Word-of-mouth referral is gold

“People influence people.”

When Facebook’s co-founder, Mark Zuckerberg, said these words, he summed up what many people know to be the essence of their credibility; social proof.

“Nothing influences people more than a recommendation from a trusted friend. A trusted referral influences people more than the best broadcast message. A trusted referral is the Holy Grail of advertising.” – Mark Zuckerberg

Professional services firms build their livelihoods on trusted referrals.  Each partner builds their professional network, with complementary firms recommending business their way.  They build close client relationships and gain new business from their networks too.

While word-of-mouth referral business is gold, there are ways in which you can facilitate building trust with new sales prospects.  Two of the best are case studies and testimonials.

Why do case studies work?

From your potential client’s point of view, seeking a provider of professional services is often new territory.  There is a lot of uncertainty.  They may be facing a complex situation in which they have little experience.  They want to know if you have the right knowledge, experience and track record to support them.

A case study will illustrate this.  A case study will demonstrate how you have advised and worked with a real client to resolve their issues.  It provides an insight into the process, reducing complexity, as well as increasing transparency and, therefore, building trust.

Why do client testimonials work?

A client testimonial is an endorsement of you.  As an independent recommendation, it engenders trust.  Those that work well, identify with your new sales prospects in a number of ways:

  1. They are provided by clients ‘just like them’
  2. They provide specific details about you / your services that resonate their them OR
  3. They are provided by people or businesses that they aspire to be like.
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