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The Reel Deal: The Power of Praise
Posted Sep 29, 2010 Print Version     Page 1of 1

Marketing our businesses is something that all of us should do on a continual basis. In this Great Recession, we need to be creative and thrifty in our marketing. So I’m going to share a marketing tool that doesn’t cost you any money, yet it’s priceless: a heartfelt testimony from a happy client or a fellow wedding professional. We can talk until we’re blue in the face about how great we are, but a client or colleague testimonial will mean much more to a potential client. Let your clients and fellow vendors do the talking (and the selling), and your business will reap the rewards.

How do you get a testimonial? Just ask! While your brides are busy writing thank you notes to their guests, how hard will it be to add one more for their favorite vendor? There is no difference between the impact of a solicited testimonial and an unsolicited one, as long as they’re both sincere and written by the client. A bride may love you and your work, but perhaps it doesn’t even cross her mind to write you a thank you note. Sure, we all have the occasional Type A bride who sends us an unsolicited testimonial in the mail. But don’t wait around for one, and don’t forget to ask your corporate clients for testimonials either.

When you’ve delivered a wedding to your clients on DVD, follow up with a phone call and ask them how they liked it. Chances are they will be raving about it and telling you how much they loved it. As the client is talking to you, have a notebook and pen handy so you can write down what she is saying. What she tells you will also tell you a lot about what you should be showing potential clients. If all of your clients say, “I thought the movie trailer opening was fantastic” or “the getting-ready part was stunning,” then you’ll have a better idea of where your strengths lie, so showing prospective clients a movie trailer opening or a bridal prep will help you get their business.

If it’s too hard to reach clients by phone, then send follow-up emails asking how they liked their finished videos. The written answer you receive can serve as a testimonial. You can say, “Would you be so kind as to share a few words how you liked your wedding video and how you liked working with me? I’d love to use what you say as a testimonial on my website.”

If you get a client who simply says, “I loved it!” ask for specific information such as, “What did you love most about the video?” or “What was your favorite part of your wedding video?” Don’t be afraid to ask, “Is there anything you wanted to see but didn’t?” or “Is there anything I could have done to improve it?” Yes, hearing praise is music to our ears, and we all love it. But we can only get better when we aren’t afraid to ask for feedback on how to improve our work.

But back to the good stuff. What should you do with the testimonials once you get them?

• Put them on your website. Have a special section for testimonials, or sprinkle them throughout your website so you have at least one on all of your pages. Here’s the link to the testimonials page on my website.
• Put them on your blog or Facebook fan page. Post the testimonials along with any images you have from the wedding day.
• Add them to your marketing materials. Include testimonials on any brochures, postcards, etc.
• Put them in a book along with pictures from the wedding. I’ve created a testimonial book using testimonials and video images from my weddings. When the couples visit my studio, I let them look at my “brag book.” I tell them that a happy bride is my best source of referrals. The couples get to see (even if they don’t read everything in the book) all the couples that are happy with my work. It also plants a seed about giving a future testimonial. I’ve also provided copies of my testimonial book to high-end vendors.

You can also get a video testimonial on the day of the wedding or event. Near the end of the event, just ask your clients if they wouldn’t mind saying a few words about your services. If this is a couple you have worked closely with, they will be happy to do it. I know of several DJs and bandleaders who are using the Flip camera to get client testimonials on the wedding night. You have the advantage of having the professional camera. You can then put these videos on your website, blog, Facebook fan page, and YouTube. What is important is the excitement in their voices as they praise the fantastic job you did.

Do you have a LinkedIn profile? You can create one and become connected to your fellow wedding professionals and clients. LinkedIn has a special feature where you can request someone to recommend you. Once you find wedding professionals that you have worked with, ask them if they will recommend you. It’s not only client testimonials that are important but peer-to-peer recommendations as well. You want everyone to see how well you work as a team and with all levels of professionals.

Now that you know the importance of “getting” client testimonials, ask yourself, is there someone to whom you could “give” a testimonial letter? Have you received outstanding service from a business owner or service provider? Then take a moment to write (or email) and let them know how happy you are with their service. I’m sure it will make their day, and it might inspire them to do the same for someone else—what goes around comes around.

Kris Malandruccolo (kris@elegantfilmsbykris.com), an EventDV 25 honoree and WEVA Hall of Fame inductee, is the owner of Chicago-based Elegant Films by Kris and Elegant Storybooks by Kris. She is a Master Wedding Vendor through the Association of Bridal Consultants, WEVA Public Relations Chair, and an international speaker on The Power of Video.

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