Whether you’re selling flowers at the local farmer’s market, or herbal products on your web site, you must harness the power of positive testimonials in your business. The rewards are great, both in credibility and increased sales. We see testimonials everywhere, from celebrity endorsements to local folks praising the cherry pie at Andy’s diner. That’s because they work, and better yet, unlike paid advertising, testimonials are free. If you’re just getting started growing for market, or a veteran grower of profitable plants, free is good!
The internet has given customers the ability to spread the good news about your business, product or service to millions of people overnight. If you learn how to use the web to encourage testimonials from happy customers, you’ll be way ahead of most other businesses. Testimonials also have a place in old-fashioned marketing as well. You can post testimonials at your place of business or in a brochure or flyer to hand out at the Saturday market or include with an order.
There are three common ways to get testimonials:
- Wait and hope for a customer or two to supply an unsolicited testimonial.
- Ask satisfied customers for their testimonials.
- Have a “stock” testimonial or two ready for those customers who are happy to help, but just want to sign something. When you ask for testimonials, this happens more often than you might think! A stock testimonial could cover features about your plants or plant products, how well the customer was treated when they visited or purchased from you, the benefits they received from using your products, or how much fun their kids have visiting your farm. The possibilities are endless. It helps to have a letter ready asking a few questions from your customer so you’ll have an idea what pleased them most.
The first method can take a long time, so it’s best for the unsolicited testimonials that tend to trickle in over time. The second method is preferred, as you’ll receive positive feedback right away, and you’ll also be able to measure how your customers feel about your business from that feedback. Another bonus of asking for testimonials is that unhappy customers will also respond, so you’ll have an opportunity to turn them into happy customers.
It’s no longer enough to simply grow a crop or make a product. Sure, you can get by with that, but why not use free testimonials to boost your sales?
It’s important to encourage your customers to spread the word, because they can help you bring in more customers. Here are a few simple ways to do that:
- At the end of every email or newsletter you send out, ask your customers for feedback. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy – just a simple “How are we doing?” or “We appreciate your feedback.”
- Register for appropriate online review sites or services where customers can post feedback, such as Bing Local, City Search.com, Google Places, Local.com or Merchant Circle.com
- Make it easy for customers to leave comments and feedback at your web site. Don’t have a web site? Set up a free web site at WordPress.com, Blogspot.com or Weebly.com.
- If Facebook was a country, it would be the third largest on earth! Tapping into Facebook and other social networks such as LinkedIn or Twitter can provide you or your business “social proof,” which can be even more powerful than a printed testimonial.
- When posting a testimonial, provide as much information about the customer as possible – a picture, a name and a city can dramatically increase the credibility. Be sure you have a customer’s permission for anything you print or post online.
Your customer’s praise, in the form of a testimonial, is the best form of advertising money can’t buy – so make it easy for them to help you succeed.
If you’re just getting started growing for market, visit profitableplants.com for even more ideas about the best high-value specialty crops.