Morgen Facilitations, Inc.

SITES AND TESTIMONIALS: turning referrals into business on the net

We all gather referrals/recommendations/testimonials in the hopes that they will sway the opinion of others and help us get business.

But how do we know what a prospect needs to hear in order to decide in our favor? Why do we assume that if we have a ‘good’ referral, it will meet a prospect’s criteria to choose us? Indeed, how do we know what will help our buyers buy? And, for the sake of this essay, how do we get the right material onto our sites?

There are two distinct problems here. 1. how to know what will sway a purchasing decision; 2. how to use it, place it, market it, on our site so it be beneficial.

My bias, of course, is that until or unless buyers know how to manage all of their internal elements in a way that clears a path for them to buy from us, they will do nothing. You can have the best credentials, testimonials, and product, but if the CEO has put a lid on spending, if the User group is fighting with the Techies, if there is a merger, if the top guy just got fired, if some of the top folks love their current vendor, buyers won’t naturally be persuaded to buy.

But let me operate on the assumption that everything is in place for the buyer to move ahead and decide, and they go to your site for further confirmation that their pending decision to buy your product is probably a good one. What do they need to see? What will put them over the edge?


Let’s break down the possibilities of the types of data buyers might need prior to making a buying decision:

1. PRODUCT DATA. This is good for folks on the buying team who have not spoken with you directly but want a final check.Does your site list a complete discription of each of your products? Does it state the benefits clearly? How can testimonials be used or placed to ensure site visitors can read the full range of possibilities.

On a more personal note, are your contact details clearly presented?  I, personally, will buy nothing from a vendor who doesn’t have an available phone number. I figure if they care about my trust they will make their contact details accessible. If they are hiding something so necessary, I don’t know what else they are hiding.

2. SERVICE DATA. How will your prospects be assured, before they buy, that your company will provide what they require? That you will know how to navigate their decision criteria? That you, your product, and your service, are what they think they are buying? How can you let them know on your site that you have great customer service? Is there a customer service number easily available? What sort of testimonial do you need to address this?

3. TECHNICAL AGREEMENT. How will site visitors know that purchasing you or your product will make it possible for them to not have to consider another purchase for several years, that your product is either state of the art, or has expansion capability? Can you get a testimonial that will applaud your user support? Your implementation prowess?

4. BUILDING A BRAND. As you know, site visitors can get a lot of data from the look and feel of your site, your verbiage, your visual representations. In the early days of the net, when folks were slightly afraid to actually make a purchase, the main reason for a site was to be a brochure. Now, your site should be a portal to a community of happy users. How can you get happy clients to start chats? Forums? Referrals? Use your site as a testimonial to you, your service, and the buzz that using your product will bring. Have your site represent your brand.


You all believe in the importance of testimonials, and how they can sway a purchasing decision.  But you don’t know what it is specifically that will sway any particular person. I’ve always been surprised when the ‘name’ behind the referral, or the company name, impresses people more than what is actually said, or more than the efficacy of my product. Whatever their criteria, you need to know how to capitalize on what your prospects will find on your site that will help them decide to buy.

Obviously, you have no idea who is viewing the testimonials, what their needs, feelings, or responses might be, or how to have any control over their reactions. Before you do anything with the hard-won testimonial, you must decide:

  • How, specifically, can the referral help a decision be made to purchase your services/product? Does it offer a famous name? A targeted use of your product? A prestigious company using you? And how will you know that the letter you are using will get you the results you want?
  • Who is the testimonial best suited for? A certain market segment, or job description, for example? And how does this knowledge focus your placement or graphics decisions?
  • Will it help your target buyer answer unanswered queries that they may have? How? And how do you know the real issues that the prospect is seeking answers for? Can you use the testimonial to expand your conventional data offerings to pick up objections or confusions that are not handled in other ways?
  • How does the data need to be presented to help your audience trust you? Trust your product? Recognize your value? Be willing to choose you over the competition?
  • How will you choose which elements of the testimonial to include/exclude? Do you want to use more than one version – say, the entire letter in one part of your site, and just one provocative line in another?
  • How can you announce the testimonial so it will gain maximum exposure?

Websites are only as good as the navigation capability. You can have the best data in the world on your website, but if folks don’t find or use it, it’s useless.
1. make sure that you position your testimonials in the way your buyers will use it most effectively. This is different for different products, different buying groups, different sites. Some sites have testimonials on the Home Page. Some have them linked. What will work best for you?
2. have a set of criteria for Success before your start, so you can compare your results to a baseline. What do you expect to happen from reading testimonials? What do you need to do in the way you place the testimonial or the way you announce it, to get the results you want? How will you know before you begin what success will look like? How will you know when to change the positioning or the formatting if it’s not working?
3. Do you expect people to contact you directly upon reading the testimonial? Have a link at the end for them to do so. Do you want people to purchase a product? Have a link. Would site visitors want to speak with the person referring you? Get permission to put a link directly to your referrer’s email so s/he can answer questions on your behalf.

Websites are very fluid and can be changed easily. Your testimonial is important to your business. Make sure it gives you what you deserve. Try different things – a box on your home page with just one provocative sentence; a link on your home page: Hear what Mrs. Famous has to say about our product!; a running string across the bottom of your site. Mix it up, record the details, and be flexible. Just know what you expect, be willing to change, create a community and trust, and work from integrity, knowing that your job is to serve your customers.

Would you rather sell? Or have someone buy? Doing it right on your site should give you a leg up in helping your buyer make buying decisions.



Strategic/Executive Coaching

Many of you have been buying my ebook Buying Facilitation: the new way to sell that influences and expands decisions. I’d like to offer a few suggestions as a companion to the book to help you learn the material. And at any point you wish testimonials, please let me know.

Because the book cannot actually teach the HOWs of Buying Facilitation - how to actually formulate Facilitative Questions, or listen for systems, or do Presumptive Summaries – I offer a specialized coaching-training model to help you learn. While it’s possible to cherry-pick a few of the Facilitative Questions from the ebook, throwing a Facilitative Question into the middle of a conventional sales dialogue not only minimizes the effectiveness of the FQs, but may be slowing down the sale – actually doing the opposite of what you are trying to do.

Facilitative Questions go down the brain’s system of decision making, and help the brain make conscious the unconscious issues that need to be addressed before it will change and make a decision. Using FQs outside the model might cause confusion and ‘I don’t know’ responses and certainly won’t help the client decide.

There are simple ways I can help by phone. We can do Phone Coaching over 6-8 sessions, depending on your learning rate and ability to manage homework.  We can do this on an individual or a sales team basis. Go to

Executive Coaching can give you the Facilitative Questions to ask, the means to get the buying decision team together quickly, and the ability to quickly help the buyer (and you) recognize all of the systems-based decision criteria necessary for a decision. I can lead you through bottlenecks, money objections, RFPs, and competitive issues. I can also help you with staffing issues, team issues, and change management issues.

I work very quickly, getting to the heart of the matter in moments, where other coaches take several sessions. I have testimonials and references from happy clients. Contact me at

There is also a teleProgram that will teach your entire team how to do the Buying Facilitation Method, if you want to use the phone rather than an in-house training session. Go to  to see the program syllabus.


I'm running a public training ( in mid August in either UK or Sweden. Please contact me with interest.

We look forward to continuing to serve you through your learning process and help you make Buying Facilitation a masterful skill in all of your communications.

As always, we are here to serve you.

All Content Copyright© Morgen Facilitations, Inc. 2008