The Power of the Testimonial - Making the Most of Your Customers' Satisfaction

Written by Mel-Lynda Andersen

Continued from page 1

4. Tell an Engaging Story. With every sentence, ask yourself brutal questions, such as ‘Who cares?’ ‘So What?’ and ‘What’s in it for my customer?’ If you can’t answerrepparttar “who cares” question sufficiently, then chances are few people will actually care aboutrepparttar 145017 experience you’re sharing and they won’t read your testimonial through torepparttar 145018 end. Also, make surerepparttar 145019 story is believable and relatable to your new and potential customers. Part of what makes a story good isrepparttar 145020 drama that unfolds during an experience and seeing how people react to unforeseen events. Using humour in appropriate places is another technique to keep your readers/customers engaged. People like to laugh, especially when they can relate to a funny situation with a positive resolution. And of course, tellrepparttar 145021 truth. If you fabricate a testimonial someone may eventually figure it out and you could risk losing your company’s hard-earned credibility inrepparttar 145022 process. Dorepparttar 145023 work to create happy customers and then ask them to speak your praises for you, truthfully and in their own words.

5. Edit and Proofread Your Work. It’s amazing how much credibility a company loses by publishing spelling mistakes, sentence fragments or otherwise poorly written documents. When you are finished writing your customer success story, ask other people in your organization to proofread it and provide feedback on content. Ask them pointed questions, such as whether or notrepparttar 145024 piece holds their interest, if it positively answersrepparttar 145025 “Who Cares?” question, or if it effectively promotesrepparttar 145026 benefits of your product or service’s features. Be prepared to receive constructive criticism; remember, everyone has an opinion, and you’ll likely get more feedback than you expected.

6. Highlightrepparttar 145027 Benefits. Instead of focusing onrepparttar 145028 features of your products and services, concentrate on discussingrepparttar 145029 benefits that your product or service brings to your customer. Who besides you really cares if your widget has a new and improved wingding –repparttar 145030 real question is how does that wingding – orrepparttar 145031 widget for that matter – improve your customer’s experience? This is a prime opportunity to use a strong quote product or service endorsement quote from your interview. Use your customer’s words to explain why your product or service has helped them save time or money, how it’s helped them generate higher revenue, or how it has helped them feel better in some way.

7. Spreadrepparttar 145032 News. Once you and your customer are happy with your testimonial, don’t hesitate to post it on your website, print copies to include in your media kits and with existing sales and marketing literature, and e-mailrepparttar 145033 testimonial to as many people as you can think of. Repackagerepparttar 145034 testimonial into a press release and distribute it to local, national and international media (don’t forget to include your newsworthy “Who Cares?” hook). The more time you take spreadingrepparttar 145035 happy customer’s story of your company andrepparttar 145036 more people who readrepparttar 145037 testimonial,repparttar 145038 more consumer trust you will generate andrepparttar 145039 more business you will receive inrepparttar 145040 end. Remember, good news travels fast, especially if you’rerepparttar 145041 one spreading it. Use excerpts fromrepparttar 145042 testimonial wherever you see an opportunity to give you additional mileage fromrepparttar 145043 positive endorsement.

8. Preserverepparttar 145044 Praise. Every time you receive an unsolicited compliment from one of your customers, jot it down, along with a brief description ofrepparttar 145045 encounter. You will be amazed at how many positive comments you receive when you takerepparttar 145046 time to collect them. Aside from being quite loyal, happy customers are typically generous with their praise, but most people don’t takerepparttar 145047 time to write you a personal letter of thanks or congratulations; they’ll typically mention their pleasure as an aside during a conversation covering a different topic. Treat every word of praise that you receive from your customers as gold. Not only can you userepparttar 145048 kudos to help you sell your products and services more effectively, you will also be giving yourself and your team a positive morale boost by focusing on and highlightingrepparttar 145049 good work that you do.

9. Vary Your Testimonials. Don’t expect one customer success story to function asrepparttar 145050 ultimate word on your company’s quality. Now that you’ve completed one success story, get started as soon as possible on another, and focusrepparttar 145051 topic on a different product or service. Focused, targeted testimonials arerepparttar 145052 most effective, so avoid broad, sweeping comments and instead concentrate on highlighting different products or services, or even different aspects ofrepparttar 145053 same product or service. For example, a quote that says, “I appreciated your exceptional service” really doesn’t compel anyone into any sort of action, but a quote that says, “Your delivery of 9,000 widgets to our Houston branch in less than 12 hours was nothing short of amazing” says that you can deliver products directly to customers when they need them. Develop as many stories as you can and varyrepparttar 145054 topics so that you can address all members of your target audience. You might be required to solicit positive comments from some customers if you don’t receive them spontaneously, such as sending them post cards or feedback request forms soliciting their feedback about certain aspects of your products or services.

10. Thank Your Customers. If one of your customers has taken time out of his or her busy day to comment onrepparttar 145055 quality of your products and services, make sure that you sharerepparttar 145056 results of your finished testimonial and show your appreciation for your customer’s effort afterrepparttar 145057 testimonial has been produced and distributed.

Mel-Lynda Andersen is a Communications Strategist and a principal of INCOMPAS Communications. INCOMPAS offers strategic, innovative approaches to communications and marketing initiatives to a broad spectrum of private and public sector organizations from initial concept and abstract idea through to completion. Subscribe to INCOMPAS’s newsletter, eNEWS, for more original articles. Copyright © INCOMPAS Communications.

The Power of the Proposal - Preparing Winning Tender Packages

Written by Mel-Lynda Andersen

Continued from page 1

Be Prepared:

· Ask questions well in advance. If anyone on your team has any questions aboutrepparttar RFP, make sure that you ask them well in advance ofrepparttar 145016 query deadline. And because agency replies are typically distributed to all proponents, it’s important to carefully phrase your questions, so that you do not give away any information on strategy or pricing to your competition.

· Create a budget checklist to ensure that you have accounted for all proposed revenues, expenses and additional costs.

· Allow plenty of time to gather allrepparttar 145017 financial information you will require. Make sure you understandrepparttar 145018 financial nature ofrepparttar 145019 RFP – fixed fee, cost-plus, etc. and price your proposal accordingly.

Be Compliant:

· Followrepparttar 145020 RFP outline and structure exactly when preparing your proposal. The contracting agency will be comparing your “apples” to those of your competition; you don’t want them hunting for information because you chose to follow a different format.

· Follow all proposal preparation instructions exactly. If you take one step out of line your proposal could be eliminated before it’s even read or considered.

· Followrepparttar 145021 conventions and structure specified exactly inrepparttar 145022 RFP. Don’t assume thatrepparttar 145023 contracting agency has any prior knowledge of your organization’s staff, capabilities and work experience. Their job is to review, compare and contrast only that information which is contained in each proposal.

Be Convincing:

· Fully describerepparttar 145024 value and benefits of your organization’s products and services, not justrepparttar 145025 features. These benefits may seem completely obvious to you, but they may not be quite so obvious torepparttar 145026 decision makers. If you can clearly and directly describerepparttar 145027 benefits to your contracting agency, and convince these decision makers that your proposal containsrepparttar 145028 biggest and most important benefits, you will automatically set yourself above your competition.

· Clearly answerrepparttar 145029 who, what, when, where and why details specified inrepparttar 145030 RFP.

· Use tables, charts and other graphic elements to display information and break up large chunks of text. This will make your proposal easier to read, digest and evaluate.

Be Sure:

· Accurately document and list any assumptions you make when presenting your budget. Triple-check that all numbers add up. Print out a hard copy of your budget to assist in spotting errors. When displaying numbers, make sure you use a font that is large enough and easy to read.

· Proofread for consistency throughout your proposal in terms of spelling, punctuation, section headings, etc. Ensure that each copy of your proposal contains all pages inrepparttar 145031 correct order.

· Complete and sign all associated forms that must accompany your bid. Readrepparttar 145032 submission instructions over one last time to ensure that you have included everything and followed instructions exactly.


The Executive Summary isrepparttar 145033 most important section of your proposal

The Executive Summary isrepparttar 145034 first (and sometimesrepparttar 145035 only) section that will be read by RFP decision makers. Whilerepparttar 145036 Executive Summary appears first in most proposals, it should berepparttar 145037 last section that you write, as it must capture your proposal’s highlights, and it must underscorerepparttar 145038 strength and competence of your team.

Mel-Lynda Andersen is a Communications Strategist and a principal of INCOMPAS Communications. INCOMPAS offers strategic, innovative approaches to communications and marketing initiatives to a broad spectrum of private and public sector organizations from initial concept and abstract idea through to completion. Subscribe to INCOMPAS’s newsletter, eNEWS, for more original articles. Copyright © 1999-2004 INCOMPAS.

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