June 6, 2022

#47 - Testimonials, references and social proof

One of your best sales tools is the feedback you get from your current customers. But are you actively collecting those testimonials?

Brendan wasn't... and he and Bob discuss the resistance behind this. And what changed. And why you should make this part of your standard sales process. It's a quick 13 minutes with some good suggestions and a couple pithy observations.

One of your best sales tools is the feedback you get from your current customers. But are you actively collecting those testimonials?

Brendan wasn't... and he and Bob discuss the resistance behind this. And what changed. And why you should make this part of your standard sales process. It's a quick 13 minutes with some good suggestions and a couple pithy observations.

To learn more about B2B sales and get regular updates, sales tips, templates and other resources, sign up for Brendan's newsletter here. And to purchase Sales Craft: Proven Tips, Practices and Ideas to Advance your Sales Success, click here.


If you'd like to learn more about what we do, then please visit:


All right. So it's another episode of Let's Chat Sales. And this time we're talking about the importance of gathering testimonials and what gets in the way of that and why you should do it. And... let's get started. And if you like. You know, you. You know,  

Okay, Bob. So it's another episode of Let's Chat Sales, and yes, there we go. 

That is your sidekick mantra. Is it a mantra? What is that?  It's not a cheer, is it? Maybe it is. We'll have to figure that out. 

An affectation?

Whatever it is, we're stuck with, let's put it that way.

Hey, so, so I wouldn't talk about testimonials because  I'm not great at collecting them. And all right, at least I haven't... 

Is this your subtle way for me to finally write the recommendation for you on LinkedIn? Is that what this episode is all about? 

No, it's not, but although it would be really great if you did. It would be good for my... 

Just popped into my head.

...my ego. It would be helpful for me cause I, you know ... but there...

testimonials and references and, and this should be... this is a common, this is like a standard operating procedure. You should be doing this on a regular basis. 

You want to be able to collect testimonials. You want to collect references and and confirm them.

And there's a resistance to that sometimes. Like I get busy and move on. And so I, I, I, sometimes I don't go back. I just assume I could get them at any time. 

It's your resistance as the...  not the customer.... Not anyone else. Right. I just want to be clear about that because the way you said it, it sounded like it was...

no, no,  it's me.

I just, I, I put it off sometimes.  And so I'd been putting it off and now lately, I've been I've been kind of judicious about collecting them. 

And so I thought we'd spend a couple of minutes just chatting about how you go about doing that. You know, what the resistance is, maybe two, but then how to collect them and what to collect and what to look for and that sort of thing.

So you want to, you want to, you got, you got any thoughts? I do. 

The resistance is fear that someone's not going to say nice things about you, or they're going to say, look, I'd prefer not to. And I've had people say that to me. 

You know, I have a client in my coaching business who's great. He loves me. He says great things about me. 

I'm like, I use a testimonial and he says, no, because I don't want people to know them being coached because of the world he's in. That's nothing to do with me. 

He's like, you know, if you want someone to call me, that's fine. I'll be happy to be a reference to someone. That be great, but I just don't want you to publicly put out...  You probably have gone through the same thing a little bit.

I suppose that's one area of resistance. 

  I think the other area of resistance is that people are afraid to let others know what their secret is. Brendan helps me with my company and if the world finds out that Brendan's really good, my competitor's gonna use Brendan's.

And then I've lost my competitive advantage. I've heard that from people several times and it it's totally specious, but you can't talk them out of it. But the real big thing is most of us don't have a system in place to make sure we get those testimonials. Or we feel like we're only going to get them when someone gives them to us voluntarily, which will rarely happen.

 Another resistance is  the lack of desire for self promotion. The discomfort with self promotion or, or humility. The idea that you're going out and say, Hey, could you give me a testimonial has a certain self-promotion component to it. And I think people  get a little uncomfortable with that.

Ego stroking and all that, 

but it it's like you're going out looking for it.

And it's, it's sort of immodest. 

But if you don't look for it, it won't come. Right. Very few people just call you up and go, Hey, I'd like to give you a testimonial, grab your notepad. I want to give you the 

words. Yeah,  you, you have to ask, so maybe that's where 

you go. 

One of the other things Brendan that I do that I've found is really helpful is I will say to people, Hey, I'd love to get testimonial from you over the last six months or eight months.

You've said a couple of things. I recall you saying this, this and this, I'll say this in an email, or I'll say this in a phone call and I'll say to him, how about if I send you those comments and maybe you can put something together? 

Giving them the starting point.  I don't know if you know, but as the person who has to write a testimonial for someone, so I'm going through this with you.

Believe it or not. I, how long has it been? Two, three months. 

It takes, it takes months. I know.  

I'll be honest with you. I think it's really helpful for people to hear this. I don't know what to say. It's not that I'm not incredibly fond of you. It's not that I don't appreciate what you do.

It's just, I don't know what I say that helps you get where you want it. Yeah, I think that's the problem as the person seeking the testimonials, you have to orient the person. Like if I say to someone had love you to talk about my my help with your mindset, like, oh, okay. Real quick. Yeah. It's just too broad.

And I think that really is one of the areas that I've learned is you've got to just help get people focused. I really love you to talk about my customer service or really like you to talk about my understanding of business principles. Once you give them an orientation, it's a lot easier. Like with you.

I have no idea. If you said to me, Bob, I really would like you to talk to me about how I'm a thought leader done. Bob. I'd really like you to talk to me about how I do great workshops done. 

Hey, I'd really like to talk to you about how I have a really good rapport with people that I established quickly. Easy. But with all the opportunities and all the things I've seen you, it's very hard to compress that into three sentences. 


because that makes sense. Yeah, it does. Yeah. So how do you,  you have to go and get them. So we've gotten over the resistance. And so now it's... how do you ask? How do you ask them? I think if you've got a good customer they're probably really quite happy to do it most of the time.

You've outlined a couple of instances when they don't want to, because they don't want their competitors to find out. Or because  they don't want people know they're they're, they're they're getting... imagine marriage counselors have a real hard time getting testimonials.

So the resistance mostly is on our side at the person. So, so when you ask, there are a couple of elements. One is timing. Ideally.  If you can to ask when it's fresh in their mind, and when there's a positive moment, like you've had a really good session. You just delivered on something really good sales quarter.

Yeah. W w whatever. And the other thing I like to do is I make this part of the process, the sales process upfront that I'm expecting. Yeah. I mean,  this is one of the things...  It's part of this success journey that I kind of planned for, and that is.

Listen, these are the things that are going to happen on the way... that is part of the sales process. And one of the things in sales process is... you're going to be successful. And  when you're successful,  you're going to talk about it. And so it sets up an expectation upfront that, A,  they're going to be successful.

And, B,  part of their role is they're going to comment on it.  They're going to have a testimony. They're going to be a reference and so that kind of sets that up to make it a little easier. Hey, we got through this threshold. We're here, we're celebrating.

Could you say something nice? What would you say and so forth? So timing helps. And then, you mentioned this, what do they say? And if you can write things for them and they don't even have to be exact words, but bullet points that get them started, Hey, here's some things that would be helpful.

You might say something like this.

And if you could write something out... and in fact I've had customers say that to me...

hey, will you tell me what to write? You write it. If you write me something... I had this the other day I'm collecting. Yep. And one of the things that's kind of funny is people don't mind doing it.

They don't mind giving you a reference. Yeah. They don't mind. They just, they just kind of 


honored. Yeah. Yeah. You want my opinion? You want to use that 

exactly. An example of success to you. Wow. That's 

really cool. Brendan. Yeah. But that's the part we don't think about.. 

Yeah, we did actually.

And I've had a couple of cases where I've done it and it's really helped deepen the relationship with the client. 


No, because they go, wow, really? You want me to do that? Like, yes I do. Wow. Yes. Are you really like working with me? 

Yeah. It's sort of at some way, it sort of solidifies the obligation that you have to the customer that I've done good work for you.

You're saying it. I better keep doing good work for you because you've given me a testimonial. And so I have a certain obligation. So maybe it even locks you in a little bit. I don't know what the psychology that psychology is kind of interesting. So, so what do you want in the, 

I like that that's really, that would be some really good research.

You know, you're making, it's a contract of a sort. you know, I've, I've asked for it. 

Testimonial lock-in, 

that'd be a really good book. 

Yeah. I don't know if it's a book. It might be a blog post, but a 

book is a blog post, 

right. So many. Can we get on that list? So, so what, what do you want in a testimonial?

I guess you want specifics. As much as you can, if you can.

You also want it to sound like a human being.  The testimonials that sound like you wrote it for the person and it says all your marketing speak. 

Yes. You do not want that. 

You don't want that. And you don't want it to be an epic. An 80 sentence testimonial is not going to get read.

  You're talking a couple sentences. Like if you sent me 80 sentences, I would compress. I'd just say, here are the three I'm going to use. 

Yeah. It's more important to have a lot of them than have a few long ones. 

It's social proof of what you're saying.


You know... if someone wants to write an epic, then you might use pieces of it here and different pieces of it there, but whatever you put out in the public domain, it has to be readable. I 

didn't want to throw one caution, Brendan, you can't just take an email that your customer sent you that says nice things and use it as a testimonial.

You really need to get their permission to use it. 


just a one. Make sure we highlight that because I've seen that happen a number of times, like, oh wow, that's great testimonial. Oh yeah. They sent me an email. I'm like, well, and 

the way to do that is, Hey, this is great. You might've used this. Right. This is really nice.

Very generous of you. Mind if I use this? And I need a picture.

We're older guys, but video testimonials are amazingly valuable in the world today. 

Well, that was, yeah, that was next on my list to 

get video testimonials, because you can always turn into the words on a sheet of paper. Hard to get video... but if you can get some, just pull out their phone. And talk about how great you are.

There's something about that video that's different than a two sentence blurb. 

My phone has a camera on it and it takes video. Does yours? It does. Yes. See... most people do. So there's no excuse not to be able to do that. That's right. And so if you can get a... if you can get a one minute, or stand 

in front of your customer and just say... hey, can you talk about what we've done together?

Yeah. How has it helped your company? Boom! Just shoot it. Shoot it horizontal. Make sure the background's not bad. And I I've done that. A couple of. 

Yeah. So, so I think the lesson here is do this. Do not let these things slip by. These are one of the most important things most early stage founders and entrepreneurs can have.

Consultants, freelancers... having testimonials and then putting them on your website, having them available, having them as references, keeping a list. 

Being able to email them to people when they're like, Hey, can you send me some testimonials. Or can you send me references? I always send the references with the testimonials.

 And one other thing before we drop off here on this one is... ask people to write it on Twitter.. Hey, you do someone a solid w and w I was doing this for awhile to get back on LinkedIn, where you say... hey, could you say something nice about me on Twitter? That would be really great.

And then  you've got it... it's there forever, like forever. And yeah, so, so I think, yeah, I 

guess a whole bunch of testimonials on MySpace. 

Dude, those are forever. I had to think about MySpace. There's a lesson there. Timing. Everything is timing. My space is Facebook just at the wrong time.

The iPhone is just the Palm pilot  at the right time. Right? Yeah. So it sounds like a whole episode. That's a timing. Timing is timing is so important. 

We should do that.

All right. I think this one's in the can. So I think we're good. So listen. No, I think it's quite good. So anyway, if you're out there listening... make sure, make sure you've got your collecting your testimonials and your references. And do it now.

And then if you want post them in the in the Doobly- Doo.  If you got a good one, send it to us. We'll it. All right. 

Just reading testimonials. 

All right. Say goodbye, Bob. 


Bob. All right. Talk soon. 

Okay. That was another episode of Let's Chat Sales.  I hope you liked it. And please feel free to share it. If you've got comments, send them to us at hello@letschatsales.Com. And share with your friends and all that stuff. So thanks for listening and check out this episode. If you're watching, if you're listening, you don't know what I'm doing.