#208: "Pit Stop" Testimonials: How to Ensure Testimonials (even when your product or service isn't quite ready)

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When it comes to testimonials for our product or service, we assume clients have to get to the end. Or do they?

The reality is that it's a mistake to wait until the end because anyway clients aren't giving you a review of the entire product or service, but only a small section.

But what structure and system do you follow to get a testimonial—or even to get the client to respond to your request? Let's find out in this episode on pit stop testimonials.

Read on the website here: Pit Stop Testimonials

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How do you know if the fruit is ready to be picked?

According to monk and philosopher, Matthieu Ricard, here's how you do it. “You reach up to the fruit and touch it. You don’t have to pull and break the branch to get the fruit. You just touch it, and it falls in your hands.” Which is fine when you're dealing with fruit, but what do you do when your course, product, workshop or consulting is still unfinished?

One of the most frequent questions I get is one about testimonials

And clients ask: How do I get testimonials if my product is new? Or they may make a comment which goes like this: The course I created is so new that no one has completed it yet, so it will be a while before I can get these testimonials done. I have one student who is in part 3 (of 3), so hopefully, she will be ready soon.

It's easy to see how you can wait forever to get a testimonial—or do you?

Let's take both the situations and deal with them separately.

Situation 1: You have a brand new product, course or service

Situation 2: The product, service or course is not brand new, but no-one has finished it yet.

Situation 1: A brand new product or service

When I was young, I'd occasionally get to see a movie before everyone else. Movies were only ever screened in the cinema, and to get to see a movie, days, often a few weeks in advance was a rare treat. However, my father seemed to know people who did these early screenings which got us into the movie theatre in advance.

However, there were other people in the same cinema hall. Who were these people, I wondered. My father told me they were movie reviewers. They'd get to see the movie in advance; then they'd critique the movie in their newspaper or magazine columns.

Not a lot has changed in terms of advance reviews

Movies still run private screenings so that they get reviews as do books, software and pretty much most products you can think of. In most cases, if you have something physical or even digital, someone can go through it and give you a review.

You may or may not have a list of clients or subscribers. If you do, you can ask them to review your material. If you don't have the list, you may well be able to ask on social media, in forums, or in your networking group.

Some of this review process can start earlier than you'd expect

Most of us tend to finish our books, tie up the courses, go through from start to end in a training program. And you don't necessarily have to go to the end. You can get someone—even a friend—to help you while you're still putting that course or book together. They can not only be a source of feedback and information, but they can then give you that testimonial.

To give you an example, let's say I was putting a course together on cooking Indian food

At this point, if you go to the Psychotactics website, you'll see a recipes page with yummy food photos and recipes, but there's no mention of any recipe book or course.

Let's say I wanted to create a course or book. I could invite a friend, or people from my networking group, members from 5000bc, or anyone who was interested.

Take my friend, Els Jacobs, for instance. We communicate almost daily through Facebook messenger. And I send her some recipes, and she tries them out and gives me her feedback.

Now let's say I wanted to get that book or course going, I could get Els and others like her to be on a sort of beta program where they tested the product and gave their feedback.

And here's a question for you: Do you think they'd be likely to provide a testimonial sooner than later, even though the product isn't ready?

It's easy to believe that a product needs to be complete before you get your testimonial

However, let's assume that your product is ready for the market. In such a case, you have to get some early reviews, so that you can put the product on your site or in your marketing material.

In such a situation, you have to reach out to someone you know—or some group that you belong to. However, this is precisely the point where things tend to go wrong.

You try to get people to review your product, but no one is interested. Several requests later, you've received no response at all. Why should this be the case?

Part of the reason is you're asking for too much

When you ask people to review your book, your course, your entire long and winded consulting program, you're asking me to put my life on hold, to meet your deadline.

Most people simply ignore such requests, because they're already busy. Even the most helpful people shy away from such a complex task. Which is why you make it easier by breaking it up into pieces.

In early August, we launched a new version of the Psychotactics site

A week before the launch we asked our members at 5000bc if they'd be keen on reviewing the site. What was the response? It was terrific, but why was this the case? The reason for their enthusiasm was two-fold.

We promised we'd get them to review just ONE page. And we had clear guidelines as to what feedback we wanted in return. When you look at most people asking for a review, they do just the opposite.

They ask their friends or clients to “review the site”, or “review my book” or “give your critique of my course”. Are you surprised there's little or no response?

If you really want to get a response, you have to have both elements in place. You have to give the reviewer a tiny piece to review, and you have to give them guidelines—clear guidelines.

And that's when you get reviews in advance. Not surprisingly, if you follow this practice of asking for specific feedback on specific sections, you also solve the second problem.

This takes us to the part where we look at: The product, service or course is not brand new, but no-one has finished it yet.

Situation 2: The product, service or course is not brand new, but no-one has finished it yet.

Early in 2016, we launched a three-day Sales Page course workshop in beautiful Queenstown, New Zealand. And six clients made their way from the US, UK and Australia to be on that course.

How can you get a client to give you a testimonial for the course on the first or second day? You almost know the answer, don't you? It's not unlike the website review situation.

Instead of the client talking about the entire course, they can talk about a section, instead. Maybe they were surprised to find out that the sales page needs to be written from the bottom up and not top down.

Perhaps they learned how to create a uniqueness from the features and benefits. Or let's say they understood how they could create bonuses from the bullets. All these three aha moments come through on the first day of the course.

Does the client have to wait until day three to give a testimonial? In our case, the clients had flown in all the way to New Zealand and weren't exactly leaving in a hurry, but it's still exhausting to collect testimonials on the last day when your brain is like a fried potato.

If anything, we tend to get clients to give testimonials right through the course itself. Some give their testimonials early on the next morning, some in the lunch break and at other times of the day.

You see what's happening?

The product, course or service is brand new. No one has finished it yet, but why do they have to get to the end? No single testimonial can cover every single aspect of the course anyway.

A client is always going to give you just one or two points that were of value to them. Why not ask which part was of value to them? When you do, people will be happy to volunteer. Or you could change the question.

You could say, what did you find in Section A that was useful to you? Or what did you find in Section B? Or Section C. This line of questioning causes the client to review what was important and, if requested, they would be more than happy to give a testimonial.

Your product or service may be unfinished

Or it might be that clients haven't quite reached the end of your book or course. It doesn't matter, because you can still get testimonials if you structure things well. However, there still might be a problem getting a testimonial, if you don't set things up.

Let's say you're quite desperate for a few testimonials

You don't have people in a room like in a live workshop, so you are dependent on them getting back. Nonetheless, you can improve the odds right from the start.

When a client buys your product or service, you can let them know you're keen for feedback and testimonials. Would it be possible to get their feedback early—long before they finish the product? Would they give their feedback on the first chapter itself?

It might seem premature—almost like a fruit that's not ripe—but you'll be surprised at how many people say yes, but provided you don't use the word “testimonial”. Unless they know you well, they're likely to want to give a testimonial only after they get to the very end.

But feedback? They can give feedback from the very start. While in this feedback mode, they'll also want to balance things a bit. They may tell you what you can improve (which is great for you) but also what impressed or changed things for them.

And that's your moment—ask them whether they can elaborate on that point. They are likely to do so, which in turn gives you your testimonial.

And there you have it.

You usually have two situations where you struggle to get a testimonial.

Situation 1: You have a brand new product, course or service

Situation 2: The product, service or course is not brand new, but no-one has finished it yet.

In both situations, it's relatively possible to get a testimonial well in advance. And strangely, Matthieu Ricard is right. You reach up to the fruit and touch it. You don’t have to pull and break the branch to get the fruit. It’s just “touch it, and it falls in your hands.”

You just have to set up the situation so that the client is ready well in advance. And that's how you get your testimonial.

Next Step: Find out—The Six Questions To Get Outstanding Testimonials

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