In yesterday’s post, we looked at a strategic approach to getting customer testimonials for your product or service (we’ll say product from here on, but the advice applies to services as well).  I thought it would help to give an example of this approach in use:

Let’s suppose your product is a car-rental service, operating exclusively in central Florida, called Sunrise Rent-a-Car.  Here’s how your brand statement might look:

For budget-conscious families and business travelers coming to central Florida, Sunrise Rent-a-Car provides higher-quality vehicles and better service than the national car-rental giants.  Sunrise makes your visit to central Florida easier and more pleasant, because we:

  • deliver your rental to you at curbside, just outside of baggage claim
  • add points to the airline-miles account of your choice every time you rent from us
  • guarantee that every car we rent will get at least 35 mpg, saving you on fuel costs
  • provide with every rental a Garmin GPS for the customer to use during his/her visit

Remember, you don’t need—and probably shouldn’t have—one testimonial that covers all these points. The impact on your prospects will be greater if you have (on your web site or other marketing communications) a series of shorter, easier-to-read testimonials, each focusing on one or at most two of these benefits.

It’s usually much easier to get these shorter statements from your customers, because you will be asking them to “testify about” a specific benefit(s).

That doesn’t mean all your testimonials are equal in value, of course.  In the brand statement above, the words in bold type are your product’s primary benefits—the words that you want your audience to associate most strongly with your product. For each of these benefits, your first step is to acquire either one great testimonial, or a minimum of two very good ones.

For now I’ll leave it up to you to decide what makes a testimonial great (or very good), based on your own knowledge of your industry and the players in it.

But don’t wait until you’ve got these primary-benefit testimonials before pursuing the ones that reflect your brand statement’s supporting bullets.  You need “stars” as well as “supporting actors” in your testimonial production—because neither type can win over your prospects all by themselves.