Can I Talk To Some Of Your Previous Customers? Can I See Some Testimonials?

Continuing with the Fifth Part of our Series on the seven questions every builder has to answer to win a job. They were listed as follows:

  1. What kind of home can you offer, and can you do the home I want?
  2. How much will it cost? If that is too much; can we make it cost less?
  3. What is included in that price?
  4. Can I see some of your previous work?
  5. Can I talk to some of your previous customer? Have any given you a testimonial?
  6. Can I talk to any of your tradesmen and suppliers?
  7. If I build with you, what guarantee do I have that you will deliver, and won’t take advantage of my trust?

 

I am finally able to come back to this series and examine the fifth question, which involves eliminating any doubts that weigh on a customer’s mind before they make a decision.

Customers ask these questions even after they have mentally decided to select you as their builder. They go through a check list process, to make sure that they are not making a mistake.

So rather than be unsettled by these questions, we should anticipate them, and be excited and encouraged that the customers has requested testimonials. After all, the customers is really saying: “I want to buy, but why I should trust what you have been telling me?”

 

Customers Only Ask Questions When They Are Interested.

We are unsettled by these questions because they present us with a dilemma. The customer is interested in the proposal so that is a good thing, but they want to also be certain as to its merit, which is subjective, and we can’t always control the outcome. There is fear that their probing questions could expose a flaw in our offer or trigger some new doubt that could sabotage the entire process. It is a well-founded fear. If you are unprepared, the chances are high that you will stuff-it-up.

Let’s present a plan that may help you to avoid the trip-wires, eliminate nasty surprises, and anticipate and pre-empt the objections. Remember, the customer does not want you to fall at this hurdle, the only seek re-assurance that you can deliver on your promises.

We do this by using customer testimonials in a way that systematically addresses common objections, and perhaps even some of the more obscure ones.

 

Customer Testimonials – Fake Propaganda?

In general, people do not fully trust customer testimonials because they realise that most people will endorse a product even if it is only half decent. It is quite common to find effusive praise on business websites that are barely believable.

This is important to keep in mind, but it is equally important to be aware that a lack of customer testimonials is a glaring hole in your marketing. You must actively collect them but do so in a way that addresses the objections, rather than present a generalised fake enthusiasm that proclaims how wonderful you are.

You should highlight the concerns that confronted the customer when they were first evaluating whether they would do business with you and then get them to describe how these concerns were resolved.

The testimonial then takes the form of an objection (negative problem) and resolves it with an answer (positive solution) which will help to transform your customer testimonials into pro-active objection busters.

 

Construct Your Customer testimonials.

If you have ever collected testimonials, you will be aware that customers seldom want to be bothered with authoring the testimonial themselves and will often ask you to write it on their behalf. It is quite OK to do this, but your testimonials will acquire a stylistic uniformity. It is far better to compose the testimonial in the customers presence. Then, you can ask pertinent questions, and record their replies verbatim. If you can record the answers with a video camera, so much the better. Their answers can be edited down to bite sized responses to specific objections.

This transforms your testimonials from the fake enthusiasm and makes them more believable, and more useful. If the video seems unprofessional, it is more than compensated for by the credibility of the testimony of the customers themselves.

 

Problem – Solution Testimonials

The testimonial will then take on a format that is more useful to your potential customers.

  1. First you get them to state the issues that were important for them and the doubts they had before they decided to do business with you.
  2. Then you get them to tell how you/your service or process solved those issues for them, or how those doubts dissipated as they began the process of working through them with you.

The testimonials can be short and sweet:

We were concerned about what things would cost, and that we had no way of checking if we were being charged the right price, but we found that that John was very meticulous about getting us the best possible price from his suppliers, and we were able to take advantage of that and confidently make the choices that delivered us this fantastic result.”

OR

We were finding it difficult to find the right balance between spending up on the inclusions and getting value for money. John’s experience guided us through these difficult choices, and we are grateful for all his help throughout the whole process.”

… And so on.

By accumulating testimonials like this, and by making them freely available to your customers, in the form of printed material, emails, or video testimonials, you pre-empt the objections in a controlled manner, even raising and answering objections that prospective customers had not even been able to articulate.

You are now in a position to isolate any particular objection and address it by carefully selecting a real live customer as a reference point.

It may seem odd classifying your customers by the issues they had when they were deciding to do business with you, but really it is silly not to, if it is at all possible.

Existing and previous customers are an extremely valuable resource for any building company, so it is good business to take very good care of them. If you do that, these efforts will pay off handsomely when talking to your prospective customers. That is the meaning and essence of the ‘goodwill’ you accumulate as you conduct your business.

 

The next question to answer is;

Can I talk to any of your tradesmen and suppliers?