If you work in sales, the single most important tools in your toolbox are customers’ opinions of you. In a word: testimonials.

In the science of persuasion, this is often referred to as social proof. We follow the lead of similar others. How do most people choose where they do business? They look at online reviews, or they ask their friends or professional peers.

In short, significant purchase decisions are made based on positive comments by people like themselves.

The problem here is that many of you don’t know how to cultivate and capture customer testimonials. Here’s what you should know.

There are moments of power in social exchanges. And, like Robert Cialdini taught me, if you know how to operate in those moments, you are at a significant advantage. One of those moments of power is when someone says “no” to you. It’s not a moment we like very much because it feels like failure. But if you know what to do, you can be powerfully positioned.

Another moment of power comes when someone says “thank you” to you. When that happens, you more than likely respond with something like: “Happy to help!” If that’s the case, you have just fumbled a huge persuasive moment.

What you need to do, in that moment of gratitude, is CAPTURE A TESTIMONIAL!

When someone thanks you for something specific, you should say something like: “Terrific! I’m so glad I could help. Hey, would you be willing to help us help others? Would you type out what you just told me in a brief email so we can spread the good news of what we’re doing here?”

Now you have dramatically increased the likelihood that customer will say, “Yes!”

Other options exist besides asking the customer to email you a testimonial. Consider asking these questions:

  • Could we take a moment now for me to write your comments down?
  • Would you like me to write something up later and send it to you for your approval?
  • Would you be able to text your comments to me by the end of business today?

If you practice this approach every time a customer says “thank you” to you — and I mean every time, for any reason, no matter how small you consider the accomplishment — you will have an almost never-ending supply of great customer testimonials.

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