Ahhhh the "R" word. Sometimes it is also disguised as the "T" word...by which I am referring to "Testimonials". These two little words are probably the most easily overlooked in day to day business. My goal today is to give them a little bit of a spot light and to show you how they can change your community in a big way.
There are two ways this blog post is going to hit you. 1. As a Small Biz, and 2. As a consumer or client. If I were to show you a timeline of my business from the moment I started it to present day, you would see that I only started to take reviews and testimonials seriously over the last three years or so. It took me that long to see what a huge role they play in getting that client capture (when someone buys a product or service from you).
What is a review? It's that little bit of copy that goes on a slider on your website right? True...but that's just scratching the surface. Think about it this way. You know when you are just starting out... and you only make one or two sales every so often... and then the next person that comes asking about your business says...
"Hello, I got your name from so-and-so, they told me you did their _______ and I need some done for me."
Are you picking up what I'm putting down yet? Reviews and testimonials are a footprint of your word-of-mouth marketing experiences. They are the evidence that real, actual, human beings have not only used your products and services.... BUT THAT THEY ENDORSE THEM.
Get real for a second. As a Small Biz, how many of your sales come from someone referring you? Ok? Now as a consumer, how many of your purchases come from recommendations?
Are you mind-blown how we have overlooked something so simple for so long?
If you want to see a shift in your sales, put testimonials on the home page of your website, ask your clients to post them on your Facebook and Google pages, and share them on your social media posts. This little step is an easy way to elevate your business to that next step.
Now that we talked about the Small Biz portion of those words, lets chat about the consumer portion.
Did you know you hold a lot of power as a consumer, even if your a small business buying from a small business. Your opinion can mean the difference in someone paying or not their bills each month (see my blog on how you can help your small biz community).
Envision for a second you are scrolling through your friends social media stories and they ask "Does anyone know where to get custom made leather earrings?". You have a client that does that but you are a bit busy (clearly because you are on social media) and you swipe by without throwing that jewelry company's name up... odds are that friend is not going to somehow link up with your clients company...your client most likely didn't make an extra sale because of your choice
Now picture someone you've never met before. They have a friends birthday coming up so they are in your clients jewelry shop getting a gift. One way or another a conversation comes up that they are starting a small business and they need some photos taken of their inventory. Your client happily offers up your name and most likely will even give them your contact info. That person reaches out to you that day and you make $500 in photo sessions over the next week.
What would have happened if your client supported you like you supported them? Duh... you wouldn't have made a sale. Pretty basic cause and effect stuff right? Ok so then what happens if 50% of our monthly income is currently being generated by referrals (that we don't always know are happening by the way) and people start treating our business like we treat theirs. Oh snap, now I can't pay my bills.
Think reasonably with me for a sec. Obviously this isn't every case scenario. Sometimes it's about being able to put food on the table, and sometimes it's about a family just needing a vacation this year and having extra cash to do it.
The point is...the power is in your hands.
To wrap this up I would suggest you remember to put yourself in the less desirable shoes, to be proactive about leaving reviews for your favorite services and products, and that the next time you or someone you know needs something done, think "Do I know anyone that does this who I can support?" Your action has a big impact.