Use Testimonials to Overcome Fear

by Rob Wicker

The predominant emotion in the marketplace is fear. Everyone has gotten burned in one way or the other (real estate, stock market, job loss, retirement fund). You need to find ways to reassure prospects that hiring you is the right decision.

An easy way to do this is through testimonials from past clients who have a high regard for your professionalism and expertise. Remember, however, that for a testimonial to have an impact, it needs to be specific. Vagueness is the enemy of a powerful testimonial.

For example, “Howard Smith did a great job in helping us find our condo” is the sort of thing you see all the time. Boring and forgettable is how I would describe this quotation. The generic testimonial fails because it doesn’t address a specific objection (or fear) held by the prospect.

Blogger Sean D’Sousa does a nice job of addressing this issue on the Coppyblogger website. D’Sousa gives the example of a travel agent selling a trip to see wildlife on the Galapagos Islands. This would obviously be an exciting trip, but there would be concerns in the mind of the prospect, such as:

1. It’s too expensive
2. It’s too far to travel
3. There are no comfortable accommodations

Let’s assume that these are the three main objections. Here’s how D’Sousa would defuse these objections with testimonials:

1. I thought it was too expensive, but (here’s what I found)
2. I thought it was too far to travel, but (here’s what I found)
3. I thought we’d have to rough it, but (here’s what I found)

The prospect’s mind is pacified and he sees himself in the Galapagos Islands.

What are your prospects afraid of? Make a list. Contact clients who would be willing to give you a testimonial. Make sure your past clients are specific about how you helped them. Use these testimonials in your print ads, listing presentations, marketing materials and website. Testimonials are a powerful way to influence customer behavior.

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