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123rf26236956 largeImagine that you were involved in a legal battle and your lawyer tells the judge that you are an honest upstanding corporate citizen and in his opinion you shouldn't be subjected to these allegations. He enthusiastically requests the judge to dismiss the case.

If that were how your case was presented by your lawyer, with only claims and opinions and no facts or evidence to support the claims,

how do you think the judge would respond

how do you think the judge would respond to your lawyer’s request of a dismissal? It’s almost certain the judge would not dismiss the case and let the case go to court where the claims made by your lawyer could be presented and backed by solid evidence refuting the allegations.

As sales professionals, we also need to provide evidence. We need to validate the claims we make about the features and – more importantly – the benefits that we are suggesting our products and services provide. If we, as the sales professional make a statement about our product or service, it's often seen as self-serving at best and likely an untruth. But, if the prospect or client says it's true,

it goes from BS on the hoof to a sizzling sirloin on a plate

it goes from BS on the hoof to a sizzling sirloin on a plate that is eagerly consumed (apologies to vegans everywhere).

Sometimes getting evidence from a satisfied client is very easy.

Sometimes getting evidence from a satisfied client is very easy. In a few cases they may even provide an unsolicited testimonial. Recently I had a client offer to take calls from my prospects directly on his cell phone because he so strongly believes in the value he has received.

He told me that he welcomes the opportunity to answer questions that any prospect may have because of the future-altering experience he had and the massive benefits he's realizing. He says he's gotten more done in the last four months than he had in the last five years and has had the passion needed to run a successful business rekindled.

It's not always a slam dunk getting the evidence we need:

It's not always a slam dunk getting the evidence we need: a personal, attributable statement. Just as a lawyer would look for witnesses and use their sworn testimony to win their case; you’ll have to find the people and get them to produce validating testimony to use in the notoriously tough court of public skepticism.

Getting that kind of proof means we need to be fanatical about getting good testimonials.

I have found that asking for testimonials is quite easy.

I have found that asking for testimonials is quite easy. I almost always get a resounding, “Yes, I would love to.” However, actually getting the testimonials requires persistence without becoming a pest.

I don't get all of the testimonials that were promised to me, but I do get enough that I can leverage in a variety of ways. (See this article on sales resistance D.E.F.E.A.T.S.)

Here are some of the tools, tactics, and times that I have found work

Here are some of the tools, tactics, and times that I have found work to increase the number of testimonials that I collect:

  • LinkedIn endorsements and recommendations.
  • Edification videos, such as videos from a client attending a workshop. I have posted these on YouTube and LinkedIn. Clients often ask for these in advance of their coaching sessions.
  • Social media through live video posts on Facebook and Periscope
  • Anytime I speak to a group I capture a video of the speech or have an evaluation form to capture comments. I make sure they sign a release so comments can later be used in marketing.

    (There is just one thing between “sue” and “sure,” so don’t forget the signed release forms.)

    (There is just one thing between “sue” and “sure,” so don’t forget the signed release forms.)
  • When holding a coaching or training event.
  • During my coaching sessions.

The key to making this work for you

I position the testimonial in advance and let people know that I am looking for their help in making it easy for others that are considering retaining me to make up their minds to use me. I often use an evaluation form that asks for their feedback and permission to use their testimonials. I'll ask them to do a video testimonial and use my smart phone to record it. This makes it obvious it’s from the heart and not scripted.

-        By Coach Phil Gilkes

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