A variation of word-of-mouth advertising is what I call testimonial marketing. The best way to explain it is with some examples.
The best automobile salesman I’ve ever met was in Phoenix, where I lived for over ten years.
He was a true professional in every sense of the word. He was knowledgeable, competent, a skilled listener.
He was able to exert pressure without being offensive, and he had many other great skills, but his most impressive attribute was mastery of testimonial marketing.
When you went in and sat down in his office you found a typical car salesman’s cubicle, a little desk, a couple side chairs, and a rather tacky tile floor. Just what you’d expect!
But the walls in Bill’s office are covered top to bottom, side to side with instant snap shots of Bill’s customers standing next to their new cars. Each snap shot shows the happy customer next to or in front of his or her new automobile.
As you look at the hundreds of these photos on his walls you can’t help but notice two things, first you’ll probably see someone you know or know of. Second the photos are dated and you’ll see some customers displayed several different times, years apart, pictured next to their new 1980 car, then again next to their new 1985 car, again next to their new 1990 car, again next to their new 2002 car, and again next to their 2009 car.
These pictures are worth thousands of words. Inevitable reactions are all these people can’t be wrong and these people wouldn’t keep coming back if they weren’t being treated well.
I’ve also taught this to thousands of doctors and know that those who use it get great results. In their waiting rooms you’ll find giant scrap books filled with photos of their happy, healthy patients.
Self-made multimillionaire W. Clement Stone used this exact tactic to build a huge insurance sales organization from scratch beginning in the great economic depression.
His reps then and still today enter a business and start selling by flipping through page after page after page of lists of other area business people who bought their insurance programs.
In my business, speaking and consulting, testimonial letters and comments from satisfied clients are the most valuable selling tools possible.
You need to carefully consider how you can collect testimonial type evidence of customer satisfaction and then use that evidence to attract and motivate other customers.
There are two specific applications of this idea that I’d suggest you think about that I’ll cover in an upcoming blog post in just a couple of days.