Ivan Misner calls the BNI testimonial a referral multiplier. But, getting the most from a BNI testimonial for another member makes the whole process even more worthwhile. I got lots of ideas at the recent BNI referrals skills training, at Furze Hill. So with these allied to social media efforts here’s what you can do to get the very most out of your BNI testimonial.
- type the testimonial on headed note paper for the BNI member you’re writing it for
- give a copy to the Membership Co-ordinator; Paul Spillman at Southend BNI, of course.
- email a digital copy to the member in question – that means attach the word doc you typed the testimonial in to an email and send it to the appropriate BNI member.
This is the very least you should do. The absolute bare minimum. The digital copy is very useful as the testimonial can be used on their website. There’s nothing like a testimonial to encourage a website visitor to pick up the phone.
The following steps are the next easiest part of getting the most out of a BNI testimonial and is really very little extra effort. It involves simply copying the text from your word doc. Then pasting it as a review in several places, such as
- BNI connect (see how to video below)
- the member’s LinkedIn profile
- on their Facebook page – if it allows (they need to be a local business page) – here’s a review I did for K Barbers Emporium
- Google business page
- directories local and national – like Touch Local, FreeIndex or Visit Southend. You don’t have to do them all, just the obvious ones – here’s a review I did for K Barbers Emporium
There are an awful lot of directories, so it may be a good idea for members to elect two or three of the most important ones, so everyone has the links to make the job easy. This requires planning but for this post I simply searched for the K Way on Touch Local.
Navigating BNI connect to post a review
I do find the BNI Connect website a little awkward to use. So to help with the review posting process on BNI Connect I’ve made a very short how to video. It’s actually quite simple when you know how.
Blogging and the BNI testimonial
This bit takes a little more effort. You take your BNI testimonial and turn it into a blog post about the business in question. All you need to do is paste the testimonial from word into the blog on your website and add a little extra. Adding extra is not compulsory but it is a good idea, certainly if you want the testimonial to pop up in Google when someone is doing a local search. That would be a nice touch!
Easy ways to expand your BNI testimonial are to add
- logo of the testimonial business
- images (your smart phone has a camera!)
- video (your smart phone has a video camera!)
- more info from their 60 second pitches or 1-2-1s you’ve had with them
- directions to their premises
- more writing about your experience of doing business with them
The second blogging option is to extend your BNI testimonial into a blog post on the website of the member receiving the testimonial. This is known as a guest blog post. This has the advantage of providing you with a link back to your site. If everyone does this we’ll all be getting extra links! Google likes links!
The person receiving the testimonial also gets a nice new shiny blog post on their site. This is new content and activity that Google likes. All good. All you have to do is extend the testimonial into a blog post using methods similar to those above or simply rewrite your current effort. It really should be different but if not the same version will do at a push. But do try to add a little more to it. I did something similar with a recent post, altering it for Gill Tiney’s blog. Here’s a guest post I did for Karen Revivo about a course I went on. It is essentially the BNI testimonial I gave her in a meeting, but extended.
Social Media and BNI testimonials
So now that you’ve done at least some of the above you will have something to link to. Links on Social media sites have the potential to send new visitors to the content you have just created.
Sharing these links (even directory review links work) on Twitter and Facebook is GOOD. On Twitter you can reduce your points in the testimonial to a short sentence and add the link. If you do this for four points let’s say, you can then tweet the link four times! That’s a Power Tweet Tip!
On Facebook you can do a similar thing BUT use images and add a link to them if possible. Images are what people pay attention to on Facebook. And then, of course, you can do it on LinkedIn!
The advantage of guest blog posts is the visitor gets sent straight to the website of the business in question. Reviews on LinkedIn and Facebook and blog posts on your site are still good BUT the visitor needs to make another click to get to the testimonial site. Making the logo clickable and telling people to click it to visit the business’s website will encourage the visitor to do so.
Eventually, the Southend BNI Facebook page and Twitter account can start sharing all of this stuff too! And finally, other Southend BNI members can share, tweet and retweet the various testimonial links too.
So if you’re not confused by all of this, you can join in. The important thing is to do something and a little more than the bare minimum. Once you get your confidence up you’ll be power tweeting like a pro!
How much time does this take…?
This whole process could take a long time, of course. However, if you’re having a slow time with referrals then its a great way of promoting a BNI colleague you have used. It’s effectively extending the power of word of mouth. You don’t have to do everything in one go. A drip feed effect works too. Givers gain…
This whole process will drastically increase the reach of each BNI testimonial far more than simply handing the recipient a printed copy!