Testimonials matter, you know that, but they matter a lot more than you might think. Many wedding professionals see testimonials as icing on the cake and something that is nice to have but they are actually really crucial and can contribute to your sales if done correctly.
When we choose to work with someone or to purchase something we are taking a risk. We are hoping that our results will be what we think they will be but we really have no way of knowing if that will be the case. As a potential client or customer, testimonials help us to reduce our risk by seeing what others have said about their experience. If you’ve ever purchased anything based on Amazon reviews, you know what I mean. This is part of a psychological phenomenon called social proof and it is incredibly powerful.
We have instincts that help us reduce risk by watching others and seeing how successful they are. This was incredibly powerful when humans lived in tribes and it’s still powerful today. Back then it might be something like waiting to cross the ice until you saw that others had done it successfully. That reduced the risk that you would fall through because the others were just fine so it was safe to assume you would be as well. Nowadays this is seen in how we make our purchasing decisions. Have you ever chosen one product over another because one of them had reviews and the other didn’t? Or have you ever changed your mind on what brand of an item you bought or what restaurant you went to because of online reviews? This is social proof at work.
There have been studies that demonstrate the power of social proof including one from the Washington Post that showed that positive social proof was actually more influential than saving money. If you’ve ever thought “better safe than sorry” you’ve felt this. This is why every McDonald’s sign says “Billions and billions served”. Knowing that billions of people have had something is reassuring to the part of us that likes to avoid risk. If you’ve ever made a decision based on an Amazon review by a total stranger, you’ve acted because of social proof.
Testimonials are one way to demonstrate social proof (I cover many others and how to use them in Book More Weddings Academy which is available in The Wedding Business Collective.) but not just any testimonial will do the trick. I see a lot of bland testimonials that say things like “She was great!” or “We’re so happy we worked with you”. That only gives you a tiny piece of the story. If you want your testimonials to help you make more sales they have to describe the experience of the customer before, during, and after working with you. You have to tell their story, their full story.
Here is an example of a testimonial I have from a client that shows the before, during, and after.
This gives a much different feeling to the reader than something like “Heidi was great and I loved working with her”. You can identify with the feels of the person before, during, and after working with me. That is exactly the type of testimonial that will help you get more clients.
You must have a system for gathering your testimonials. That can be as simple as a calendar reminder to prompt you to ask recent clients for testimonials and a spreadsheet to keep them in. Here’s the thing though, don’t just email them and ask them for a testimonial. When you do that you’re asking them to do something that they don’t really know how to do and it’s more likely that they’ll put it off or give you a testimonial that doesn’t accomplish what you want from it. You’re a business owner so you get what makes a good testimonial but your client may not. If you want someone to do something for you, make it as easy for them as possible.
Instead of asking for a testimonial, you’re going to email your client with specific questions for them to answer. These questions will get you the responses you need to put together a fantastic testimonial and it makes things a LOT easier for your client. Then you put together the answers into a testimonial format and send it back to your client asking their permission to use it as a testimonial. You’ll also want to ask for a photo if you don’t have one.
I know that implementing a new way of doing anything can be tricky to figure out at first so I’m making it as easy as possible for you by giving you my exact email templates from The Wedding Business Collective so that you can use them to get killer testimonials.
Do you have any past clients that you don’t have testimonials from? Send the first email in the email templates set today and let me know how it goes!