Making the Most of Testimonials: Tips for the Independent Insurance Agent

Testimonials are a sure-fire way to increase referrals and acquire new business. The process of gaining and presenting client testimonials is part science and part art, as is the case with most marketing methods. So, rather than hitting the easy button by asking Uncle Louie for some nice comments and slapping them on a website, we’re going to delve into proven strategies for requesting and presenting testimonials that can produce leads and generate sales.

Get testimonials from the right people at the right time. The results you see from customer testimonials are directly tied to your ability to select the right candidates. Reviews that say something like “great company” or “love this person” are underwhelming and won’t sway your prospects. Testimonials must tell a story and trigger an emotional response that results in a positive perception of your trustworthiness, knowledge, competence, dedication to providing personal support, etc.

Consider the times when you went above and beyond to assist a client – not only are these the stories you want to tell, they present the most opportune times to ask for and obtain the testimonial. In other words, the best testimonials you’ll end up using don’t start with the need for an endorsement, rather they start with your own actions (e.g., saving the client money, finding a better plan with additional benefits, etc.) that lead to successfully getting the commendation.

Craft a testimonial that communicates value. People are notoriously bad at telling others what they really mean; this is true for just about ALL of us when we’re put on the spot. So, if you simply ask someone for a review of your services, you’re bound to get back a generic response like “this person is knowledgeable and nice, and I like very much doing business with them.” While something to this effect isn’t necessarily negative, it’s not inspiring to the point of prompting your prospects to take action either. Consider this alternate approach to requesting testimonials instead: ask your client if you can interview them with the purpose of producing a testimonial, write a concise and compelling story based on what they say, then have them review it and make any changes they feel necessary. If you go this route, keep in mind the ideal testimonial formula: the client presents the problem, followed by your ingenious solution, and then drives the message home by presenting a fantastic result. Problem, solution, result – in that order.

Make your testimonials work for you. Obtaining more testimonials than immediately needed provides several benefits: you can swap them out in various mediums to keep content fresh; you don’t have to scramble to come up with a client review when one is needed; and you can replace testimonials if/when you cannot ethically continue using them, for example when you lose a client. Once you’ve built your portfolio of testimonials, you must decide where to use them. Here are a few places to start:

  • Letters/Mailers
  • Websites
  • Videos
  • Newsletters
  • Promotional Handouts
  • Social Media
  • Trade Show Collateral
  • Sales Presentations

On a final note, get written permission from each client to publish their testimonial. Anything short of doing so opens you up to unnecessary, unwanted liabilities. Don’t cut corners when it comes to this – for example, “They left me such a nice comment on social media, I’m sure they won’t mind if I use it on my mailer, especially if I use their initial instead of full last name.” You need to obtain written approval no matter the context in which the testimonial is used and providing the client’s full name whenever possible is proven to improve credibility.

Testimonials are a powerful tool for increasing sales, so avoid using the “fast & easy” approach. Effective testimonials that produce tangible, quantifiable results take thought, planning and consistent effort, but the reward is always well worthwhile.

As a National Marketing Organization that works with thousands of independent agents, we understand you must generate leads in order to grow your business. That’s why we work diligently to provide the resources necessary for successful marketing. If this information is valuable and you want to know more about the services we provide our agent partners, please contact us at marketing@berwickinsurance.com or 888-745-2320.

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