Beyond the Pitch
A Step-by-Step Guide to Creating a Great Customer Testimonial
“Your potential customers want to hear from your current clients way more than they want to hear from you.”
“As entrepreneurs we are expected to be evangelists,” David said. “When real customers talk about what your product means to them and how they use it, it’s much more powerful and impactful than anything an entrepreneur could say.”
Watch the video, then we’ll drill down.
1. Keep the focus on customer benefits.
EduSourced features this video on prime real estate—eye level on company’s home page. It’s named UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS TESTIMONIAL, with an invitation to “hear why the largest student consultancy in the country uses EduSourced.”
Nothing could be clearer.
2. Establish the client’s credibility.
In just 35 seconds, the EduSourced video sets up the market that EduSourced serves and establishes the University of Illinois IBC and EduSourced’s credibility.
:06 “Illinois Business Consulting, IBC, is the largest university consulting program in the country.
:14 “We have about 300 students in the program.
:31 “EduSourced is designed specifically for this type of a program.”
That’s 32 words of witness—that say it all.
3. Concisely convey how easy it is to get started with your firm’s B2B solution.
Inertia is the greatest enemy of innovation. Every startup faces the challenge of helping potential customers feel able and ready to change.
There’s no better way to neutralize inertia than in a message from a customer who has implemented your solution and makes it sound possible and doable.
:43 “It only took us a matter of a few weeks to decide we wanted to go with EduSourced.
:45 “From there, we piloted the program over one semester.”
:48 “The next semester we were using it 100 percent.”
4. Tie the features of your solution to the benefits to your customers, remembering that there is never “just one” customer.
A testimonial video only has to whet your prospects’ appetites—and establish your solution as something worth considering.
A customer testimonial is not a product demonstration. Don’t confuse the two.
The EduSourced video seamlessly addresses multiple benefits of the company’s solution and connects those benefits to students, instructors, program managers and stakeholders—all multiple influencers in a successful sale.
The people in this video are real. They are shown actually using the EduSourced solution as they are doing real work.
:55 – 1:13 “…store of all our information in central location…easily accessible…online…students managing projects can access client information…files on project…client information…student access information…”
1:14 “EduSourced also helps standardize the consistency of quality of our projects, of the student experience…of the client experience…
1:21 “…needed tool to create reports to inform stakeholders…EduSourced makes everything easy for us.”
5. End on a note of inspiration, an encouragement toward action.
A customer testimonial is not a sales pitch. It’s an information tool that helps other potential clients imagine what could be possible in their own environments.
1:40 “I get to see students grow I get to see students learn and I get to see the light bulb turn on when they learn to be a leader…
2:04 “We’ve been really happy with EduSourced. It does exactly what we need it to do. It helps us run our program better.”
“It was important for us to build a good relationship with Andrew and he built one with us,” David told me.
“We only win when we help our clients win so I find that our interests are aligned. Communication is crucial so when you are making sure to address client needs then when it comes time to do a testimonial it’s a very natural thing,” he said.
Going from a good customer relationship to a great customer testimonial
1. Timing is important.
A customer testimonial is much more powerful when a customer has something meaty to talk about.
EduSourced created the University of Illinois testimonial after the University’s Illinois Business Consulting group had been using EduSourced for a full academic year.
“It is possible that a year ago, when we first launched the product, we could have gotten a testimonial video from a client,” David said, “but it wouldn’t have been as impactful.”
2. Early Adopters are great candidates for testimonials.
Early adopters tend to seek out innovation. They want to do things differently to gain market share or increase efficiency. They are willing to take smart risks and often like to talk about the results.
Early adopters and entrepreneurs form special bonds. Ask any entrepreneur or small business owner about his or her first customer. They’ll have stories, I guarantee it, about the person, the company, the problems, the successes.
Whether the story ends happily or not, you’ll find that most entrepreneurs have an enduring affection for customers who took an early chance on the company. And quite often, the feeling is reciprocated, and will translate well into a testimonial or white paper.
3. Video is the way to go.
The most effective way to help your customers tell the story of their experience with you is though professionally created video.
- 74% of all Internet traffic in 2017 will be video
- 52% of marketing professionals worldwide name video as the type of content with the best ROI.
- 65% of video viewers watch more than ¾ of a video.
According to Forbes, 59 percent of senior executives would rather watch a video. Of those who do, about half look for more information, and about 45 percent contacted a vendor. Of those who contacted, about one-half bought.
“Video can be more affordable than you think,” David said. “Define the project and then shop around. You can get good work done for not a lot of money.”
Additionally, there will be footage that you don’t use that can be great for clips or quotes. Ensure that your company has the rights to all footage and can use it as you wish.
Referencable customers are an asset that doesn’t show up on the balance sheet, but what an impact customer references can have on a startup’s bottom line.
EduSourced, an Ohio startup with the leading cloud-based software tool to manage learning programs where college and university students work on company-sponsored learning projects as part of their coursework.
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