Heat-Up Your Testimonials

In business, it’s all about relationships; you build a relationship with your clients.  You build a relationship with your network, and you still have to build a relationship with your prospective clients.  If you consistently build a string of successes, pretty soon you have a solid foundation for your business. 

That is all well and fine but some of us may have bigger goals.  Why, you may have set your sites on world conquest, a franchise coast to coast with your name all over it.

There is just one little problem.  How do you build a relationship with the whole world?

This all takes time.  There has to be a way to speed-up the process. 

Speed-up may be a poor choice of words I think “Warm-Up” is more appropriate.  What will it take to get new customers to “Warm-Up” to you?  The answer is, TESTIMONIALS.

Testimonials, if done right, can be extremely effective for drawing in new clients.

For example:

“Pete is a great plumber. I have known him for years”

“Joe’s Plumbing suggested a tankless water heater.  My energy bill was cut in half and I can’t tell you how nice it is to turn on my shower and not have to wait for the water to get hot.”

– David Madison, Santa Ana

If you were looking for a plumber, who would you call?

3 components of a good testimonial

Be specific: In the above plumber testimonials, one lacked specifics and the other mentioned the business and the product specifically.  You need testimonials that answer how and why.  How did you or your product help them?   Why did they choose you or your product?

Credibility: People can spot a fake.  You need it to sound credible and sincere.  If you can get the full name of a person and a picture or avatar, it lends itself to be more credible.  If your customer can give you a video testimonial, that is even better.

 If it is a businessperson, then you want to get not only his or her name but the name of the business and their position, even a logo and website address if possible.

When I have a particularly difficult Wedding cake or impossible deadline I know I can count on Aldo’s Pastries.  Their cakes are phenomenal and it frees me to concentrate on the thousand other tasks at hand.

 – Claire DeRume,   CEOClaire’s Wedding Planners –


 Most companies won’t object to this type of “Cross Promotion” it is good for The Wedding Planner and good for the Bakery. 

Address common concerns or objections: When someone looks at your brochure or ad or website, they don’t know you.  They have questions, the same questions that new customers ask you every day.  You need testimonials that answer the most common concerns.  (It may be cost, usefulness, durability, warranty, maintenance and so on.) 

We know we can answer all of our prospects concerns. In fact, we need to toot-our-horn a bit to make the sale half of the time, but we run the risk of sounding like a braggart. 

A testimonial may say same the exact same thing you just said, yet to a prospective client, it means more.  It carries more weight, because it comes from the lips of another client.  So let your customers do the bragging for you.

A well done testimonial puts a prospective client at ease.  It gives them that warm and fuzzy feeling that lets them know they made the right decision.

Happy endings make us feel warm and fuzzy.  We have been programmed from the beginning the ugly duckling is a swan, Cinderella finds her prince, cowboys ride into the sunset.  

A testimonial is a story straight from the lips of your satisfied customers.  It is their happy ending.  A story of you, your product and services and how you made their life better.

Being Prepared

We are in the building trades.  To many of us networking is a stretch. You want to make the most out your time networking.  I find the being prepared is best. 

Here are a few simple guidelines that will help you.

You wouldn’t go to a job without your toolbox would you?  Your toolbox, in the networking sense, will consist of your business cards and any brochures or flyers you want to bring along.  

Have a few photos from your portfolio with you.  The technology that is available these days allows for you to have a portfolio or short commercial message at your fingertips.   It is a piece of cake with your IPhone or IPad.   CD’s and DVD’s are also inexpensive.  It is still a viable way of handing out information.  Incidentally look where AOL is today, it wasn’t that long ago you couldn’t go anywhere without seeing stacks of the AOL CD’s

Your Toolbox should even have your nametag.   Some people, like me, can remember a name and face better if they also see a name.   It is just another way for people to remember, and that is the name of the game, so make it easy for them.

You are going to be asked,”What do you do?”  You need to be ready with a clear concise answer.  Practice what is called, in the business world, the elevator pitch. 

I say practice because nobody wants to do business with wish-washy.  Practice it till you can say it with pride and conviction.  A CD is full of good information but it will never make an impression like someone standing in front of you talking confidently and looking you in the eye.

Planning or setting a goal helps.  Too often people think, “There is no way I can remember everybody’s name.”  You should plan on getting to know two, three or four people well.  This will take the pressure off and is a more realistic goal. 

Networking is building a relationship and helping someone or connecting them with someone else who can help them.  It is easier to help two than ten people.

Arrive early.  This will give you time to gather your thoughts; go over your goals, “Do I have my business cards with me.”  “What kind of Client am I looking for?”

One final thing you need to remind yourself to do….. LISTEN!  God gave you two ears and one mouth for a reason.  Look at people when they talk to you. Give them full attention.  It is the easiest way to make a lasting impression, an impression as someone who really cares. 

People do business with people they like.  Being prepared gives you the ability to think clearly, stick to a goal, exude confidence, build trust and genuinely learn about someone and their business. You will make that favorable first impression and be able to help someone or their business, while they in turn will do the same for you.

Crafting a Thank You note

This week I am going to elaborate on the hand written thank you note, mainly why and how.

Reasons to use hand written thank you note:

  1. A client has a tendency to hang on to the thank you note. Some may even go so far as to display it in a prominent place.
  2. Thank you notes to clients who make monthly payments are more likely to to pay on time.
  3. It helps cement the bond between you and your client. To keep their business as well as their referrals.
  4. Clients will feel confident in referring you because you will treat their referral with the same care as you do them.

As effective as a hand written thank you note is, why isn't everyone writing them? The fact is excuses come easy. “I am lousy with words”, “I don't know what to say”, “What if they think I am weird?”. When faced with doing something different, it is in human nature to avoid it.

The only solution is “Action”. You do it until it isn't, different. You do it until it is your new normal. Make a decision to write one a day or one a week, until it becomes a profitable habit.

If you are new at this, you may struggle a bit at first, so here are some guide lines.


First and foremost, get the clients name correct. This one simple rule just kept it out of the round file.


Second, keep it simple. For those of you that may find this a challenge, keeping to the basics will help you until this is second nature to you.

Last meeting

Next write about the last time you had met. “I enjoyed the seminar.” or “It was a pleasure speaking with you at our luncheon.” Keep it short.

Why your writing

Then mention why you are writing. “I appreciated your insight…” or “Your input was greatly needed…”

Thank you

Now, it is time to express your thanks properly. “Thank you.”, “I think Thanks are in order.”, “Thank you from the crew and I”, “Thank you and I hope to see you soon”. There are many ways to say thank you.


If you look at my emails, you will find I almost always use “Sincerely” in my closing. Keep it professional and appropriate. “Regards”, “Best wishes”, “Respectfully yours”, are all good.

Don't use closings like, “See Ya!” and “Later dude!”


For new contacts or clients use your full name and enclose a business card, close or longtime clients use your first name. But always use your full name on the return address on the envelope.

Just a few sincere sentences is all that is necessary to be effective. But when it comes to "Thank You's", you don't get credit for trying.

A thank you is not a thank you if it is not heartfelt and genuine.

Four Things That Can Cost You Business

Too much of a salesman

We have all heard the there is a time and a place for everything.   Have you ever been to that birthday party or wedding, where that guy across the table from you, hands his business card to everyone then proceeds to explain how he can get you a better return on your investments, takes notes, asks lots of personal questions. 

Now, a lot of planning goes into seating arrangements, if you don't believe me, you can ask any Bridezilla.  You’re going to be partying for the next 4 to 8 hours; it is only natural to want to know who is sitting across the table from you.  There is a line.  Business cards, yes, taking names and doing presentations, no. 

Too persistent

It is inevitable, you are going to follow leads, and you’re going to make cold calls.  For that, you'll need a thick skin, but the kind of guy that doesn't take no for an answer is pushing it too far.  If they have told you, “some other time”, ten times or if you think going over their head to make the sale is going to endear you to your client, you are mistaken.   Your time would be better spent following fresh leads.

Taking your clients for granted

When your customers call you should respond quickly.  Be sure they can contact you in an emergency situation or leave a message saying when you'll be back and respond promptly thereafter. 

Just because they are doing business with you now doesn't mean they will continue.  Listen to what their needs are, maybe they have changed.  When you become complacent you open the door for your competitors to take your clients away.  

Never ever use your relationship with your clients, either current or past, as a means to charge exorbitant pricing.

Not showing gratitude 

A sincere thank you goes a long way with clients.  Clients are not expecting you to kiss their butts; they just want to know that their business is appreciated.  An appropriate thank you will give them reassurance that they made the right decision choosing you. 

A thank you note for small purchases is certainly appropriate.  Larger purchases, let's say a contract for a remodel, a fruit basket.  Purchasing a new home, a dinner for two is a bit more and would be more appropriate. 

Inappropriate networking will alienate your current and prospective clients.  They are not looking for pushy, flaky, complacent unappreciative people to do business with, would you? 

Use this as your guideline to proper networking and a great way to cement your relationship with your clients and build your business.