He said one idea generated a $50,000 customer for his company…

I got this testimonial from a reader and BTMSinsiders member last week.

Now this is a particularly good testimonial.  And you probably sense that in your gut.  But can you say why?  Can you tease out the specific elements in this testimonial that make it good?

Can you tell what else could be there, that’s not, that would make it even better?

That’s the aim of this article.

To help you understand what goes into good testimonials.

So as you’re gathering and sorting through testimonials for yourself or clients, you know which will be the best to use.

If you’re soliciting testimonials, these are the kinds of elements you can encourage customers to include when relevant and truthful.

And if you’re editing for length or clarity, you’ll know what never to cut, and what to make sure comes through.

Remember: Your customer is a better salesperson than you are…

As a salesperson or marketer, there’s nothing you can say that’s more compelling than what your customers say about you.

And so understanding the power of testimonials — and how to use them — is critical.

So without any further ado, here’s 9 elements that make for great testimonials…

  1. Source-prospect match…

Great marketing makes a customer feel like, “Oh, this is for ME.”

And so it should come as no surprise that if the person giving the testimonial is like the prospect, it will be more compelling.

If your prospect is a 60-year-old middle class woman from Nebraska, having a testimonial from a someone with similar demographics will be most interesting to that prospect.

This should also underscore that you need to avoid a big mistake.  Let’s say you got a great testimonial from someone who is pretty much 100% different from your target market.  Should you use it?  Maybe — but give it a much lower priority than a not-quite-as-good testimonial from someone who is a perfect fit.

  1. Specific and detailed…

Part of the reason the testimonial above worked so well was the specificity.

“This marketing training helped me add a missing step that generated a single customer worth $50,000.”

But there was more.

“After a year in BTMSinsiders.”

More specificity.

The more specific the language in a testimonial is, the better.

  1. Quantifiable…

Some testimonials can be very vague.  A weight loss program, “helped me feel better and lose weight.”  That’s not compelling at all, from a sales perspective.

“I lost 23 pounds in 6 months, and have kept them off for another year.”

That’s very specific.

Same goes with financial.

“I just closed out two trades.  One recommendation made me 283%, and another made 153%.”

These kind of specifics, in numbers, make the testimonials so much stronger.

  1. Story-driven…

When there’s any kind of story included with the testimonial, highlight it.

I was just looking at testimonials for an investment newsletter, and the guy said he bought his wife a new car with the gains from one stock.

That’s exciting — and real.

That’s actually a REAL benefit to a moneymaking product.  Not the money it makes.  But how it changes the person’s life experience.  Buying an investment newsletter, and having it make you enough money to buy your spouse a car shows the benefit in action.

And that’s the power of story in testimonials.

  1. Reinforce fast, easy, free…

One thing I really like about the testimonial above is it talked about a $50,000 result from a single missing step.

That implies fast and easy.

If you do the math on the monthly fee for BTMSinsiders membership, you also realize that this person came out way ahead on their year of membership.  Making it effectively free — or, as I like to say, he was able to “buy money at a discount.”

The more you can make it feel fast, easy, and free for the prospect to get the result of your product or service, the better.  Which is all the more compelling when your customer is the one doing the convincing, through their testimonial.

  1. Personal details…

The more personal detail you can include with a testimonial, the better.

I’m actually really careful about this.  I don’t often use people’s names without their permission.  But the way BTMSinsiders is set up, you’re submitting a public testimonial with your name attached.

An ideal scenario also includes location.  And perhaps occupation.  And any other detail relevant to the product or service you’re selling.

Having more personal details makes the testimonial feel more real and believable.

But there’s one personal detail worth highlighting…

  1. A picture and/or video…

It’s one thing to see words on screen.

It’s another thing entirely to see the face those words came from.

And it takes it to another level beyond that to actually see the person saying the nice things on video.

Of course, a text testimonial can be edited to really highlight the best points.  But that’s part of the reason why a good video testimonial can actually be better than a great text testimonial.  Because you “can’t fake” the video.  (Leaving out the possibility that you can pretty much fake anything — because YOU are ethical and wouldn’t do that.)

Whenever you can include a face with the testimonial, do it.

And if you’re going to use stock images as representative, please don’t pick pictures that look like obvious stock photography.

  1. A headline…

Every testimonial has its best elements.  As a copywriter or marketer, it’s your job to draw attention to them.

You can use formatting, and you should especially use a headline.

This can be a direct quote from the testimonial.  Or it can be copy, representing what’s in the testimonial.

Either way, giving your reader a teaser and something to grab onto makes it more likely they’ll read it.  Especially if it speaks to a really compelling benefit the customer experienced.

  1. Testimonial-benefit match…

This is subtle, but important.

Any and all testimonials can be powerful.

But testimonials are especially powerful if you use them in the right place.

If you’re talking about service in your main sales copy, having testimonials that praise your service with that particular section of copy is ideal.

If your copy is about your product’s ease of use, include the testimonials about that there.

Any time you have testimonials that specifically support the main selling message, take care to pair the testimonial with the relevant copy for more impact.

It will be almost unnoticeable.  But it will make every claim you make (whether it’s paired with a testimonial or not) all the more believable.

Final thoughts…

You could go a lot deeper into this.

Right now BTMSinsiders is closed to new members.

But if you are a current member or want to go deeper when registrations open again, here’s some training that will be helpful…

The Story Selling Master Class goes into how to use testimonials and customer stories in story form.

Proof, Credibility, and Believability talks about the many types of testimonials and endorsements, and how each requires a subtle shift in thinking to get the best use of them.

And of course, The Most Valuable Customer Strategy earned the testimonial above, so it’s worth looking into.

Either way, putting more thought into your testimonials is a high leverage point, that could make all the selling messages you create all the more compelling.

Yours for bigger breakthroughs,

Roy Furr