30/11/2004 - 21:00

Sales Session: If you can prove it, they will buy.

30/11/2004 - 21:00

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YOU just got a testimonial. Great.

It was from your best customer, saying how great you are.

Now all you have to do is learn how to use it.

A testimonial is the most powerful sales weapon in your sales power utility belt. And the most misused or should I say misfired.

If you have the silver bullet and you miss the target, no-one will ever know it was a silver bullet.

Note well: The testimonial is the only sales-proof that you have.

When you say things about yourself it’s bragging. When someone else says it about you, it’s proof. And the testimonial is the solid evidence to back up all your sales-claims.

The key question is: when do you use your testimonial?

The key question is: how do you use your testimonial?

The key answer is: It depends. It depends on what the testimonial says, and it depends where you are in the sales cycle, and it depends the media format of the testimonial.

Testimonial letter: Get rid of it. “Jeffrey, what the h-e-double-l are you saying?” you whine. I’m saying that the letter format of a testimonial is great for a wall someplace in your office. And a quote or two excerpted for your proposal is fine. But the most powerful form of testimonial by far is...

Testimonial video: The modern way. The new way. And, in my opinion, the only way. The video is active, alive, and believable. Video is power. Sales power.

Ever watch an infomercial? Infomercials are full of testimonials. Infomercials sell product. Infomercials make money. I wonder if there’s a correlation?

But there’s a secret to the testimonial beyond the video? It’s the content. What the testimonial “says” determines its validity and when it should be used. The key to successful use is to time them perfectly. They are trump. Sales trump.

The biggest mistake salespeople make with testimonials is using them inappropriately. Too early is the biggest mistake. At the wrong time is neck-and-neck.

Here’s what to say and when to say it.

To set an appointment the testimonial must say: “I was reluctant to even set an appointment with the Acme representative, but take it from me, it was well worth my investment of time. I became, and still am, a customer.”

To open a sale the testimonial must say: “my name is Tom Jones, I’m the CEO of Acme Manufacturing. I’d like to introduce you to one of the finest young men I have ever met.”

To answer a question or overcome an objection the testimonial must be exact: Select the three or four questions (such as: Why should I do business with you, and three or four objections).

To prove a point the testimonial must be used at the appropriate point in your presentation.:

To kill the competition the testimonial must say: We used to use XYZ Corp., but we switched and we love it.

Affirm your price the testimonial must say: “We used to use XYZ Corp, but we found that their poor quality and slow delivery actually added up costing us more money.”

With a proposal the testimonial must have three or four customers issuing a call-to-order. They tell the prospect that they were once in the same position, and they all went with ACME.

To solidify a sale or to enhance your credibility and believability the testimonial must say: “We’ve been doing business with Acme, best choice we ever made.”

How do you set up the testimonial? Great question. Just use common sense language like:

“I may not be the best to answer that.”

“If they tell you what you want to hear, will you buy from me?”

“Is that all you need to know before you buy?”

“Let me tell you through the voice of our customers.”

“Can you see any reason not to buy?”

“May I show you what ————- said about the exact same thing.”

“—————— used to feel that way too, now they’re a customer ? let me show you what they said.”

When you use a testimonial, you never have to brag or exaggerate again — your customers will do it for you. When you use a video testimonial, it’s as though you were taking your best customer with you.

It’s proof.

It’s support.

It’s a sale when a salesman can’t make one.

It’s sales power.

It’s a video testimonial

Use them and take them to the bank.

Free GitBit: Want more on the power of testimonials. How about a one-pager on how to get testimonials?. Go to www.gitomer.com and put the word TESTIMONIAL in the GitBit box.

· Jeffrey Gitomer, author of The Sales Bible, and Customer Satisfaction is Worthless, Customer Loyalty is Priceless. President of Charlotte-based Buy Gitomer, he gives seminars, runs annual sales meetings, and conducts internet training programs on selling and customer service at www.trainone.com. He can be reached at (1704) 333-1112 or e-mail to salesman@gitomer.com

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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