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Leveraging Credibility in the Sales Process

FROM BULLETPROOF SELLING:

The best credibility doesn’t come from mentioning past clients – it comes from past clients themselves. 

From Chapter 13:
Enlisting Clients as Partners System
Trigger: Occurs as soon as a client has received your product or service and is pleased with its results.
Bulletproof Impact: Every past client enlisted as an advocate to tell other decision makers why they should take time to meet with and buy from you. Captured in text and video, client testimonials provide reasons to reach out to prospects with value-added information and represent an opportunity to grow their own networks.
How do we leverage reviews of our product or service in a way that puts every past client on call as a selling partner?
Testimonials.
But not the kind you’re probably familiar with.
Let’s look at the ways most companies use testimonials, if they have them at all. Most of the time, they are in written form, composed by random people within our clients’ organizations, and rarely leave our company’s website, meaning that unless a prospect stumbles upon them, there’s little chance they’ll be seen by anyone. Ever. On top of that, few testimonials feature the picture or even company name of the people who wrote them, which often raises doubts as to their authenticity.
But let’s say that your company is doing an exceptional job with your testimonials and bothers to include a headshot and the company name of the person who left you the review. There are still gaps in leveraging one of the most powerful tools in your Bulletproof sales kit. First, the question anyone has when perusing a testimonial about your product or service is, “Does the person in the testimonial have my responsibilities, concerns and duties?” Few testimonials, even those that have headshots and company names, bother to address this. The second way most companies drop the ball with their testimonials is making them completely passive. Unless someone stumbles upon them while visiting your website, they’re not likely to be seen outside your IT or marketing team.
With the right kind of testimonial, in the right format, and used in the right way, we have the potential of recruiting every decision maker we’ve ever done business with as an on-call representative for our own sales and marketing team.
To accomplish it, we’ll need to change three things about the way most companies gather and leverage testimonials: format, source, and location.
Testimonial Format:
Video content is the primary source decision makers – or anyone these days, for that matter – consume when it comes to content. There’s a reason YouTube is the second most popular search engine on the planet. To turn every decision maker we serve into a personal advocate for our business, each salesperson on your team should be trained and tasked with creating testimonials using video footage and post-delivery interviews with their buyers as part of their post-sale system – a simple process we’ll cover below.
Testimonial Source:
Some companies believe in treating their products like Amazon.com listings, thinking the more ‘5 star’ reviews they have, the better. Unfortunately, most businesses’ testimonials are a waste of time. Why? Not everyone in a prospect’s company is responsible for making the decision to purchase our product or service. Decision makers want to hear from their peers so they can mitigate risk. While the opinion of a blue-collar employee from the warehouse or supply chain might be better than no testimonial at all, it takes a lot of them to sway an executive’s decision to take a risk. Alternatively, it often only takes one other executive in their industry singing your company’s praises to sway a buying decision.
Testimonial Location:
Before we dive into how to systemize the use of these high-level testimonials, we need to cover perhaps the most overlooked aspect of testimonials, especially video testimonials: their location, specifically where a prospect views them.
While there are many paid video-hosting platforms that allow for gathering metrics, controlling follow-up videos, and presenting calls-to-action, most salespeople and organizations standing up their own testimonial video strategy will be starting with the free platform for hosting their videos: YouTube.
YouTube is great for a lot of things, especially videos of cats doing silly things. But it’s not the best resource for salespeople to send prospects to when leveraging testimonial videos within outreach campaigns. Testimonial videos have to be hosted somewhere, and they can definitely be hosted on YouTube. However, they don’t have to be viewed on YouTube. The danger in sending a prospect to your company’s YouTube channel or dropping a YouTube link in an email is that not only will prospects see your video, they’ll also see thumbnails of every other video YouTube wants them to see while your video is running. That’s way too many distractions for even the most focused prospect. Instead, we have the ability to control what a prospect sees around your testimonial videos, including other products and services you offer that might interest them, the ability to schedule time to meet with your salespeople, and of course, the option to see other testimonial videos from satisfied clients with their job titles. The best part? Where a prospect views your testimonials is a resource your company likely already has in place – your own website.
Your company’s website is the best piece of standalone marketing you have for whatever you sell, and if you could get more qualified prospects to visit it, the more awards your marketing team would win. There’s a billion-dollar industry called Search Engine Optimization (SEO) that exists to accomplish that very thing. While SEO is great, all it can do is help get an interested visitor onto your company’s ‘real estate,’ and even the best SEO won’t help with websites that don’t convert prospects to conversations that generate sales. As part of your Bulletproof system, your sales teams can be the ones driving qualified traffic to your company’s website as part of their sales campaigns.
Systemizing Success with the Enlisting Clients as Partners System
Your IT and marketing department can easily create parentless pages, which are pages that cannot be found within your website’s menu drop-down choices, but instead require a unique URL to access. Here, you can create a page specifically for each testimonial video, with links below it to schedule time with one of your salespeople, fill out an inquiry form, or whatever next steps your sales require. Testimonial videos can then be linked from where they’re hosted on YouTube and appear on your website’s parentless pages. We recommend not hosting more than one testimonial video per parentless page, as you’ll want your salespeople to be able to title them something like: ‘A message from Jim Smith, VP of Operations at the Widget Manufacturing Corporation.’ You can definitely load your collective testimonials onto a single page that is accessible from your website’s main menu as a mega-credibility video roll.
Regardless of how many testimonials you post onto any website page, make sure it’s your company’s website you’re sending prospects to for testimonials. When a prospect finishes viewing a message from someone like them, you want them exploring all the ways your company helps companies like theirs, not exploring what silly cat tricks have been released that week on YouTube.
Capturing Decision-Maker Testimonials
To create these kinds of high-level recommendations, your salespeople should schedule periodic check-ins with client accounts to ensure everything is working properly, gather referrals, and of course to get video testimonials. While the ramp-up and onboarding time of some products and services are longer than others, the important thing is that your sales team decides on a reasonable timeline to check in with new clients to fix any problems and secure testimonial footage, making that a scheduled part of your client onboarding system. The interview itself can be as simple as asking decision makers for a 30-45 second interview with their name, job title, why they chose your company, and what they’d tell another decision maker who’s thinking of buying your product or service.
When we started coaching our clients in how to secure these testimonials, we advocated that they start with a video interview with their decision maker in a head-and-shoulders frame. Testimonial effectiveness skyrocketed, however, when clients began grabbing ‘B-roll,’ or footage of their product or service being used, that could be shown on the screen while the decision maker being interviewed shared their thoughts. If you never have contact with the end-user of your product because of your supply or distribution channel, your B-roll can be footage of your product being delivered, installed, or serviced by your team. The end product of this system is a mini commercial that’s not you talking about how awesome you are, but rather the person responsible for purchasing sharing their thoughts along with footage of them and their employees using your product or service.
The video can be captured with a smart phone, and the editing can be done by an employee with basic video editing skills or cheaply outsourced. If your company sells to decision makers in various industries or geographies, your testimonial videos can be categorized, segmented, and targeted to similar decision makers. To accomplish that, catalog your testimonial videos with tags for industry, type of decision maker, type of product or service, etc. and make them available to all your salespeople.
How should we coach clients in what to say on these testimonials? As most folk aren’t used to being on camera, we’ve discovered that it’s often easiest to provide willing clients with a quick script that can be quickly read to a decision maker before recording begins:
“Hi, this is (name), and I’m the (job title at company). We recently hired (the salesperson’s company) to help us (achieve the value proposition the product or service delivers). Here are the ways they delivered and exceeded our expectations …. If you’re a (job title of decision maker) and thinking of (achieving more in the area your product or service deliver results), it’s definitely worth your time to meet with the folks at (the salesperson’s company) to learn more.”
Using Decision-Maker Testimonials
Once you and your team have gathered a few of these high-level testimonials, we advise our clients to load each of them onto its own parentless webpage on your business’ site, in addition to creating a page where they all appear. Unless a company policy prohibits salespeople from leveraging each others’ accounts as references, all video testimonial links should be loaded onto a master sheet along with the decision maker name, company name, and industry.
These video testimonials can then be programmed as part of the value-added messaging within email templates throughout your campaign systems – both as stand-alone messages and as potential introductions to other decision makers. They can also be included in follow-up emails after a conversation with a decision maker has occurred. Don’t make the same mistake with your video testimonials you might have been making with your generic testimonials by leaving them to languish on a website page.
Video testimonials, like all testimonials, are most effective if prospects with similar job titles actually see them. Don’t leave that to chance.
While enlisting past prospects onto your sales team is a standalone system worth the price of this book many times over, it pales in comparison with our next system, where we’ll be showing you how to train current prospects to eliminate every competitor in your market.
 

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