When considering a new product or service, have you ever looked up online reviews before making your decision? Chances are, the answer is a resounding “yes.” In fact, one study found that a whopping 94% of businesses engage in some form of online research before making a purchase.
So, what does that mean for your Trivia Night side hustle? It means that the importance of receiving positive testimonials and referrals cannot be overstated.
As a new service provider, the best way to establish legitimacy and trust is to ask your first clients to provide testimonials and referrals for your Trivia Nights. This shows that your clients are happy with your service, which is a message that holds more weight when coming directly from a current customer. Below are some tips and tricks for leveraging testimonials and referrals as a tool to grow your business.
Testimonials are a great marketing tool because they allow your current customers to speak to potential buyers who have similar needs. By asking your clients to provide testimonials, you allow them to say in their own words how your Trivia Nights have impacted their business.
So, what is the proper way to go about obtaining and using testimonials from your current clients?
First, it’s important that you’ve hosted several excellent Trivia Nights for this client already, and that they have seen the value that it brings to their establishment. If you ask on the first night, when the crowd might not be as large yet, and the kinks are still being worked out, you likely won’t receive as positive of a response and you can come off as presumptuous. Wait until you’ve established a relationship with the staff, and have built a following for the Trivia Night.
Once you have reached the point of asking for a testimonial, be sincere and upfront in your request. If you’ve been asking for feedback after each show (which you should!), this will fit in nicely with the conversation. When you’ve had a particularly positive discussion with the owner or manager following a Trivia Night, be sure to express how happy you are to see the impact that your service has had on their business. At that point, tell them that you would like to share their experience with others, and ask if they would be willing to write a brief testimonial for you to share in your marketing materials.
You may want to provide some direction, or questions you would like them to address in the testimonial (How has a weekly Trivia Night impacted your business?, What is your or your customers favorite part of Trivia Night?, Would you recommend Trivia Nights to a friend?, etc) to ensure that the response will help you convince other prospects to join.
It is a best practice to show your appreciation for their testimonial with something in return, whether that be a discount on their next Trivia Night, a theme show provided at no extra cost, additional marketing for their show, etc. This shows that you value their business and the positive feedback they have provided. You can use the testimonial on your social media, marketing materials, and sales conversations, so any discounts you offer in return for the testimonial will pay for themselves in future business.
Another powerful tool that your current clients can provide is a referral. While a testimonial involves a bar owner or manager speaking to an infinite group of hypothetical prospects, a referral allows them to connect you directly with another bar owner who may be interested in adding a Trivia Night.
Since a referral involves direct personal relationships, it may require a longer amount of time before a bar owner is comfortable providing one. Consider the relationship you have with the owner, and the track record you have established before asking for a referral.
Once you have developed a successful and consistent Trivia Night, the approach for asking for a referral is similar to requesting a testimonial. Throughout the course of your regular feedback conversation, ask the owner or manager if they know of any locations that would be a good fit for a Trivia Night as well.
This can be tricky, since it is natural that they would not want to increase competition. By expressing that the Trivia will be different each evening, and they could gain traffic from regulars at other bars who want to play multiple nights, you can communicate that a referral could mean additional business for them as well.
If the owner or manager is able to offer you a referral, ask them to speak to their contact first to talk up your service and let them know you will be reaching out. This will make your first call or meeting with them “warmer.” For referrals, the best practice is to offer a bigger “thank you” for any leads that you do close, since this results in direct business for you. For example, you can offer the client who provided the referral a free Trivia Night. This shows your appreciation, and incentivizes them to provide additional referrals in the future.
When starting your side hustle, your best cheerleaders will be the bars and restaurants where you have established a successful Trivia Night. By asking for testimonials and referrals from owners with whom you’ve developed a relationship, you can increase demand for your Trivia Nights and fuel your growth.