5 minute read.
Testimonials are without a doubt one of the most powerful tools you can have for your business. A testimonial interview is even more powerful. This allows you to show immediate credibility to your audience that your product or service works, and that it helps people.
Customer testimonials rank with up there with the top methods for effective marketing. In fact, an overwhelming 88 percent of consumers say they trust online reviews and testimonials just as much as a personal recommendation.
When you think of a powerful testimonial interview, what questions come to mind? A good set of questions will get the information you are looking for, but how do you get your interviewee to tell you a truly compelling story?
Well, this is what we’re going to talk about, and you’ll find out how important testimonial interviews are in creating amazing presentations for public speaking.
Create an Atmosphere of Complete Comfort and Openness
Most of your questions should be open-ended, and then include some kind of follow-up questions if you need clarification. Asking your subject to expand upon an answer can often lead to an even better answer.
It’s not about simply firing off questions and expecting everything to fall into place. Sometimes it’s not what you ask, but how you ask it. But don’t take a chance on just winging it with random questions. Be sure to make your questions relevant and focused. Have a specific purpose and goal in mind, but also do it with warmth and genuine concern.
How you present yourself and the way you conduct your interview speaks volumes about your credibility, character, and sincerity. You should never appear to be using your interviewee for personal gain and then tossing them aside.
Plan your questions carefully in advance and don’t be afraid to add or modify your questions as you go along.
Gathering Social Proof
Joanna Wiebe talks about a concept called “So What? Prove it.” in the article Landing Page Copywriting Secrets the Pros Never Share. She says that prospects are already in a state of disbelief when they read your words.
They’re naturally suspicious, and they’re watching for gotchas. They don’t believe you. The customer testimonial interview offers a balanced view and helps them bring their guard down.
Testimonial interview statements give your customer social proof, and gathering social proof is an absolutely essential part of the product development process. The pressure is off you and your prospect gets to hear an honest review of whether the product or service actually works and why.
What are the steps you can take to gather that social proof?
Here are five simple steps to help guide you:
- Give away a free sample or excerpt.
- Seek out people in forums, Facebook groups, and social media communities and ask them to submit a review.
- Send out strong messages of thanks and gratitude when they take the time and engage with you.
- Network and build good relationships with credible experts in your field.
- Invite people to test a trial version of your product or service.
Don’t worry about quantity. Anyone can say “Great product!” or “Love it!” A person who does this clearly has not taken the time to review your product or service properly. It is up to you to lead your customers in the right direction. Always encourage detailed feedback and collect quality testimonials!
Ever wonder how you can ask the most relevant questions and get an incredibly good testimonial interview? These ten questions are a great example of how to get the ball rolling, and set you up for getting very detailed testimony.
10 Questions for a Great Product or Service Testimonial Interview
- Which of our products or services did you use?
- Why did you need our product or service?
- Have you tried any other similar products or services? If so, what are they?
- Did any of those other products or services work? Why or why not, and how much?
- How was your experience working with us instead?
- What was the thing you loved most about our product or service?
- How has our product or service made your work or life easier?
- How has our product or service impacted your clients both professionally and personally?
- How did you hear about us?
- Would you recommend our product or service to your friends, family, and colleagues, and what would you say about it?
If you’ve been following along, you know this particular line of questions is leading the customer to tell a story. As they continue answering questions, the story is building more and more along the way. That’s how you get them engaged.
The last question nails it. If the interviewee was engaged the whole time with answering each question, the last one will testify beyond the shadow of a doubt that your product or service is the absolute best!
As an added bonus, here are some interview questions that you don’t have to answer if you are being interviewed for a job. They may provoke a look of “WTF??!!” These questions are illegal, and should throw up a huge red flag if you hear them. And don’t even think of asking them as an interviewer.
If someone is asking you questions like these in order to qualify you for a job, you can decline to answer and gently remind them to ask more relevant questions. If they persist, turn around and run the other way… fast! It’s none of their business.
According to a CareerBuilder survey, a whopping 20 percent of hiring managers actually ask these questions about religion, age, race, health, family, and personal life. Shame shame shame!
These are great tips whether you are giving or receiving a job interview. They can also be applied to any kind of business interview. Take a look.
What Not to Ask or Be Asked in a Job Interview
1. How many children do you have?
The interviewer may be trying to find out how available you are for scheduling, but asking about it in this way is unacceptable. This question might sound innocent, but generally all questions about family and personal life are off limits. An interviewer should never ask questions about marriage, divorce, plans to have children, or how many children you have.
2. Do you belong to a church?
Unless you work for a religious institution, like a church or religious school, asking about religious affiliation is a big no-no. You should also avoid questions about religious holidays a person celebrates.
3. How long have you been a citizen of this country?
While you can ask if someone is legally allowed to work in the United States, you can’t ask questions about whether they are citizens, how long they’ve been a citizen, or their country of origin.
4. Do you take drugs?
Wow, that’s a blunt one! This is a great example of why you need to be careful about how you word your questions. While asking if an interviewee uses illegal drugs is acceptable, asking about drug use in general is not. The person may feel compelled to reveal information about prescription drug use, which opens up a whole can of worms about discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
5. Where do you live?
Although the interviewer can see your address on your resume, they may probe more about where you live in relation to other people at the company. This may seem like an innocent question but it’s actually a discriminatory question. Who cares where you live as long as you show up for work on time and do your job. If it’s really necessary, you can ask if a person is willing to relocate for the job.
6. What is your position on recent political issues?
We already covered one taboo subject, and that’s religion. Politics is the other no-no. It shouldn’t matter what their views are on any political subject. Politics are just politics. Often times, there isn’t any particular rhyme or reason to political statements, and they are primarily based on opinions and personal feelings. In essence, they have no business being part of questions for job interviews.
7. What age do you plan on retiring?
It is not a good idea to ask a person about when they plan to retire. That’s called ageism. You can ask about long term goals and what they plan on contributing to the company, but it’s none of their business what your plans are for retirement or when you want to retire.
8. How often will you need to be gone for military duty?
Interviewers may ask about military obligations if they want to know about missing work for deployment. But this could be interpreted as discrimination against members of the military. Everyone who is eligible for active duty has a right to defend their country. Take a look at these military friendly companies: http://militaryfriendly.com/employers/
9. Have you ever been arrested?
You are only allowed to ask if someone has ever been convicted of a crime, not whether they’ve been arrested. People are often arrested and later cleared of any charges, so it’s not a relevant question, and makes people very uncomfortable. Interviewers often make this mistake thinking they are asking the right question, but they can confuse being convicted for being arrested.
10. How often do you take sick days?
Asking about how often a person calls in sick is trending on dangerous territory about a person’s health or disability. You are allowed to ask how frequently someone was absent from work last year for any reason, and this can include vacations. In regard to ability, it’s better to ask whether a person is able to perform all the required job duties as described for the position.
Cover Photo Credit: https://www.cpl.ie/blog/Interview-skills
I hope these tips were helpful in getting you in the right frame of mind to get out there and nail your interview. Then use it to your next presentation to really drive your point across with public speaking.
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