Did you know that what people say about you is 10 times more believable than anything you can say about yourself?
It’s true… That’s the power of TESTIMONIALS.
Testimonials carry a lot of weight because you’re not the one tooting your own horn. Instead you have a third party telling the world how great an acupuncturist you are. Testimonials prove to others that your patients get results under your care and gives those looking for an acupuncturist in your area a good reason to book an appointment with you. Marketing acupuncture and testimonials go hand in hand.
If you already “proactively” ask for testimonials from your patients then you’re on the right track. My advice to you is NEVER to stop this habit. This is a good practice to continue for as long as you are in business. The more testimonials you have the higher your credibility in the market.
Testimonials are one of the most powerful marketing strategies you could use to get quantifiable results. If you don’t have testimonials I encourage you to start getting them right away because they will make a dramatic impact on your success.
This is one of the most effective marketing strategies where the return on investment is unmatched. Why? Because testimonials are free. I can’t think of a less expensive or easier marketing strategy where you gain credibility without paying out a single dime for advertising. Do you see my point?
Of course there’s a right way and a wrong way to get testimonials. If you do it right you’ll start to see how fast they pile up.
But if you go about it the wrong way you can put your patients in an awkward situation. Asking for testimonials at the wrong time is inappropriate, I think.
So what’s the right way to get testimonials? Here’s a scenario…
A patient who’s had 3 treatments comes in for a 4th one and shares with you that they feel so much better. They say they can’t believe how acupuncture has relieved their pain, or anxiety, or whatever. This is the perfect opportunity to ask for the testimonial. How do you ask? You say something like this…
“You know Mary, I’m so glad you’re feeling better. Would you mind if I used your experience as a testimonial on my website? I think others will benefit from reading how acupuncture has helped your condition. To protect your privacy I would only post your first name and the city you live in. If you don’t like to write I can write it myself and send it to you for approval. You can review it and edit it as you see fit. There’s no obligation of course. If you don’t feel comfortable doing it I understand, I just feel it would help others see how acupuncture can make a difference.”
It is very likely Mary will give you a testimonial and so will the other 98% of your patients if you ask at the right time. Besides, you have nothing to lose. The worse that could happen is they say no because they’re shy. But that’s the exception to the rule. Most people want to help and will be happy to give you a testimonial if you ask for it when the timing is right.
Another easy opportunity for getting testimonials will come to you via e-mail. This is even easier than in person. Some times a patient will e-mail you saying how much better they feel. This is a perfect opportunity to hit the reply button and say; “Mary, can I use your e-mail as a testimonial on my website?” It is rare a patient will say no.
Don’t lose the opportunity to ask for testimonials. Just make sure to ask for them when the timing is right and you’ll see how fast you gather them. Asking for them out of the blue is not recommended. I’m not saying it won’t work, but patients are more predisposed to give you a testimonial when they’re sharing how happy they are with the results they’re getting.
If you’re starting at ground zero and want to get warmed up practicing getting testimonials, you can approach your close friends or loved ones that have come to you for acupuncture. Just ask them for the testimonial. The more testimonials you gather, the more credibility you’ll gain. Don’t make the mistake of underestimating the power of testimonials.
I don’t think I need to say this but I will. Never fake a testimonial. You can spot a phony testimonial a mile away. Another thing to keep in mind is always use the person’s first name. Putting a persons initials at the end of a testimonial makes it look phony even if it’s not. If a patient refuses to use their first name in their testimonial and just wants to put their initials, accept the testimonial, thank them for it, then file it in the circular file. Most people will be happy to give you a bona-fide testimonial with a first name and city or town.
Speaking of testimonials, please feel free to leave a comment if you have a way of getting testimonials that works well for you. Your fellow practitioners will appreciate your input.
Frank Prieto is a marketing strategist helping acupuncturists generate highly qualified leads from the internet and converting more of them into new patients.
Kristen Porter says
I teach Practice Management class to acupuncturists and just last night we had a dialogue about testimonials.
A student asked how you address HIPAA when utilizing testiminials– any thoughts?
Frank Prieto says
The “marketing” answer to your question is very simple. When a patient gives you a testimonial, they are giving you permission to use it in your marketing. In other words, when you “ask” for a testimonial you are in fact asking for permission (from the patient) to use their testimonial in your marketing tools. You are also letting them know you will only post their FIRST name and city to protect their privacy.
If they agree, they are giving you permission to use it. Obviously you want to have it in writing in the unlikely event it becomes an issue. That I know of, this has never been a problem.
If your student is still concerned about the legality, they can check with the HIPAA website of the Office for Civil Rights at http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/privacy/
Eric Schanke says
Frank, great topic. I use referrals alot on my website. Most patients are thrilled to give one if you ask at the right time. That time is when they remark at how miraculous their last treatment was. This can be on the second visit even. What I usually do is tell them that I will write one up based on what they’ve told me and then they can add, subtract, or edit anyway they want. I can usually squeeze in a minute or two on the computer before they leave and have them look over the testimonial I print out. Almost always, the only corrections they make are to make it even more positive! Having them write one at home has 2 problems. They often forget, then you would have to pester them again. Or they fret over the wording etc. and it becomes a hassle for them. Also, patients aren’t trained to write “copy” like what you would want for your website. If you write it, you can make it succinct and readable. It’s a win-win all the way around.
Frank Prieto says
Eric, thank you for sharing your method. My friend you’ve got it down pat. As you say, the key is in the timing. Those couple of minutes you squeeze in the computer to draw it up before they leave your office pay off in a big way.
I’d like to throw in my two cents about something else you say: “Also, patients aren’t trained to write “copy” like what you would want for your website. If you write it, you can make it succinct and readable.”
Here’s a word of caution: It’s true that we should write the best copy we can on our website, but when it comes to testimonials I have to differ with you a bit. Let me explain why– It is very important that testimonials are believable. What makes your website’s testimonials page so powerful is the social proof aspect of it. All the different patients “expressing” themselves about their experience under your care. When prospective patients see good, bad and ugly grammar, there’s no question the testimonials are real. I have posted testimonials with poor grammar for that reason alone. Since everybody writes different, the different grammar (whether good or bad) confirms the authenticity. Just a thought for what it’s worth.
Thank you once again for your comment. You shared a great tip that will help others start working on gathering testimonials. I look forward to your comments on future posts.