When was the last time you updated your testimonials? Do you have a following of raving fans that only you know about? You should have a smattering of testimonials on your website or throughout your marketing materials, sales pages or within your newsletter. If not then it's time to get to work on gathering your testimonials so your testimonials can get to work for you.

Just think of the process you go through when seeking out a new service or product. You likely start by asking those you trust for referrals. You also do your own research then compare factors such as cost, features and benefits. You also probably look for written reviews. Those reviews play a big part in your final decision and can even outweigh the cost factor when you consider the value you are getting for your money. Value can be found in great customer service and reliability.

If this is the process you go through then you can be pretty sure that this is what others are doing when looking for the product or service you offer. That's why it's important to have this information up front and centre. You may still get requests to speak to references but without any testimonials up front, your business may have already been eliminated from a potential buyers' list of possible choices.

How do you go about getting testimonials? Just ask. Most delighted customers or clients will be happy to provide you with one. But people are busy or may not know what to say or how to say it, so help them out with a template you can provide when making your request.

You want the testimonial to be specific and state the reason why working with your business benefited them. By simply getting the answers to the following questions, you can build the testimonial. These questions can be altered slightly to suit your business.

Here's what I use for my service-based business:

1. What challenges were you facing in your business?
2. What made you decide to hire someone to help?
3. What difference has working with me made? Please explain specific results or benefits.
4. Any additional comments.

When sending your request, be sure to mention that with their permission in exchange for their testimonial you will include their full name, company name and website url as well as a headshot.

And remember, unless your business holds a privacy and confidentiality factor, a testimonial from 'Joe S., Toronto’ won’t hold as much weight. A full name and picture add validity to your testimonials. Also, if you slightly alter the testimonial, send a copy of the final version for your customers' review before publishing.

How can you present the testimonials you collect? I proudly display my client testimonials on a dedicated page on my website. Testimonials can also be used on sales pages, strategically placed throughout your site or set up as a scrolling or fading list.

One of my clients shared her story of what led us to working together in the form of an article which is posted to my blog. Elizabeth speaks about how using virtual support has helped her to grow her business and the positive effect our working relationship has had.

If you have received a letter of accolades from a happy customer, feature it on your website or blog. And if your business uses print advertising, be sure to add testimonials to your promotional materials too.

Nothing is stronger than an effective, meaningful testimonial documenting a positive experience with your business. Use as many as you can. A diverse mix of testimonials with a variety of experiences and benefits leaves no room for doubt for your prospects. And as a business owner, feedback from clients in the way of testimonials can be very encouraging and motivating and helps make what you do all worthwhile.

Author's Bio: 

As a Business Support Specialist, Jennifer Hazlett provides offsite administrative help from her home based office to business owners with a multitude of office management and technical tasks, giving clients the expertise they need and more time to focus on growing their business. Sign up at Jennifer's website, Alternate Admin http://www.altadmin.ca/ for your complimentary report "101 Ways to Boost Business with a Virtual Assistant".