A business owner’s most valuable asset | TheUnion.com

A business owner’s most valuable asset

Machen P. MacDonald
Special to The Union

Ask any business owner what is their most valuable asset and you are likely to hear a quick response pointing out key employees. This would be true if the question was, “what is the company’s most valuable resource?” However, the most valuable asset is clearly a satisfied client or customer. For, without a client, you have no sales and no sales equates to no revenue and no revenue is indicative of the doors to the business ultimately closing.

So, if sales are imperative to business success, then to whom is the easiest person in the world to sell? That’s an easy question to answer, yet one most business owners never ask themselves.

The easiest person to get to buy your products and services is someone who has already bought from you. It’s your current customer or client base who already trusts you and who’s already had a pleasing experience with your company. Know this … people buy from emotion and justify their purchase with logic. To grow your business, you must focus on creating a pleasing or empowering buying experience for your clients and prospects.

Even though most business owners innately know this to be true, they spend an exorbitant amount of resources going after new relationships rather than nurturing and leveraging existing relationships for just a fraction of the cost.

One of the most powerful ways to leverage your current customer base and thereby grow your business is through testimonials.

Here are seven surefire ways to build your inventory of testimonials:

• First and foremost; provide uncompromising stellar customer service

• Use industry endorsements and/or respected experts

• Put together user groups

• Create a feedback form on your Web site

• Conduct periodic client reviews

• Stay in touch. Your best client is your competitors best prospect

• Ask for a testimonial directly, and then help your clients write the testimonial

Let us explore a couple ways we can implement the last bullet of asking directly.

One of my favorite ways to get testimonials is a strategy I learned from my friend, Clate Mask. When a customer tells you something great about your product or service, ask this golden question, “Can I quote you on that?” Then write up their quote, e-mail it to them for their approval, and voila! You’ve got a great testimonial!

Here is another strategy: simply inform your best customers that you are upgrading some of your marketing efforts and would they be willing to provide a written testimonial you could use in your new endeavor.

As you gather the approving statements from your clients add them to your marketing and promotional materials. Include them on brochures, information packs, websites, and the like. If you are going to post these testimonials to your website you may want to consider video testimonials. You can have a lot of fun with this. When clients come into your place of business have your video camera handy and after getting permission ask them a few prompting questions to evoke positive comments about you, your company and your services and products. Keep it brief and fun. Post the video to your website and notice what happens. You will find your clients are more than willing to help out.

According to Dr. Robert Cialdini’s classic book Influence, social proof is a primary way to build rapport and trust. Remember people need to know you, like you and trust you before they will do business with you.

This is why testimonials are so powerful. They are the ultimate in social proof. Because, what someone else says about you is much more believable than what you say about yourself. If you’re talking about your own business, you’re obviously going to speak praises. Everyone expects it, and yet most will discount your comments. But if someone else raves about your business… then it’s a whole different experience.

The fourth quarter business forecast is this: People will go on preferring to do business with friends. So, if you don’t have testimonials…you need them fast!

Make it up. Make it fun. Make it happen.

No. 1 bestselling author Machen P. MacDonad, CPCC, CCSC is a certified life and business coach with ProBrilliance Leadership Institute in Grass Valley, CA. He helps business people gain more confidence and clarity to live their ideal life. He can be reached at coach@probrilliance.com and (530) 273-8000.

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