Presentation: Testimonials and Reviews

Providing testimonials for fellow chapter members and colleagues is an extension of generating referrals. I will use the terms Reviews and Testimonials interchangeably. For search engines, Reviews is a better term to use on a website. People search for reviews, not testimonials. This is from a BNI article: The Art of an Excellent Testimonial.

  1. Testimonials must be given from a position of knowledge; you need to have used the goods or services before you can give a testimonial.
  2. Specificity is the key, how and why you used the product and how it performed. Include some basic details about your age and demographics.
  3. Honesty is the best policy. If there were glitches in performance but you were overall satisfied, include that information so that others can make an informed decision.  Be sure to acknowledge your own role in any shortcomings.
  4. If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all—at least in public.  If you truly had a poor experience, take it directly to the company or person to correct the situation.
  5. Short is sweet. You can give a great testimonial without giving two paragraphs of back story about why you decided to use the service.
  6. Put it in writing.  The very best gift you can give a company or person is your testimonial in writing.  Whether you write an online review or speak up in a meeting, putting it on paper gives them something tangible that they can use to market themselves even better.

In our chapter, we give a copy to the member, on paper, and we put a copy in the book. But that is ineffective. This is the first half of the 2nd decade of 21st century. We have to get with the times! Business owners can display it in their shops or on their websites, but there is lots of cynicism about reviews on websites.

If we want to truly help our fellow members: Put it online.

Reviews are strong links that show trust. Reviews are important to rank well in Google as well as propelling the Google Places listing. Get as many reviews as you possibly can on as many different sites as you can, this will help a lot in improving your ranking.

Review sites include Yelp, Urban Spoon, Trip Advisor. Google Places through Google+. There is a review site for just about every industry. Google goes through review sites. It helps drive traffic to websites. Post your review to social media. Facebook & Twitter. The reviews go out to your followers/friends. It is much more powerful if a friend sees that you used a particular service.

You should ask your clients for reviews, all the time, so there is steady stream, looks genuine. People are going to review you anyway. Since our natural tendency is to complain rather than praise, encourage people to review, so the good ones outweigh the bad. If you get a bad review, it can tell you where to improve. You can respond to turn the issue around. It makes it all look genuine.

How can we help each other?

With 30 members, if we put testimonials online for even half our number, each, we’d all have 15 positive online reviews. My goal: review all BNI testimonials and put them online.

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