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For episode 185 of The Search Engine Journal Show, I had the opportunity to interview Davis Nguyen, Founder and CEO of My Consulting Offer.
Nguyen talks about customer testimonials – specifically how to get them and how to get the most out of them.
Why should people do testimonials at all? What’s the benefit to most people by having video testimonials?
Davis Nguyen (DN): You can erase my SEO knowledge, my Facebook ads knowledge. You can erase my product knowledge, get rid of the team. I love my team. But if there’s, like, one thing that I would take, it would be the testimonial videos that we currently have.
When new clients come to work with us, I have them take a mandatory intake survey. It’s kind of like getting us to know how we can best serve them.
And one of the questions we ask is, “What convinced you to work with us versus other people?”
And literally, about 89% of the time, people put, “The reviews, particularly the video testimonials you have on your page.” And so, I don’t think that could speak any louder than the ROI there.
Brent Csutoras (BC): I think testimonials, when it comes down to a conversion standpoint, are one of the single highest converting factors in a purchasing decision.
DN: Absolutely, as in, we felt the same way, too. Which is that all our testimonials are done video.
As in, I don’t accept text or any other form, just because I want people to be able to visually see the person.
You would have to be a really happy client or customer of ours to be able to willingly put your face on a video, and mention your name, background information.
Do you feel like video is so much better, that if you don’t have it, you shouldn’t even bother with a testimonial?
DN: Obviously, depends on the market, right?
If someone’s doing Amazon reviews, there isn’t much option to do a video.
But for our site, which we can completely control, there are people who come to us.
Most of the people who actually finish our program, they’re very camera shy, so they actually don’t offer a review.
So despite having over 70 videos on our site, most people who work with us actually don’t leave a review.
Not because they’re not a promoter, but because they’re just camera shy. But I leave options for them.
One is that they can actually leave an anonymous video, as in, we’ll cover up their face with our logo, and they don’t have to identify, but we still have at least an audio file, and most people go with that.
And I edit out, for example, if they accidentally say something I think I could Google and find them, we’ll remove that in the editing process, so they still feel comfortable. But you can still hear their voice going through the video.
When gathering testimonials, how do you determine who to ask and how do you ask them?
DN: I actually ask pretty much anyone who I feel has been through the program, whether it’s good, bad, or not.
The reason I do this is that you never know when you can find a testimonial, and how you would be able to use it, or someone who would benefit from it.
So there are testimonials I’ve collected where I think, “I’ll never use this,” and then later I’m like, “Oh, wow. They’re front and center.”
And so, even if people go through our program and don’t get completely the desired result they want, we still collect those.
But ideally, I prioritize the people who are complete promoters of our program. So it’s kind of like, they got the end result. They love us.
And obviously, if they’re good on camera, even better, but I guess I can’t control that.
But how I ask is I just put it shortly. I just shoot them an email and say, “Hey, congratulations on getting the results. Let’s have a catch-up call.”
And then on the catch-up call, if I feel like they had a great experience, I just ask them, “Would you feel comfortable joining our Wall of Success?”
And we call it the Wall of Success so it’s almost like people want to be part of it. So it helps that out. And then people are willing to drop the video.
BC: What about even a more subtle way? How would it even work to just simply ask them, “Would you be willing to share a little bit about your experience with us?”
Because, in that sense, it doesn’t define exactly what you mean. They’re like, “Yeah, I’m willing to share a little bit. I’ll tell you what I think.”
And then, if they say yes, you can say, “Okay, well I’d love to record a testimonial or get a video of you.” And that kind of already has them down the path of saying yes, and then, maybe that’s a way of connecting.
Do you think that would work? Or do you really think you have to kind of be clear that it’s, like, a Wall of Success or a testimonial right from the start?
DN: Well, in the beginning, before we had the Wall of Success. I love the use of the psychology there. I love the whole foot in the door aspect of it, too.
I’ve done that in the beginning, when we didn’t have the Wall of Success, where we just said, “Would you be willing to leave a review about your experience with us?”
And I said, “Hey, would you feel comfortable doing it in a video and step-by-step,” people would just do it.
Eventually, your ideal goal is that people see these videos. And they say, “You know what? I want to join this video.”
So a lot of times nowadays, when I get an email, some people are like, “Hey Davis, can I give you a video?”
And I was like, “Oh, yeah, absolutely. Let’s get on the phone and let’s make it happen.”
So you have somebody who said, “Yeah, sure. I’d be happy to give a video.” Do you prep them? Do you give them examples of, say, a good testimonial?
DN: I do not. We did test this in the beginning, and I will tell you the answer is no.
The reason why is that a lot of the people, if you give them the questions beforehand, they would prompt the answers.
So when we would do the testimonial, they’re either reading off a script or it feels like they rehearsed the answer, and it doesn’t come off as natural.
And I find that it’s similar to when you do a podcast. If you give all of the questions, and you’re just reading off a script versus having a natural conversation.
Do you have any way of prodding them along the way? Or is it really just best to let them do whatever they’re going to do?
DN: So we do a question. And before, I would just let them speak candidly, when we first started, but I realized that some people just naturally gave a lot of great answers. Others didn’t.
So over time, I’ve done over a hundred of these, where I just started testing different questions, the ordering of the questions.
But traditionally, what I found is having the same set of questions helps.
And I will tell you three things I’ve learned about the type of questions.
- You want to start easy. Things like, “What’s your name? What’s your background?”
- I like to remind them what got them excited about using our service. So I might say, “Great. What convinced you to use this service?”
- I like to do is also probe them a little bit about any objections or any obstacles they had. It’s like, “Great, before you joined our program, what hesitations did you have?” And then, “How did you overcome those.”
What I found is that, as we go down the marketing and sales process for our company is that usually, our clients are very similar to other clients, which is that they have similar objections about, “Is the money worth it? Are these people really real? It can’t work for me, it can work for this person.”
And what you find is that if you ask these people questions about what they were objected to and how they overcame it, they pretty much answer objections for you in the future.
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