Why do people love testimonials so much? I never understand this. So many SME owners/managers consider testimonials to be such an indispensible part of their sales play that they insist on putting a whole page of them on their website. Yet it’s always seemed to me that even the worst business would be capable of cobbling together a small number of customers who were satisfied with its performance and who would, possibly for some unseen consideration, be prepared to say something nice.

So why would anyone be swayed by the darn things?

It can only be because they are essentially journalistic in form. They claim to be an objective and dispassionate comment from someone who has tried what we are considering trying, and found it to be good.

So that’s what we have to keep in mind. If you find yourself using testimonials for yourself, or for a client, do everything you can to ensure that they actually are bona fide and, equally importantly, that they feel bona fide. Real names. Real job titles. Real addresses, truncated in a way that protects privacy, but remains specific enough to suggest that the testee could actually be located and asked to repeat the endorsement attributed to him or her.