Part 3 of a 3 part series
Testing our Testimonials.
What are our testimonials really telling us? Do we know what words we’d love to hear people say about our business? How clear are we on the words we want associated with our trade, service or organisation?
Here’s a little exercise we can do. Write down what we’d love people to say about our business. Now let’s compare the words we’ve written down to the actual descriptive words people have said about us and our business in the testimonials and comments they’ve made about us. Are they in any way similar? Or is there a vast chasm between the two?
We need to be clear about what our key message is, and constantly strive to achieve having that mirrored back in the testimonials we receive.
If we’ve ever prepared a dinner for guests and been told “the food was okay” when were expecting “the food was superb,” we could be forgiven for thinking there was a subliminal message there that the dinner wasn’t as great as we thought it was.
Are the words being said about our business, and the mental images they conjure, in harmony with those we passionately desire for our business? What’s not being said that we want said?
If the actual words and descriptions we desire are being left unsaid do we simply ignore that fact, or do we choose to tackle this as a problem and ensure that in future we are delivering a product or service which brings the two into harmony?
We can test our testimonials for unsaid market feedback which helps us understand if our own personal belief about our business, product or service is accurate or not.
What if we think we deliver the best service in the marketplace, but it’s actually only ‘okay’ (according to our prospects and customers) in comparison to the products or service of our competition?
How can we know what our customers think if we don’t seek market feedback? If we’re not listening carefully to our market, we are in fact driving our business ‘hearing impaired.’ And that’s a scary thought because it means we’re investing time and money into a business that is sensory deprived in a key communications area – and we don’t even know it!
What if our business is being run more on wishful thinking, or on our own need to believe we’ve got it all together, rather than the cold hard facts of realtime and accurate market feedback.
We can only know the answer to these questions by determining to find the truth. Once we have the answer it’s simply a matter of harnessing all our creative juices in addressing and rectifying the situation.
We can always ‘do’ better in business (and in life). Especially if we make a habit of seeking market feedback, and using it to improve our business and our results.
If we don’t have a large client base, or a decent amount of testimonials to analyse, we can simply conduct a multiple choice survey with our staff, clients, customers, or prospects.
By formulating the right questions – the right way – it’s easy to unearth true opinions in relation to our business and service. People have a wonderful capacity for sharing incredibly valuable information and market feedback with us, such as; how happy they are with us: what they want: how they want it: why they want what they want: their short and long-term plans and life goals: if they really were happy with our product or service: their buying habits and patterns: their financial capacity to proceed: their current level of need or desire for our product or service: who the real decision makers are, and so much more – if they are rewarded, or feel safe doing it.
We need to look for ways to create genuine meaningful dialogue with our prospects, clients, customers, associates and staff so that they are comfortable ‘telling it like it is?’ This is paramount to us remaining alive, alert, awake and profitable in a marketplace that never sleeps.
Businesses that scoot along lacking this type of feedback and intelligence are shooting blind, releasing vast sums of marketing dollars into the atmosphere – dollars they can’t afford to lose, which they’ll never see again. That kind of waste might be fine for billionaires funding hobbies, but it’s something the rest of us usually can’t afford.
Most of us need each marketing dollar to count, and can’t afford to watch it just float off into the wide blue yonder, completely out of our reach, and never in sight of our niche market.
Truly ingenious businesses aren’t perfect, but they do actively devise and plan ways to continually create opportunities to engage in genuine and meaningful dialogue with their customers, prospects, clients, staff and associates.
Without meaningful dialogue there’s no hope of understanding what’s expected of us, what our market wants, when we’ve delivered, if they’re happy with us, or even if a sudden market shift has permanently altered the landscape we’re operating in (and our customers are often the first people in the know in relation to this one).
We can only ever benefit from engaging in a dialogue that develops mutual trust, confidence and loyalty between us and our customers, clients, prospects or employees. And especially if we approach our communications with the understanding that our way of seeing things may not be the best way.
Or we can choose to operate our business in denial and leave things as they are. That’s the great thing about life in a free market, there’s always a choice.
How do you engage with your clients so you have your finger is on the pulse, and they remain loyal? I’d love to hear from you.
Gaye Crispin is a sales and marketing trainer, artist and writer. By the time Gaye was 25 years old she already owned 3 businesses, including a restaurant and a Solace Window Tinting Franchise.
In 1988 Gaye established a large telemarketing organization in Sydney, which was the first of its kind to market residential investment property to interstate investors over the phone. Her system was so successful and cost-effective that it quickly became the standard throughout the industry, and is still in use today.
She has successfully designed and implemented sales and marketing systems for motor vehicle accessories, art, skin care, health food, advertising, insolvency services, credit management systems, seminars and investment products.
Gaye has a debt collection and credit management agency, and the founder of Women On Top Business Planning, a group of individually successful business women who are passionate about helping business owners write powerful business or action plans for their business.