you add lowers the rate.”

Kate asked, “Is it different between men and women?

Chris replied, “Men prefer text, women mostly images but either way it is nearly a 50/50 proposition.”

Rick asked, “Is there any data on when to send?”

“Yes,” Chris said, “But you aren’t going to like that any better.”

“Don’t tell me,” Rick said, “That, too depends.”

Chris smiled. “Yes. Here’s how that figures:

  • The best click through rates for marketing e-mails are on Saturday and Sunday followed by Friday, Thursday, Wednesday, Monday and Tuesday.
  • The pattern is pretty much the same regardless of list size flattening as the list grows to over 10,000.”

“The pattern is the same for e-mails sent by individuals to other individuals,” I added. The most surprising finding was the fact that individual e-mails are being opened up to 12 days later.”
What about mobile?” Kate asked.

Chris checked his notes and said, “People use Desktops, Laptops, Phones and Tablets. They don’t stick to any single one. Eighty percent use a desktop or laptop part of the time. About 57% use a phone part of the time. And tablet use is up to 33% of the time now.

I said, “The real question is what should the little guy do with this information? In most cases he or she must look at what they are sending and compare what they sent to the actions taken. There is no silver bullet, single answer but you can improve your performance if you use the analytics available to you and change based on actions not words.”

Thanks for stopping by. Please pass this information along to any “Little Guy” that needs help figuring out how to market a business with limited time and money.

Jerry Fletcher records the commentaries of his rowdy crew of marketing and sales experts weekly. Learn more about his consultancy at www.JerryFletcher.com
Jerry speaks professionally and has appeared on three continents. See some of his signature stories at www.NetworkingNinja.com


How To Stretch Your Words And Make Your Content Soar

Gail our resident copywriter was telling us about a writing assignment that for most would be from Hell.Girl with Computer

She said, “So the client said the short brochure had worked pretty well but could I expand it. I did. It worked better so they asked to expand it again. And that one did better still. In all I expanded the copy four times.”

I asked, “What do you think made that happen?”

Chris, our web jockey jumped in, “It’s simple. You never really know which way of saying something is going to connect with the target. So the more ways you give them the better off you’re gong to be. At least that is what happens on line. Every test I’ve ever run shows that long copy beats short copy—if it is good long copy. Drivel doesn’t cut it. It has to be stuff that people will scroll on until they click through and buy.”

Gail nodded and said, “Right Chris, except for Twitter. And it doesn’t seem to matter whether you’re talking on line or off line. Sometimes repeating yourself is the best thing you can do.”

I asked, “The same exact words?” “Yes and no,” she said. I start as a friend puts it by sitting down at the computer and opening a vein. I just pour out everything I think, feel and believe about the item and then I look through all that for key words which I search and then make notes of especially the different viewpoints I find. I look for research data and surveys and hard facts to incorporate. And I listen to what the client tells me in the briefing about who they think the customer is and the benefits they deliver. I often find that they aren’t really sure who that ideal client is so I take it with a grain of salt and let the research lead me.”

“But how do you expand the copy?” I asked.

“I have a few tricks that help you make your content soar:

  • Turn some facts into charts or graphs and explain them in copy and captions
  • Find photos that support your argument and place them judiciously in the copy
  • List companies or organizations that have tried or used the product or service
  • Look at the benefits and turn them into a list.
  • Make ‘em bullets or number them.
  • Turn benefits or facts into challenging questions or quizzes
  • Look at the impact of the product or service on a timeline
  • Include a case history or success story
  • Extend your description of just who the product is for or the kind of company and/or problem.
  • Tell ‘em the need use or occasion it is for.
  • Include an executive summary or a front end synopsis.
  • Note the information in an intriguing way related to the page it occurs on so if hey want to skip around they still get the message.
  • Remember that you are going to have linear readers, scanners and that you have to appeal to both curiosity and the need to simplify at the same time.

And whatever you do, don’t forget to ask for the order. You can even do that in multiple ways.”


The lunch bunch is back here at a new location. Thanks in advance for telling your friends, colleagues and anyone you believe may profit from this blog.

Jerry Fletcher is a Trust Marketing Merchant. You know how solos and small businesses don’t ever seem to have enough time or money to build their business? Well, what he does is craft ways for “little guys” to be come known, liked and trusted. And you know who you would rather do business with…

Learn more at www.JerryFletcher.com

Jerry also speaks professionally on three continents. Learn more at www.NetworkingNinja.com

Connecting Person to Person

As you can see (if you can see this) I’ve moved to the world of WordPress blogs.

This was not a salubrious situation. I was forced, kicking and screaming.

I’m trying to regain the ease and productivity I had elsewhere.

This is a test. I’m not sure the blog is going out to subscribers.  Drop me a note and let me know at Jerry@Z-axisMarketing.com if you get this.