Do you want to be informative, insightful or irreplacable?

While working on a mutual friend’s collaborative project, I met Jonathan Luebbers. He articulately shared a great insight for our friend. He has given me permission to share with you as well. These are his words:

If you are informative, you’re interesting and nice to have.
If you are insightful and prescriptive you’re extremely valuable.
If they cannot achieve their objectives without you, you’re irreplaceable.
At informative, you get cut if money gets tight and might be replaced when money flows again.
At insightful and prescriptive, you are the last non-essential item to be cut and one of the first to be reinstated when money flows again.
At mission-critical, they pack their lunches, skip wine at dinner, trade down their cars, and cancel the family vacation. They don’t cut you.
Your authority at start will flow from what you present and how you present it.
In the longer run your authority will flow from the results of your clients.

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Jonathan Luebbers (Jonathan_Luebbers [at] yahoo [dot] com) enjoys using strategy, product management, and market research to help people and organizations release their untapped potential. Having returned to MN to be closer to family, he’s looking for his next opportunity. In the interim he co-founded Non-Profit Transitions, an organization of professionals dedicated to helping non-profits through the bumpy waters of the current economy. In his free time he and his wife enjoy finding new ways to make their 9-month old little boy laugh.
Jonathan’s professional profile can be found at http://www.linkedin.com/in/jonathanluebbers.

How to Get Good Testimonials

These steps are for do-gooders. When you do good work, you get good testimonials.
If you are new at what you do, you can still get good testimonials while you are getting practice. The trick is to work with clients who are eager to work with you at your current skill level.

Step 1: ASK for the testimonials

This sample email message can be adapted for testimonials or permission for featuring someone in a case study.

From: [YOU]
To: [CUSTOMERS YOU LOVED WORKING WITH and WHO ENJOYED YOU – Be choosy. It’s not only rude, but a really bad idea to contact people who did not FULLY enjoy your company for a testimonial. Contact them for feedback if you want, but not a testimonial.]
Subject: testimonial for website

Dear [CUSTOMER NAME],

[FRIENDLY GREETING OR INTRO TO MESSAGE]

As you now know, I am building a website for [“me” or “us” or NAME OF YOUR COMPANY], and am asking for a few minutes of your time to help me.
What we are going to do on the new site is tell some success stories and I would like to feature the project we did with you.
Thank you for responding to the following questions. I would like to quote you in the story.

1) Why did you choose to hire [“me” or “us” or NAME OF YOUR COMPANY]?

2) Name 3 aspects of working with [“me” or “us” or NAME OF YOUR COMPANY] that you appreciated the most.

3) How did [“me” or “us” or NAME OF YOUR COMPANY] help you achieve your goals?

4) For what reasons would you recommend [“me” or “us” or NAME OF YOUR COMPANY] to someone else?

THANK YOU and I would love to hear any other feedback you have for me/us about the work we did for you. We really enjoyed working with you!

Best regards,

[YOU]

Step 2: Tie up Loose Ends

  • With the testimonials that come back right away (within a week):
    • Send an immediate, hand written, THANK YOU card in the mail.
  • With the folks who do not respond right away, call each one and reconnect:
    • Ask how they are doing
    • Ask if it would be easier to just give you a testimonial or feedback on the phone
    • Promise to show them what you type up for their approval before you publish it as a testimonial
    • Get it typed up and approved quickly. Call them again if necessary to for phone approval to keep your process moving.
    • Send an immediate, hand written, THANK YOU card in the mail, as soon as you get approval.

Step 3: Follow-up

When you launch your site, be sure to share the joy with these folks FIRST.

What Is Marketing Anyway?

Here is how you often hear marketing simplified by experts:

  • Get your name out there! (ok, become known, but for what?)
  • Go after your niche (well of course! nothing is for everyone – who are your raving fans?)
  • Have a consistent brand presence (yes, consistency is the foundation for establishing your integrity)
  • Go viral (this one really feels yucky to me, how bout you? when news travels by word-of-mouth it is the sign of success — why associate success with disease? I prefer to call it “making friends.”)

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