Getting more customers starts with leveraging the value of existing ones. Learn how to let your best customers recruit new business for you.

It’s the start of the new year. You’re at your desk and meeting invitations swarm your calendar. It’s time to pour over last year’s metrics and set plans to increase company revenue for 2016. This means closing more sales and increasing your company’s authority in the market. Sales experts agree having proper sales collateral can do just that.

Of all the sales collateral at your disposal, the humble testimonial can be the most powerful. Positive reviews are a necessary component in the online world. With easy access to information, potential customers can be scared away by the slightest negative review. By sharing great experiences you increase trust among your prospective customers. Now is the time for you to create a solid customer testimonial acquisition strategy.

Look for opportunities on a daily basis.

Ever have a customer tell you how thankful they are? How they wouldn’t know what to do without your company? An unsolicited email or phone call saying “job well done” can be a huge asset. Ask the customer for approval sharing the experience on your website or in marketing collateral.

There will be times customers may not want to disclose their personal information. It’s OK for them to request that you remove their last name or company name from an endorsement. A testimonial is still powerful even without this information, so don’t throw these out.

Reach out for a review.

If you’re not getting feedback from customers, then you need to reach out to them. There’s nothing wrong with scheduling a quick call or sending a short email to check-in on an order, event or project. It shows initiative and that you care about the customer’s business.

Sales teams should be encouraged to reach out for testimonials during scheduled calls. But be smart about who they ask. If a customer has had a great experience, then go for it. If not, hold back and focus on improving the relationship first.

If time or resources are a concern, automating the process can help. Automated emails are an excellent way to encourage a steady stream of kind words. Have a short survey triggered to send a few days after the customer’s project is completed. You’ll get valuable insight into your customers and processes. Follow-up with your most enthuisiastic customers and secure testimonials from their reviews.

Use testimonials to get more customers.

Now that you have plenty of testimonials, what are you going to do with them? Think about every point of contact your company has with customers and prospects. Place your testimonials in these places.

Your website is the first thing that comes to mind. Place testimonials on your main selling pages, especially your contact page. But there are plenty of places you can leverage testimonials outside your company website.

You might start a weekly series of posts on a social media platform where you post quotes from your customers. Or even highlight customer successes in an email newsletter. The key is getting the message in front of the right people.

If you’re on top of your game, then you know you have loyal customers. Sometimes all you need to do is reach out to the people who care and ask them for a little help. A loyal customer is going to want to promote you. Don’t be passive. Reach out and encourage them to join in your success. When you’re delivering on what you promise, and you have happy customers, a recommendation is a natural outcome.