Our guest says if you aren’t using testimonials, you’re missing out on a simple, but great tool for new business. Michael Gass is the founder of Fuel Lines Business Development, a firm which provides business development resources, training and consulting services to businesses like Platypus Advertising + Design. His blog, “Fuel Lines” has been rated among the top 100 marketing blogs in the world, according to Ad Age’s Power 150, and he is considered one of our country’s foremost authorities on social media.
Testimonials Should be a Priority
We may procrastinate or feel awkward about asking clients for testimonials, but according to Michael, a testimonial is as good as a referral for most prospects, and small-to-mid-sized companies depend on referrals. Michael is a business development consultant to advertising, digital and PR agencies. He says most agencies are missing the boat when they do not use testimonials, especially on their websites.
A website is an online brochure for your capabilities and services. Testimonials add credibility to what you do and validates your expertise. Testimonials are what clients are going to research and look for in advance of engaging with you.
You can also use testimonials as an endorsement on LinkedIn and on social media. Pictures and video work very well, as well as links back to your client. Michael says links are not only good for SEO, they make it that much easier for prospects to get references about you before they ask you for them.
If you are using celebrity endorsements, make sure the use of the celebrity is relevant to your brand and not just name-dropping.
Asking for Testimonials
Michael says timing is important when asking clients for testimonials. The best time is after you have completed a project and have seen positive results. You should also make the process easy for your client. If you are uncomfortable with writing a testimonial for the client to approve, ask them for a couple of sentences about you to make the reference more personal. You can edit those sentences, add a few thoughts and go back to the client for final approval.
The Battleground for New Business is Online
Michael got into social media before it was even called that. Web.O was a term that was batted around, and the geeks involved in social media were resistant to helping outsiders like Michael, who had an intuition about its future success. He tested everything, identified his target audience and started building a community around his audience. He created content of value to them and eventually became a thought leader in the marketing industry. Today, Michael has more than 100,000 Twitter followers, 40,000 subscribers to his newsletter and a tremendous amount of traffic that follows his niche blog, Fuel Lines.
As a consultant, Michael is using his experience to help agencies re-learn business development. The old way of prospecting was chasing new business. Today it is about being found. He advises agencies to identify a target audience, build a community and create a niche blog that will provide valuable content for their audience. In Michael’s 11 years as a consultant, he has never had to make a cold call. People come to him because prospects feel they know him from his blog, newsletter, website and social media posts. And, using testimonials has helped sell his services before prospects have even met him.
Connect with Michael