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

Written by Mel-Lynda Andersen

You have just completed a major sale for one of your best customers, and they’re not just satisfied with you, your company, your products and your services – they’re ecstatic. So pleased they are with your firm that they’re singing your praises to everyone in their immediate circle, which will undoubtedly heighten awareness and even bring you new business. But wait! Before you move on and filerepparttar experience as a job well done, there’s more you can do to spread your hard-earned goodwill around to a much larger audience, and you must act quickly before that “warm and fuzzy” feeling cools down. Writing and publicizing an effective customer testimonial or success story will not only help you sell more products and services, it will also enhance your reputation and strengthen your brand awareness and appeal.

Customer testimonials are perhaps one ofrepparttar 145017 most adaptable marketing tools a company has in its promotions arsenal. If you write them correctly and effectively you can post them on your website, turn them into sell sheets, include them as references when bidding on new projects, and publish highlights from them in your company’s brochures and other promotional literature. Another bonus to producing a strong testimonial is its extended shelf life – words of satisfaction and praise can last for months, even years.

The trick to writing an effective customer success story is to tell an engaging story that will hook your new and potential customers and keep them reading untilrepparttar 145018 very end. You must answerrepparttar 145019 all-important question that’s onrepparttar 145020 mind of every single one of your customers: “What’s in it for me?” A good testimonial will not only answer that question in three-dimensional detail, it will also help your new and potential customers relate to your existing customers in a much more personal way through an exchange of shared ideas about your products and services. Whereas paid advertisements are broadcast to a wider audience that includes your target customers, testimonials are personalized stories that speak directly to your customers, enabling them to visualizerepparttar 145021 benefits of owning your products or benefiting from your services through a story told by someone with whom they can relate and share similar experiences.

INCOMPAS can assist you in writing and producing your own effective testimonials, or we can edit your existing customer success stories and offer constructive feedback on how you can strengthen them to better showcase your company. To get you started, we’ve developed a step-by-step guide to assist you in producing a winning testimonial.


Step-by-Step Plan for Stellar Customer Testimonials

1. Seek Permission. Before you do anything else, request approval from your customer to develop and publish a testimonial based on their recent experience with you – as soon as possible afterrepparttar 145022 deal is final and whilerepparttar 145023 experience remains fresh in everyone’s mind. Your customer will be far more open to this idea if you explain to them that their organization will receive additional exposure through publication and distribution ofrepparttar 145024 testimonial; you can also assure your customer that they will have ample opportunity to reviewrepparttar 145025 finished article and make whatever changes they feel are necessary before you post it on your website or otherwise broadcastrepparttar 145026 article. 2. Conduct a Professional Interview. Many companies have realizedrepparttar 145027 advantages of arranging for a separate interview with your customer to be conducted by someone outside your company. This independent approach will enable your customer to answer any questions candidly without feeling unduly pressured to overdo their praise or gloss over important details. Remember, a good testimonial mirrors real life: evenrepparttar 145028 best customer experiences include unforeseen challenges that must be solved inrepparttar 145029 course of doing business. Your testimonial will ring much truer if it contains honest comments from your customers about how you dealt with any problems that arose duringrepparttar 145030 delivery of your company’s goods and services. The person conductingrepparttar 145031 interview must be professional in both appearance and conduct; he or she must also be familiar with your company and your products and services, and also with your customer’s business. Your interviewer should not only pose questions aboutrepparttar 145032 quality ofrepparttar 145033 products andrepparttar 145034 level of customer service that they enjoyed from your company, he or she should also ask questions about any problems or glitches that arose and required resolution. Even if you don’t use these anecdotes in your finished testimonial, honest feedback from your customer can only help improverepparttar 145035 quality of your products and services inrepparttar 145036 future.

3. Record and Transcriberepparttar 145037 Interview. It is essential to capture your customer’s exact words – not your interpretation of what you think they intended. Like it or not, we all process incoming information through our own personal filters, and our own biases from our past experiences can alterrepparttar 145038 speaker’s intended meaning. Besides, few of us know shorthand, and your interviewer will be spending more time taking notes than really listening to your customer and responding to their feedback. Keep these transcribed interviews on file and refer to them often when developing future marketing pieces. You’ll be surprised at how much you’ll be able to use from a strong interview. Remember though, every time you quote one of your customers in a new marketing piece other thanrepparttar 145039 one you first developed after seeking initial permission, you must once again approach your customer and ask for permission to quote them, and be prepared to show them how their anecdote will be used and presented.

The Power of the Proposal - Preparing Winning Tender Packages

Written by Mel-Lynda Andersen

The opportunity of a lifetime has found its way to your organization inrepparttar form of a Request for Proposal (RFP). You sharerepparttar 145016 RFP document withrepparttar 145017 members of your management team, and you begin planning your response strategy. That’s when you begin to realizerepparttar 145018 work that lies ahead.

Indeed,repparttar 145019 excitement that an RFP generates is often quickly tempered byrepparttar 145020 dawning realization ofrepparttar 145021 immense amount of toil that goes into competing for – and winning – that coveted government or private-sector contract. As always, it’s whenrepparttar 145022 stakes are highest that everyone on your team must shine their brightest and produce their best work.

You can help by breaking downrepparttar 145023 proposal into manageable parts, by assigning specific sections torepparttar 145024 appropriate individuals on your team, by establishing a series of realistic deadlines that allow for producing a polished looking proposal, and by ensuring thatrepparttar 145025 finished proposal contains both a strong call to action and allrepparttar 145026 required information specified inrepparttar 145027 RFP.

INCOMPAS can assist you in all phases of this process, or you can call us in atrepparttar 145028 very end, to assist you inrepparttar 145029 editing and final presentation of your proposal. To get you started, we’ve developed a point-by-point plan to assist you in preparing a winning proposal.


Proposal Preparation Plan

Be Informed:

· Readrepparttar 145030 RFP carefully, allrepparttar 145031 way through, at least three times, so that everyone in your organization has a thorough grasp of all requirements and expectations. The information that is crucial to your proposal will likely be scattered throughoutrepparttar 145032 RFP.

· Recognize and understandrepparttar 145033 proposal for what it is: a plan that identifies a need or problem, followed by effective strategies that meetrepparttar 145034 need or solverepparttar 145035 problem, a list of anticipated costs and an explanation of howrepparttar 145036 strategies’ progress and resulting benefits will be measured. Your proposal must contain a strong call to action, and it must be organized and concise, including all required information.

· Focus onrepparttar 145037 proposal evaluation criteria andrepparttar 145038 subsequent weight given to each proposal section. It is here that you will learn where to focus your efforts duringrepparttar 145039 preparation of your proposal.

Be Organized:

· Develop a proposal schedule by working backwards fromrepparttar 145040 due date, and stick to it. Establish separate due dates for financial information, allowing sufficient time to acquire more information and refine existing information. Hold regular meetings with your proposal teams to discuss strategies, progress and any roadblocks that are encountered alongrepparttar 145041 way. Make sure you factor in plenty of time for copying, binding and delivery of your proposal. Set aside additional time for distributing your proposal to your entire team, and make sure there is a qualified person on hand to proof-readrepparttar 145042 final document before it leaves your organization.

· Delegate and inform. In each section ofrepparttar 145043 RFP, specifyrepparttar 145044 individual who will be preparingrepparttar 145045 information for that section, and provide them with a guideline word or page count as well as a bulleted list ofrepparttar 145046 points to be covered in that section. Post important instructions, so that your team has easy access to information such asrepparttar 145047 proposal due date,repparttar 145048 number of required copies, delivery instructions, etc. Don’t complicate your team’s job by making them hunt for this information.

· Create an RFP binder to assist your team in quickly and easily accessingrepparttar 145049 information that applies to them, with allrepparttar 145050 sections clearly divided. Highlightrepparttar 145051 most important sections ofrepparttar 145052 RFP and flag them with post-it notes.

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