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TJ Tedesco

View from Mount Olympus

By TJ Tedesco

About TJ

T.J. is team leader of Grow Sales, Inc., a marketing and social media services company operating at the intersection of compelling content, clear vision and quality communication practices. In this blog, fire is a metaphor for print. Hang on, this ride will be weird...

Prometheus crept into Mt. Olympus, stole fire, returned to the lowlands, ran from house to house distributing it, got caught, was chained to a rock, lost his liver to a huge ugly bird and was rescued by Hercules. Leveraging his fame, Prometheus started Fire Enterprises Inc.  (FEI). Since fire was the hottest technology of the time, company success came fast and furious. Two generations later, fire isn't such an easy sale. Now led by Prometheus' grandson Org, FEI's growth is non-existent, competitors are pounding and prices are in the toilet.
 

Customer Testimonials Set Your Business Apart

 

Last week Fire Enterprises (FEI) Sales Tribe Leader Zoot wrapped up a series of discussions with sales apprentice Helios on the four attributes salespeople need to succeed. This week, Marka teaches rookie customer-service rep Aetius the value of customer testimonials. Remember, fire = print.

One afternoon Marka walked by Aetius’s desk as he was talking with a customer on the O-phone.

“Oh, that’s great to hear! Thanks for your call!” Aeitus hung up and noticed Marka.

“Who was that?” Marka asked.

“One of our customers—Flora from Flora’s Flowers. For the past year they’ve used FEI fire to heat their greenhouses. Our fire is so strong and consistent that they now grow flowers that are on average 20 percent larger—which means, of course, that they can sell ‘em for much more!”

Marka was pleased to hear about this positive customer experience. “Did you write down what she said?” Marka asked.

Aetius looked at her blankly, blinking his eyes slowly.

Marka let out the faintest of sighs and asked, “Why don’t you call Flora back and ask for a brief testimonial? She can repeat what she just said, or she can write up her thoughts and O-mail them to us.”

“Why?” Aeitus asked. “Flora’s just one customer—will any of our prospects actually care about her experience?”

“Of course!” Marka exclaimed, a little frustrated that Aeitus was missing the point. FEI’s success derives from our ability to say what we do and do what we say. Every day, our sales, marketing, and customer service departments do a pretty good job at telling prospects and customers what we do. Proof points such as testimonials are valuable because they allow us to show that FEI’s fire solutions actually do what we say they do.”

“What are some other examples of proof points?” Aeitus asked.

Marka listed a few:

  • Case studies
  • Baseline studies (Case studies without an ROI statement)
  • Whitepapers
  • Monographs

“We’ll discuss these in more detail later,” Marka said. “For now, just understand that these are all different ways of showing that we fulfill the bold promises that marketing and customer service make.”

Aeitus thought a moment. “I see the benefits,” he said. “Many people are naturally skeptical of claims a business makes about its products or services. Supporting these claims with compelling, real-life testimonials will make our sales and marketing messages more believable.”

“So why don’t you give Flora a ring?” Marka suggested.

“Will do!” Aeitus called Flora back and, sure enough, secured a glowing testimonial:

“Before FEI, my greenhouse wasn’t optimally heated, resulting in flowers that didn’t grow as tall as they could have. I knew I was losing potential revenue because of this. Just days after installing FEI’s NeVr-Go-Out heating system, I had already noticed my flowers growing taller. A year later I looked back at my records and found that FEI had allowed me to grow flowers that were 20 percent larger on average, which had translated to more than $4K Drachmas of additional revenue. Considering that FEI’s system cost only about $1K Drachmas, this has been a terrific return on investment!”

—Flora Dora
Flora’s Flowers


After reading Flora’s testimonial, Marka said to Aeitus: “This testimonial is a good start.”

“Start?”

“Look at the compelling ROI statement Flora included! Flora’s Flowers is perfect to spotlight for a case study. Let’s contact her again and see if she’ll give us more details.”

“You got it!” Aeitus said.

Next week: Marka teaches Aeitus how to create an effective business case study.

Today’s FIRE! Point

Success in business derives from your ability to say what you do and do what you say. Proof points such as testimonials are valuable because they allow your printing company to show that your solutions actually do what you say they do.

FIRE! In Action: Placement of Testimonials Matters
Michael Aagaard of ContentVerve ran an A/B test on the landing page of an ebook he was offering—the A control put four testimonials below the order button, while the B variable put two above and two below. The B variable achieved almost 65 percent more downloads.

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