If you want to see a boost in sales – let your happy customers spread the word for you about your products and services.

People today, particularly in the younger generations, trust the opinions and feedback from their peers versus a sales pitch from the company selling the product or service, so let your customers do the talking.

“Advertising” as we’ve known it… is so old hat and becoming far less effective as a means of generating sales. My definition of advertising is; “the means of suspending human intelligence, just long enough to extract money from it”. Nowadays – people want more than that.

It’s not just my opinion. At the 2010 Direct Marketing Association conference, Paul Gillin, author of The New Influencers, talked specifically about the impact of social media. One of his key points was that 78% of consumers trust each other more than they trust advertising – which is why they use social media sites to read blogs and go to chat rooms etc.

Here’s a great example of how times have changed. That year, for the first time in 23 years the Super Bowl did not have an ad promoting Pepsi. Previously, Pepsi spent $33 million on advertising during the game. Instead they got their clients and prospects engaged in conversation. They switched their traditional advertising to Social media platforms.

Instead of pushing their brand and their products they created a two-way dialogue with consumers by asking them to go to a Web site and suggest ways that Pepsi can be involved in social causes. A subtle way of creating and building brand loyalty – how could you do this in your business?

Here’s a simple and highly effective way to start – use client testimonials.

There are lots of ways to get testimonials from your customers – by far the simplest method it just to ask. There’s no trickery or incentives needed. However, there’s a world of a difference between a testimonial and a great testimonial. Here are two basic pointers to make sure they are effective;

1. Great ones include personal details, not just “Mr Smith”. Use their full name, their business and home town, maybe age and occupation if that’s relevant.

Be sure they highlight key benefits of your product of service too, not just thanks that was good…

Which of these do you think would generate greater interest if you were looking to engage with me as your sales mentor to help with your business;

“Thanks for a really great day, I enjoyed the course.” S Bentley.

or

“Implementing your techniques has had an astronomical result on my sales figures. In no time at all I have been able to generate “hot” leads that have already netted me a contract this week with a value just short of