How Testimonials Can Put You in the Spotlight
If you need evidence that a testimonial or referral can help you, let me tell you a personal story:
My friend Dave raved about his boss all the time. "She knows I'm still in school," he said, "so she always asks about my schedule."
"She's really smart, too," he added. "The company wants to promote her, but she keeps telling them she really trained to teach. She's just waiting for a job opening."
"Hey," I stopped him, "if she's so great, why don't you take her out?"
"Nah," he said. "She's too old for me."
"So, how old is she?" I shot back. "30?40?more?"
"Nope?she's 23. That's about right for you. Want me to get you a date with her?"
Not wanting to appear desperate - which I was -- I hesitated, then said, "I guess that's OK. How about tomorrow?" Well, he set us up.
Did the date work out? I guess so. Twenty-plus years later we're still happily married.
Bottom line: I'm amazed, bewildered, and confused that companies don't use testimonials - or appropriate anecdotes - more often than they do.
I'm also surprised that when somebody sends me a resume', it sometimes leaves out a list of references.
Potential customers - or employers - want to know what you can do well. The endorsement of another person who knows and works with you can mean a lot.
Rix Quinn writes a weekly syndicated humor column, and serves as a writing consultant to schools, colleges, and business groups.
For more details on testimonials, see Chapter 3 of Rix's book "Words That Stick." It's available from you local bookstore, or http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1580085768/qid/
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Are your direct mail response rates lower than you expect? Check your sales letter or direct mail package against this checklist to uncover the reasons for your poor response.LISTYou are mailing to people who are never likely to buyYou are not mailing to others in the same business who influence the buying decisionYour list is out of dateYour names and addresses are not formatted correctly for proper deliveryYour list has job titles only, not namesFORMATYou are using the wrong format for your audience (self-mailers to professionals, for example)Your letter and brochure are not complete sales pitches in themselvesYour liftnote or buckslip confuses your offer or main selling promiseENVELOPEYour envelope gives too much away, so your prospects throw it away unopenedYour mailing envelope looks like junk mailYour package is addressed to "Occupant" and not to a person by nameMESSAGEYour letter lacks a strong, customer-focussed headlineThe opening line in your letter is not compellingYou spell your prospective customer's name incorrectlyYour letter lacks specifics about product size, weight, color and other vital detailsYou discuss product features but not customer benefitsYou talk too much about your company and not enough about your readerYou do not create enough desireYour letter lacks urgencyYou do not offer a guaranteeOFFERYou are offering the same thing that your competitors are offeringYour offer is not specificYour offer is not exclusiveYour offer is not relevantYour offer is not valuableYour offer is not uniqueYour offer is not usefulCALL TO ACTIONYou do not ask for the orderYou ask for the order, but too late in your letterYou conclude by saying, "If you have any questions, don't hesitate to contact me"You give too many ways to respond-or not enoughREPLY DEVICEYour reply device is too clutteredYou do not tell prospects what to do to buy your product or serviceYour reply device is not postage-paidTIMINGYou are mailing at the wrong time of the yearYour letter is arriving on the wrong day of the weekYou are mailing too often, so prospects ignore youYou are not mailing often enough, so prospects do not remember youAbout the authorAlan Sharpe is a business-to-business direct mail copywriter who helps business owners and marketing managers generate leads, close sales and retain customers using creative direct mail.
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