Earlier this week I returned from an ah-maz-ing trip west to California. While connecting to old friends and clients, I realized that I’ve been teaching for ten years now!!! Pretty amazing how time flies right? Feels like just yesterday that I was in my certification program, getting my first reformer, and struggling to name my biz. Looking back at how I’ve grown makes me realize the importance of how my business has grown. Back in the day when I had my little one room studio in Silverlake, I pieced together a website and just cruised along by word of mouth. People would just stumble upon me searching for that new thing called Pilates on the inter-webs. While that laissez-faire approach to marketing worked when Pilates wasn’t the phenom it is today, nowadays to grow your client base you need proof that you’re not just full of, well…you know. One of the best ways to snatch a client and make them want you is proof, the social kind.
Simply put, social proof is the positive influence created when someone finds out that others are doing something. People are wired to learn from the actions of others. Think about the velvet rope concept. If there’s a line around a club and a velvet rope separating us from something we see others wanting we want it…and want it bad. The same concept applies in your Pilates business. When everyone is singing your praises, you get a write up in a magazine/blog, or are featured on the tele….the calls and emails start pouring in. So how the heck do you get said proof and start this avalanche of good fortune you ask? Testimonials, my dear. They are the answer to transform proof into dollar signs. Here’s my 5-step plan on how to get mind-blowing-ly effective testimonials. Check it:
Step One: Get out there and ask! The easiest way to get people to gush about you is to simply ask, especially right after you’ve just given them a killer kick-ass session! You want them to speak about their session when it’s fresh in their minds and they are on a Pilates high! Be prepared in advance with a list of questions either on a Google Doc or via a free online survey like survey monkey (check out my list of questions below). Make sure to give them a deadline so they don’t procrastinate too much while still respecting their time. You can also easily record them using a voice recorder (so you don’t have to take notes) and let them just rave away.
It’s not just that Lindsay is an amazing Pilates teacher- and she is- or that she’s got a heart big as the outdoors, which she does, but it’s her fierce commitment to the vision she knows I’m capable of and her intuitive sense of how to get me there. In short, Lindsay is a gift!
Tripp Hanson, NYC, Acupuncturist Extraordinaire, Owner of HealingPerspective
Step Two: Mix it up! Since we’re in the visual age, I like to take advantage and use a mix of written and video testimonials. You can ask clients if they’d be willing to be recorded and using a little flip-cam or even your webcam to capture images and sound bites that will convert even the most skeptical of clients. Social Media is also a great place to capture praise. Take screen shots of particularly favorable posts on Facebook or Twitter, and if you have a WordPress blog you can use the tweetstimonial plug-in to stream the honey-tongued tweets.
Step Three: Over deliver but keep lower expectations. Honesty is key here. People can sniff out fake-y praise from a mile away. The best way to get a radiant review is to over deliver. Wow your clients with the best possible service and attention you can possibly give. Before their session, find out what their goals are and make a customized plan. Or maybe give them a print out of their progress, as well as individualized homework in the form of a YouTube video. Then, follow up via email or phone to see how they’re feeling and if there’s anything you can put together for their next session. This full-service attention will make all the difference. It’s NOT ENOUGH to just do what you say you will: teach them Pilates, make them more flexible, strong, etc. You have to give them something that they wouldn’t have been able to get anywhere else. Trust me, give, give, give and watch them shout about you from the mountain tops! So, while you want positive reviews you don’t want to overdo it on the sugar. Make sure you feature some testimonials that include client’s hesitations or possible concerns they had with trying your product or service. Just like we relate to others’ victories, we also relate to others’ fears and losses. Be sure to include some as well.
Step 4: Get Personal and Ask Please. Make sure to include as much personal information about your referrers as possible. Add their name and location, a photo, info on their profession or a link to their website. Seeing a face that you can link to a voice will make the difference to prospects when they visit your website or read your marketing materials. The more you can include the better. Also, make sure to get permission to use everything from the clients, including consent to edit the content. Make your testimonials short and sweet, and bold the important parts to catch the eye!
Working with Lindsay (business coaching) is very empowering and keeping me on track. Totally worth it!
Sandi Vilacoba, New Jersey, Owner of ThePilatesProject
Step 5: Mirror Mirror Pick the clients to interview that you would want more of. Do you just love that lady who always pays on time, shows up early, and is interesting, kind, and funny? Interview her! Prospects that see themselves in your current clients will respond to this kind of social proof. We all want more of the good things we’ve already got, right?
So, you’re ready to go out there and get testimonials, right? Get on it now! Start by taking a peek at the 7 questions I ask my clients here. Remember that you can customize them to suit your needs. Create your survey or document today! Make sure to share this post and leave your comments below on how it feels to get testimonials for your biz…
[do action=”gray-contact-box” text=”Change your business for the better! Get tips and tricks in my biz-nass newsletter. It’s Free!”/]