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The other day I was writing a sales brochure for a West Coast manufacturer. As I got to what I’ll call the “proof” section of the brochure, I was rummaging around for testimonials. The company already had a full-blown Web site and a solid PowerPoint presentation. So I was hopeful that I’d find some ready made testimonials or at least some material I could use to create some. As it turned out, they had one case study with a couple of customer quotes. I pieced the material together to create one measly testimonial. It was less than adequate. Well, maybe it’s no big deal. After all, I wrote strong copy. Why even bother with testimonials? I’ll give you four good reasons. 

1. Credibility Testimonials give your company, product, or service credibility. Everyone is bombarded with advertising messages every day. It’s a brutal marketplace. If you want to sell something to somebody, you stand a much better chance if you can convince them that you’re credible. Testimonials are like references on a resume. They’re the people who vouch for you. 

2. Identification Your prospects identify with your customers who are providing the testimonials. They have similar concerns, problems, hopes and desires. They commiserate. This is good. You want this in your marketing. (Sorry, but your prospects don’t identify with you. Not really. You’re trying to sell them something!) 

3. Proof Proof, alone, is reason enough to gather and use testimonials. This is where your customers say, in effect, “They’re right, Mr. or Ms. Prospect. They can save you 50% ... or make you feel 18 again ... or make you enough money to retire at 50. They did it for me and I’m thrilled!” Testimonials notarize your marketing speak. 

4. Closure Testimonials help close the sale. Sure, they can be used throughout a marketing piece. But they definitely come in handy toward the end. You’ve introduced the problem or need, your product or service, the features and benefits, and more. Then you line up your testimonials, all the customers whose heads are nodding and saying, “Yep, it worked for me.” Soon after, you ask for the order. For many reasons, testimonials give your prospects the confidence they need to buy from you for the first time. And once your prospects turn into new customers, the door to repeat sales swings wide open. (c) 2005 Neil Sagebiel

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