As any marketer or sales pro know, good selling is all about the rationalization. We build up prospects’ emotions, touch them, lead them, and then we help them rationalize whipping out the credit card. The good news is that we, as human beings, rationalize often. To borrow from the film The Big Chill:
Michael: I don’t know anyone who could get through the day without two or three juicy rationalizations. They’re more important than sex.
Sam: Ah, come on. Nothing’s more important than sex.
Michael: Oh yeah? Ever gone a week without a rationalization?
And that’s where testimonials come in. We can make the prospect feel, we can make her want, but we cannot make her act–until she rationalizes the action.
That is the purpose of testimonials. They show your audience that other people have bought your product or service and were more than satisfied. Because these customers are unbiased sources with no vested interest in your widget, their opinion carries weight, and helps overcome the audience’s natural resistance. Testimonials help build your credibility, your ethos.
Imagine this situation:
You’re in an electronics store, looking at a new stereo system. You like the snazzy look, the high-end features, and it sounds pretty good—except that you’re surrounded by the noise of the store, other systems, other customers, the thunder of the Xbox demo two aisles over. It’s hard to tell whether that stereo will sound good in your home. And the price tag is $3,000.
As you stand there scratching your chin, another customer walks by, sees you and says, “I bought that stereo last year. It sounds absolutely amazing!”
“Yeah, I love it.”
That innocuous testimonial might be exactly what you needed to rationalize that purchase. You buy the stereo, take it home, and you love it, too.
A few simple sentences of praise from third parties are worth their weight in gold. Marketers disregard them at their peril. When was the last time you went a week without buying anything?