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The Marketing Coach

By Cary Bayer

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Testing the Power of Testimonials

"That was the best massage I ever received," your client tells you after getting dressed after a deeply healing session, and emerging from your room, all smiles. Do you say thanks and hand her a cup of water? Do you just hand her the water and forget to say thanks? (If you haven't strengthened your ability to receive praise, attention, and money, etc. you might just forget the thanks. If that's what you do, learn to say thanks.)

"I can't believe how loose my neck feels; all the stiffness is gone," another client tells you, amazed at your remarkable gifts as a healer. Do you ask him to roll his neck to see how his range of motion has increased? Do you attempt to quantify the improvement? All of that is fine, of course, but is that all you do?

"You're the best massage therapist I ever worked with, and I've worked with many," a third client reveals. What do you think? What do you do? What do you say? There's one thing to think, see, and do in each case, and that's to ask your client if you can write down what she has said and use it as a testimonial in your promotional materials. Promotional materials, you ask? I hope you have some. These endorsements should be in your brochure, on your website, perhaps even in your next newsletter. Most any client is only too happy to say yes and help you with your promotional efforts, especially after you just helped him so much.

Carpe Testimonius

I know that there's no such word as "testimonius," but I wanted to get your attention. Attention-getting, after all, is exactly what testimonials are about in the first place. When you get one, capture it right then and there when such glowing words of tribute are still fresh in your ears and fresh in the mind of your client. Why should you capture it now? Because in five minutes those words will become less clear, in five days maybe just a vague memory. In five weeks, you might not even remember they praised you in the first place.

testimonials - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark When writing down the endorsement, make sure to include the person's name, and her occupation (retired engineer is more persuasive than just retired; homemaker and mother is better than just housewife; law student is better than just student). Also make sure that you incorporate the city and state that the person lives in. If he happens to be, say, the Vice President of Marketing for IBM, he might not be allowed by his employer to mention the name IBM, because many corporations don't want their employees to use the company name for personal matters like your testimonial, as it might suggest that IBM itself is endorsing you. That's fine — VP Marketing, for a multinational technology company is plenty influential.

Full Names

If your client's name is June Douglas, for example, don't just say J.D., the way that so many health care facilitators do. What does J.D. mean? Does it mean John Doe, his wife Jane Doe, or Juvenile Delinquent? June Douglas, advertising art director, New York, NY, for example, carries so much more weight and credibility than some anonymous J.D. Your testimonial isn't a 12-step program that protects the identity of the participant; it's an endorsement of how great your work is, so let's find out who's praising you to the skies.

Capturing such praise when it occurs in that moment, and writing them down preserves the endorsement for all time. So get in the habit of writing it down when it happens after you've asked permission for its use. Keep a pen and paper on or near you at all times. And don't be shy about asking for the testimonial. The testimonial of a client you see in May may inspire a prospective client to see you in July.

Suppose you haven't been in such a habit, and have no testimonials in your promotional quiver. You probably, do, however, have plenty of clients who have said wonderful things about your work in the past. You can still take advantage of what they said by asking them the next time that you see them, or you can call them if they don't come in to see you much anymore, if at all. Let the client or former client know that you're collecting testimonials for promotional purposes and would like to use the one that s/he gave you in the past. You might need to remind her of what she said, you might even need to volunteer to recollect it and write it down for her to peruse it and give you permission to use it. That's all okay, and well worth your time and energy. Don't be modest about doing this. If you preserve the endorsement forever it can inspire people who don't now know you or the great benefits available by working with you, to gain such benefits by simply calling you and booking a session.

Word of Mouth

If you saw a movie last weekend that you just loved, you're going to tell friends, family, and co-workers how wonderful it was. And many of them are going to enjoy its artistry because they value what you say. Movie studios take advantage of this principle by incorporating the raves of critics. What works for movie studios can also work for professional massage therapists.

But you have to participate, and seize the moment when it occurs. If you do, you'll be building up a great wealth of testimonials. And when people come to visit your website, and see such praises, the chances that they'll call you go up significantly. And when you book them for a session, as a result, and their back loosens up, as a result, and they praise you for it, capture that praise, too, and add it to the site. This can help you take a big step in building your business in the process.

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