4 places in your sales funnel where you shouldn’t use testimonials (and the one place where you absolutely must)

Testimonials are great tools to have for your sales funnel. You should collect them like a kid collects baseball cards (… do kids still collect baseball cards?). But are you using your testimonials effectively in your sales funnel? Or are they merely collecting dust and contributing nothing to your sales funnel?

Not all of your contacts in every stage are ready to hear a testimonial from a customer. Here’s why…

TWO STAGES IN YOUR SALES FUNNEL WHERE YOU SHOULDN’T USE TESTIMONIALS
A testimonial is basically an indication that someone has bought something from you and they were happy with it. While the “happy with it” part of the testimonial is good, implicit in that testimonial is the reality that they handed over their cash to receive the product or service. Unfortunately, that’s not something that your contacts in the Audience stage or Leads stage are ready to hear yet.

Contacts in your Audience stage or Leads stage are not making buying decisions. In the audience stage, they are only becoming aware of the problem or need. In the Leads stage they are only starting to realizing the severity of their problem or need and that you might have a solution to help them. Most of the time, Audience and Lead contacts don’t want to think about buying… and they ESPECIALLY don’t want to think about parting with their cash.

THE STAGE IN YOUR SALES FUNNEL WHERE YOU SHOULD USE TESTIMONIALS
It’s the people at the Prospect stage who need to hear or read your testimonials… and as many testimonials as you can give them without pissing them off! The people at the Prospect stage are starting to make a buying decision because they’re coming to terms with the fact that they have an acute problem and you have the solution for them. And although buyers want to believe that they are unique and special, they also find comfort in knowing that other people have the same problems as them and have found you to be the solution.

TWO MORE STAGES IN YOUR SALES FUNNEL WHERE YOU SHOULDN’T USE TESTIMONIALS
Once your contacts reach the Customer stage or the Evangelist stage, there is really no need to use testimonials anymore. After all, the positive experience that your Customer has with your product or service should be so good that you don’t need additional proof from other happy customers. Besides, your testimonials could actually harm you at the Customer or Evangelist level if they contain specific ROI numbers that your Customers and Evangelists compare their own results to. (“This testimonial says they received a 40% return on investment but I only received a 25% return… what gives?).

HOW TO USE TESTIMONIALS IN YOUR SALES FUNNEL
So, where should you put your testimonials in your sales funnel? Put them in the Prospect stage and pepper them liberally throughout that stage in your sales funnel. Make sure to include one or two testimonials in every printed communication, make them readily visible on your website or blog, add them to reports and whitepapers, include them in the footer of emails, and even construct content around them for blog posts and ezine articles. Don’t be afraid to send lots of testimonials to your contacts: For example, if you send a bonus report, include at least 1-2 pages of testimonials.

Here’s a bonus tip: Keep all of your sales funnels in one place and sort them. Content management systems might work for you; Evernote could be a good solution; or just use a spreadsheet with sorting functions that will allow you to find the most relevant ones quickly.

Here’s an extra bonus tip: When you convert a customer and they use a product or service from you, collect a testimonial. Make it a habit. Write yourself a reminder email or add it to a checklist as one of the last things you do before you cash their check and thank them for their business.

Testimonials are great… but only if they are making your sales funnel more successful.

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