Practice Idea: Getting And Using Testimonial Letters

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CPA firm marketers have long recognized that THE BEST way to get new business is to have a current client refer you to a colleague or friend. Getting the right kind of referrals is the difference between getting "a foot in the door" and having your clients sell for you.

Imagine your own buying behavior. If you were looking for an auto mechanic, you would ask your friends and neighbors who they use. If they told you that they use XYZ Auto Repair, and they did a pretty good job on their car, you would include XYZ Company on your list of "potentials." But, if your colleague said "Mike, your search is over, XYZ Auto Repair has the best auto mechanics in town, bar none" you might just end your search there.

So how do you get your clients to sell for you the way your colleague sold XYZ Auto Repair? Getting the right testimonials from your clients is one way to do this.

Here are fifteen tips for getting and using client testimonial letters to sell your firm services:

  1. Have one of your better clients write a testimonial letter. The sheer process of writing the letter will solidify their commitment to you as a service provider.
  2. Let your client know that you'll be showing their letter to prospective clients in the community. This will help them get their name out as well.
  3. Give your client the credit when his or her testimonial letter helped you get new business. Buy them lunch, or bring them a gift in appreciation of their efforts.
  4. Harvest letters that support the core of what you do. Don't solicit testimonial letters for services you don't regularly perform - it will just confuse your prospects.
  5. Select clients to write testimonial letters based on who can measurably demonstrate how your service has helped them, not just the ones who truly enjoy working with you. Prospects will want quantifiable results.
  6. Ask for letters from high-profile customers who are industry leaders. Their clout goes a long way.
  7. Turn a compliment into a letter. When a client expresses satisfaction with some element of the job you are doing, thank them and tell them the best way they can help you is by writing a letter that describes how they feel about your service.
  8. Request several original signed letters instead of just one. They are easier to get on the front end and you'll find plenty of uses for them!
  9. Ask your client to mail you the letter in a large envelope so they don't have to fold it. Better yet, pick up the letter in person.
  10. Write the draft of the letter yourself. This will save your client time, and will give you better control over the content and tone of the letter.
  11. Investigate the reasons why a client would deny writing you a letter. It is usually an indication of unmet expectations or low perceptions of the quality of your service. Deal with the problem as soon as you recognize it.
  12. Make colored copies of your testimonial letters. Color has much more impact than black and white.
  13. Post some of the letters on your Web site. This will help build credibility for you and your client.
  14. Introduce some of the shorter quotes and testimonials into your fax cover page.
  15. Frame your testimonial letters and hang them in your lobby.

Follow these guidelines and you will be sure to maximize the tremendous value of testimonial letters for your business.

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