For a tradesperson, work tends to peak and trough. In busy times, you may not pay much attention to your marketing and advertising, but if you did continue to make self-promotion a priority, even when you’re run off your feet with work, the troughs may not be as deep or last as long.
Self-promotion doesn’t have to be arduous, and there are lots of things you can do. This post, however, is dedicated to the power of customer testimonials.
Many trades involve going into people’s homes. This will likely be something you’re used to. You know you’re reliable, that you’re a good guy or gal, and not someone who will rip off or intimidate some poor old lady who’s home alone, for example.
The thing is, if a customer hasn’t engaged your services before, they won’t know this about you. They won’t know how good a person you are – professionally or personally. That’s when testimonials come in useful, and there are numerous sites since the advent of the internet for someone to ‘check you out’ - such as ‘Trust a Trader’, ‘My Builder’, ‘My Local Toolbox’, ‘Check A Trade’ and ‘Rated People’ (there are probably many more). Whilst you can’t control on which platform testimonials appear, as long as you’re leaving your customers satisfied and they’re posting their approval on the net somewhere, it will be found by potential customers.
The problem with testimonials, however, is that customers don’t often leave them, even when they’re happy about the work you’ve done. It’s not that they wouldn’t give you a sparkling recommendation, they just don’t think about doing so. It’s up to you to prompt them, and this is something you can still do even if you’re run off your feet – it takes seconds to ask the question.
If you’re too embarrassed to ask, don’t be. You’re not forcing anyone to do anything they don’t want to do, you’re just planting the thought in your satisfied customer’s mind and leaving it with them. No one would think badly of you for asking, and it’s perfectly understandable why you need testimonials in today’s competitive marketplaces. If you’re still uncomfortable, have a postcard printed that prompts customers for a review, and hand this over with your invoice. It will soon become second nature to ask how you did at the end of a job.
Testimonials can highlight your skills, reassure prospective customers of their worries, and detail how you measure up against your competitors much better than you can. Though you could impart all the same information, it becomes more credible when it’s from people who have engaged your services. They’re unbiased, and they’ll more likely to list your flaws, which is why they’re trusted more than any claim in your own marketing.
Video testimonials are particularly powerful, as you can see a person’s expressions and strength of feeling as they give their review, something that you can’t get from a written endorsement.