We all know that recommendations from friends and family, as well as customer reviews, heavily influence purchasing decisions for people. And while B2C businesses can rely on places like Yelp and TripAdvisor to garner reviews, B2B businesses usually have to rely on testimonials from customers to act as reviews.
Generally, as a business, if you want testimonials, you have to ask customers for them. When you ask a customer for a testimonial, it should be mindful and demonstrate to the person you’re making the request to that you value their opinion.
Here are five things you should do when approaching a B2B customer for a testimonial.
1. Show Respect for Your Customer’s Time
Whoever you’re asking a testimonial from is going to be busy, so you should acknowledge this and make it known that you value their time. It’s also a good idea to provide them with an “out” by asking them to recommend someone else who might be able to do it if they don’t have enough time.
In fact, this may even end up netting you a better testimonial because your contact at the business may not necessarily be the user of your product or service. Your request for a testimonial may get passed along to the actual people who would be in a better position to talk about your products or services honestly.
Example: “We really appreciate your business and as one of our best customers, I wanted to know if you might be interested in sharing your experience. I know you’re extremely busy, so if you don’t have time for this, would you be able to recommend someone else in your organization who could help us out with this?”
2. Give them Plenty of Time
Generally, there won’t be a deadline for getting a testimonial from a customer, but you may want to include it in something like a press release or an event booth or something that will be happening on a particular date.
Make sure you ask for the testimonial well in advance if this is the case. You’ll look disorganized and put unnecessary pressure on your customer if you ask the week prior to needing the testimonial.
It is a good idea to include a timeframe to help “nudge” them into giving you a testimonial rather than leaving it open-ended. If they think it is required by a certain time, they’ll be more likely to try and get you one by that point. Just make sure that point is at least two weeks down the road, not tomorrow.
You should also tell them exactly how you’re planning to use the testimonial.
Example: “We hope that you can provide a short blurb about your experience with [name of company]. If you provide us with one, we will put it on our website and would also like to include it as a quote in a press release we have scheduled for [date at least two weeks from now].”
3. Lend a hand
You have the perfect testimonial in mind and you also want to make it as easy as possible for the person you are soliciting, so it makes sense to offer some assistance with the writing of the testimonial. Provide your customer with the option of getting some help with writing the testimonial.
This could be in the form of giving them starting points to talk about or just letting them know that you’re willing to help them out with it. You know what products or services they use, so you should be able to give them some samples if they request them.
Example: “If it would be helpful for you, we would be happy to provide you with some sample quotes you can use for inspiration.”
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4. Avoid the Canned Quote
Some people have been known to send a pre-written testimonial and ask whether it would be okay to attribute to the customer they’re soliciting. If your customer gives you some kind of indication that this is fine with them then go ahead and shoot over a pre-written statement. Otherwise, just stick to offering help.
If you include a pre-written testimonial for them to sign off on, they might feel insulted because it will appear that you don’t really value their opinion, but just want the name recognition of their brand.
5. Show Appreciation
Of course you can’t forget the “thank you.” You can cc other high ranking people from your company in your initial email to show your customer that this request is important enough for your organization that the higher ups are in the loop. Letting your customer know that the management team is involved will make them feel more valued.
Putting it all together:
We really appreciate your business and as one of our best customers, I wanted to know if you might be interested in sharing your experience. I know you’re extremely busy, so if you don’t have time for this, would you be able to recommend someone else in your organization who could help us out with this?
We hope that you or someone else there can provide a short blurb about your experience with [name of company]. If you provide us with one, we will put it on our website and would also like to include it as a quote in a press release we have scheduled for [date at least two weeks from now].
If it would be helpful for you, we would be happy to provide you with some sample quotes you can use for inspiration.
Please let me know if you have any questions. I look forward to your reply.
Asking someone to say nice things about your business can lead to a valuable testimonial if you approach the situation right. Be respectful of their time, offer assistance and show gratitude and you’ll likely get your testimonial.
If you have a customer who you have an especially good rapport with and they’re in close proximity to you, go the extra mile and record a video testimonial with them. For something really unique, animate your video testimonial. How would you go about doing something like that? We’re glad you asked. Click here to schedule an appointment with WizMotions to see how we can help you make an animated testimonial video.