Sean D’Souza The Secret Life of Testimonials
Susan Bratton

Episode 220 - Sean D’Souza The Secret Life of Testimonials

In the first 5 minutes Sean divulges the six questions that get you fantastic testimonials for your product or service.

Listen now to find out:

You have a formula for Testimonials. What is it and how did you arrive at this particular set of questions?

When and where in the structured communication of leading a prospect through the conversion funnel are testimonials best placed?

What makes a testimonial unbelievable? Are there mistakes made in organizing testimonials that we should avoid?

Testimonials are one form of social proof, what are others?

Are there different kinds (including audio,video, written), categories, styles of testimonials and if so, what kind?

Is there a system a marketer can put in place that will effortlessly deliver a steady stream of quality testimonials with the least amount of work?

What does a marketer do when a product is new and there are no customers but they need testimonials?

What can a marketer do if their customers want to retain confidentiality and won't easily give them testimonials?

Should you fix spelling, grammar, punctuation and clarity within a testimonial, or leave them completely unedited.

I'm under the impression, like product reviews, if a testimonial includes negative perspectives or criticisms, but all in the testimonial is positive, then the testimonial is more highly considered by a prospect because it's authentic. Do you agree or not and why?

Where on a web page do testimonials perform most effectively? Have you done eye tracking or mouse tracking (ClickTales) research on the effective placement of testimonials?

Is there a way to use testimonials in auto-responders that results in higher conversions to sale of prospects?

Testimonials, as social proof, are one form of trust. If you are trying to create a solid aura of trustworthiness as a brand, what are some other strategies a marketer can employ to underscore trust with customers and prospects?

Customer stories seem more powerful, testimonials can feel fake and marketing-oriented. How do you think about stories vs. testimonials? Where and how can a marketer employ stories in addition to testimonials?



Susan Bratton: Welcome to DishyMix. I’m your host, Susan Bratton. And on today’s show you’re going to get to meet Sean D’Souza. Sean is the driving force behind a company called PsychoTactics, and if you’re a psycho and you use tactics I think this could be a really good show for you. I just love the name of your company Sean. So PsychoTactics is a company, and Sean teaches a lot of things that are in the intersection of psychology and marketing, and he has a lot of different things we could talk about. I could probably have him on DishyMix ten times he has so much content.

His website is, and he’s based in New Zealand, and what caught my eye, my friend Carlos Xuma told me about a product that Sean makes called The Secret Life of Testimonials. Testimonials are so important for my business, and I think they’re becoming more and more important for everyone’s business, especially in the world of social media and social proof, and what I think is now the obvious need for storytelling in the world of marketing. And so I’m really pleased to introduce you to Sean D’Souza, creator of The Secret Life of Testimonials. Welcome Sean.

Sean D’Souza: Well great to be on today.

Susan Bratton: It is, yeah. Between your crazy vacation schedule, which I adore and desire, and everything it’s, we’ve been working on this for quite a while to get you on the show, so I’m glad you’re here. So…

Sean D’Souza: That’s right.

Susan Bratton: lets start with the very first question, which is you have a formula for creating great testimonials. What is it and how did you arrive at this particular set of questions that you recommend?

Sean D’Souza: Formula for a very simple reason, the reason is that if you don’t follow a formula then there are things that you can drop out, so you have a kind of checklist. So the formula is very simple. Of course it’s there in the book, in The Brain Audit. But it starts off with what was the obstacle that would’ve prevented you from buying this product or service. Then as a result of buying the product or service, what did you find? Then which specific feature did you like most about the product or service? Then what are the three other benefits about this product or service? Would you recommend this product or service? If so, why? And anything you’d like to add.

Now the reason you have so many of these questions is it really gets the client to open up. So if you were to ask these six questions to clients, they start to speak for as long as ten minutes. Now when a person speaks at about three words a second, so you do the calculation, and you’ve got like two pages of testimonials. And people say, “Well do I need such a long testimonial?” Yes and no. I mean when you see 200 testimonials that go two pages long, you know, there’s no discussion anymore. So…

Susan Bratton: Absolutely.

Sean D’Souza: Yeah, so that’s it. So the questions were so that people don’t get it wrong because they tend to leave stuff out. But the questions are a sequence. They tell a story. What was before? What is after? What do you really like? It’s kind of the stuff that we do every single day.

Susan Bratton: Yeah, it’s really brilliant. You’ve boiled it down to the things that really help a person get in touch with the emotional decisions they made to buy your product or service. And then you capture that and that’s the zestiness of the testimonials that are created. So I love what you’re doing. Now next question is I’ve been talking a lot in my presentation Conversion Triggers about this notion of structured communication. And 30 years of marketing Sean, and it just dawned on me that, I mean I’ve always known about the sales funnel and I guess in a way that’s structured communications. But I’m really delving into how you need to take a customer through a sequence of emotions to make a buying decision. And I want to know if there’s a place within the conversion funnel or the structured communications that testimonials are best placed. Is there a certain point at which it’s time to tell the story about how other people had success with your product or service?

Sean D’Souza: No. I… You know what, yes. Let me qualify that. No because there is no best place. At every stage the testimonial is telling a story. So for instance if you have a testimonial at the point of conversion or the point of attraction. So what I do is I break up a customer sequence into attraction, conversion and consumption. And attraction is where you get attracted to a product. Conversion is where you buy it. And consumption is where you start to use the product. Now in all situations you’re going to need testimonials or something equivalent to testimonials because you still want them to be attracted to the product, you still want them to buy the product and then once they’ve bought your product or service you want them to use it. So it’s not any specific point. What the testimonials are doing is saying, “Hey, look, I did this stuff. You can do this stuff too.” That’s what it’s really doing. It’s giving, it’s bumping that emotion, bumping that logic into the next person. It’s transferring that power to the next person, and that’s really why testimonials seem to be pretty much everywhere.

Susan Bratton: Put them anywhere. So are there any things that make a testimonial unbelievable, that don’t transfer that power, and are there any mistakes made in organizing testimonials that we should avoid?

Sean D’Souza: The testimonials for the most part can be believable. There are testimonials that go over the top, and one of the things that I talk about is the reverse testimonial. The reverse testimonial is the before and after, and you see this a lot on TV, you know. They show you before and after. Some of the best advertising has been a before and after. And that is because people are skeptical, you know. It’s very easy to get a testimonial if you just write to a client, they write back and they say, “Write whatever you want in the testimonial.” But the before and after experience makes it so powerful.

So you’re actually, when you start off a testimonial with something that’s skeptical, that’s when the brain is focused. So to give you an example, you know, a customer wrote, “Just before I attended your workshop I was ready to unsubscribe to your list.” Now that stops you in your tracks because it’s like, “Wait a second.” This isn’t talking about how great your workshop is; it’s about how you’re going to unsubscribe from the list. So it’s unfolding that story, and an unbelievable testimonial is a testimonial that you kind of see a lot, which is, you know, your product is so beautiful, it’s so wonderful. They work, but they don’t work as effectively.

Susan Bratton: So testimonials are one kind of social proof. And they are probably I would say without pause the best kind of social proof. There are other kinds of social proof we see out in the marketplace, like Facebook Likes or people retweeting things. Those are methods of social proof. Or a product review or whatever it is, you know, where you get to give the stars. That’s another testimonial. Are there a lot of kinds of testimonials and even more coming out now with new technologies like Facebook and Twitter and other social things?

Sean D’Souza: I think, the funny thing is I think you’ve covered most of them.

Susan Bratton: Okay.

Sean D’Souza: Yeah, in a way putting the stars, putting the Likes, putting all of those things, they’re all proof that someone else likes it, and yes some kind of social proof is okay. Some kind of social proof is just, you know, is more powerful than the other. So again, the skepticism in the testimonial is better than just the like. The way I look at it is anyone can click a Like button. It’s like, a Maybe button, that’s something that I will start to… Because that’s what we’re looking for, especially when we’re buying something. And even if you’re buying like a $.99 on the App Store, you looking for the people that say, “You know, I really, I really thought this app was not so great, but here’s what I found.” And I think the Maybe button is missing really. So there’s a lot of Like stuff out there.

Susan Bratton: The Maybe button is missing, that’s true, isn’t it? Well and I think it’s true also – and I’ve heard this from many people. I first heard it from my buddy who started Bizarre Voice ‘cause they drive a lot of those recommendation engine kinds of things, and they say that it’s better to have a mix of good and bad testimonials or endorsements or product reviews because if they’re all really positive then people tend not to trust that any of the reviews are valuable. Do you find that as well?

Sean D’Souza: Not really. I mean it’s, you know, at one point for The Brain Audit we had 800 testimonials. I mean they were all mostly good. It’s very hard to argue with just enormous proof. But having someone there who’s ranting and raving is really good because usually what happens is that ranting and raving person uses what I would say crappy language. They don’t spell stuff right. They don’t – and so they kind of expose themselves as, you know, they hadn’t read the book or they haven’t tried the product, so they kind of expose themselves. That’s one kind of person, and the other kind of person is someone who is genuinely upset with the product or service and gives their opinion. So it creates that credibility factor. So they’re all very important. It’s actually after a while tricky to get the negative testimonials to the positive ones, especially if you have a great product.

Susan Bratton: Should you ever fix spelling, grammar, punctuation or clarity within a testimonial, or do you always leave them completely unedited, because sometimes I’ve gotten testimonials that are glowing, but nearly unreadable?

Sean D’Souza: Absolutely. What you’re doing is you’re not rewriting the testimonial, but spelling, grammar, punctuation, this is packaging, and it’s like, you know, you take the same meal and you just throw it on a plate. Well it might be tasty but I’m not going to eat it. And spelling, bad spelling, bad grammar, bad punctuation, they seek to distract. The customer’s trying to read a message. It’s just like an article. If you wrote an article, why would you use bad spelling, grammar or punctuation? So if you want to make the testimonial devoid of distraction, yes you have to fix these things. I’m not saying rewrite the testimonial. You can even move stuff around. So you can move, you know, if the client has given you three paragraphs and the third paragraph is more effective, you move it right to the top, but you’re not changing the whole thing, you’re just changing the sequence, and that’s just drama. You know, that’s enough [inaudible] altogether, but I thought I’d bring that up.

Susan Bratton: Good. So thank you for the permission to do that. So are there other kinds of testimonials and do some work better than others, or is it case by case? Like I’m thinking there’s audio testimonials, there’s video testimonials, there are written testimonials. Did I miss anything, and what do you have to say about the different modalities?

Sean D’Souza: It depends on the person. Some people just don’t listen to it. You know, some people don’t want a video. It’s amazing for all of us that we’ll watch audio, video and read something, but there are people that will just completely avoid video or audio. And so having the video or audio is great, but you have to have text as well. So the point is that to me I think the written form is the safest form because someone will read it. The way our brain works is we tend to scan through stuff, and so we’ll start to read at least the sub headlines and the testimonial.

Now on PsychoTactics we can have testimonials that are, I don’t know, 500 words long, and people will read all the sub headlines and then lock into a paragraph. Sometimes you’ll have testimonials that are just 100 words or 50 words, but people will still scan and lock into stuff. In audio and video that’s not possible, but that isn’t to say audio video isn’t effective. It’s very effective, and having all three is very critical. Now the best part about video is that if you shoot video, that’s probably the best way to go about it because when you shoot video you can then strip out the audio from it and then you can transcribe that video into text and then you’ve got everything.

Susan Bratton: Yeah, you start with good source material and you can go from there.

Sean D’Souza: Yeah.

Susan Bratton: All right, so go up to a 10,000-foot level for us here. We’ve been talking about, you know, some of the tactics and some of the structures and things. Lets talk about it at a system level. How can we as marketers put in place some kind of a system, a net that will effortlessly deliver a steady stream of quality testimonial with hardly any work on our part? Does that sound like I wrote the headline for Secret Life of Testimonials page?

Sean D’Souza: I don’t know, here’s the answer.

Susan Bratton: Yay.

Sean D’Souza: The answer is it’s very simple. Usually after 30 days or something all you have to do is set up an auto responder or an auto response. For people that don’t know what this is, it’s just something that goes out to the client. So they bought it, they bought it with a specific email address, and you’re going to follow up about 30 days or 60 days later with those bunch of questions. Now if you’re doing this offline obviously you’ve got to have someone who keeps a tab and then calls up the client 30 or 60 days later for their testimony. Automatically yes, you can only do it through software, and it goes out there and the client responds and it’s that simple.

Having the questions are very important though because the questions enable the client to follow a structure. If you just say, “Give me a testimonial,” then it’s very easy to put it off because it’s like, “What am I going to write now? I have no idea where to start.” People have a problem putting stuff down on paper, and so to me the most ideal system is to have an email that says, “Can I call you and speak to you for five minutes,” because in five minutes people will write 600 words or speak 600 words of text that you can use. But if you don’t have the time to do that then an auto responder is the next best thing.

Susan Bratton: Oh brilliant. So you just call people up and record what they say and transcribe it and that’s your testimonial cleaned up.

Sean D’Souza: Absolutely.

Susan Bratton: Beautiful! I’ve seen people also have like a little call in number, people can call in and leave a message. But I don’t think it’s as good as if you interview them.

Sean D’Souza: No, it’s not. I mean at the end of the day we’re so happy with all this Internet technology that we think everything can be done automatically, but people still want to be treated like people. They don’t want to be treated like numbers.

Susan Bratton: Absolutely. That’s the meaning of DishyMix.

Sean D’Souza: Yeah, it’s just have respect, you know. Just as you would expect someone to have respect for you, you need to have respect for the other person. If you’re going to say, “Hey, here’s a lackey,” you go and, you know, speak to the client, the client will oblige but they won’t be happy. And I think that once you’ve got good clients and good results, then you need to keep that client because that client will drive enormous business to your product or service and tell a lot of people. So in a way it’s like reaching out and taking the client to lunch. That’s how good this testimonial thing is. Because not only are they saying good things about you, but they’re reinforcing it for themselves. So that means now they’re going to tell others. Its kind of when you watch a good movie, you know. You watch a good movie and when someone says, “How was the movie,” and then when you stop to reinforce that you think, “Wow, that was a really good movie.” So it’s not just you getting a testimonial, it’s also the client reinforcing that they made a good decision, which is, you know, leads to further sales down the track for their referral. So just treating them like numbers is stupid on your part, if that’s what you do.

Susan Bratton: I love it. Thank you for reminding us of our humanity. What do you do when you have a new product and you don’t have any testimonials yet?

Sean D’Souza: That’s always a tricky question, but here’s the point. People are less interested about your product and they’re more interested in you. So if you’ve got a new product, now you still have people who, a), know you from some kind of interaction, and if you can get people to write about who you are as a person. So, you know, I used to be a cartoonist, I got into marketing. Well the only testimonials I ever had were about cartoons. But in those testimonials there were, you know, little things about dependability, about friendliness, about whatever. And often when we launch a new product – and this is true for anyone – when they launch a new product or a new service, you know, you can kind of go out there and go to the forum and ask people to review your stuff or you can go out and ask some previous clients to review your products or services, but you know, even if they don’t you can always depend on, say, something to be sold in the past.

So what I’m saying here is that your past track record is very important and really people are looking for like dependability, friendliness, how you respond. Those are the kinds of things they’re looking for and the first leveling. You may think, “Well what’s that got to do with the product?” It’s got everything to do with the product. That’s how you can get started. Another way is, you know, you have systems like LinkdIn. If you’re on LinkdIn you can get people to recommend you. I’ve got about 50 or 60 people who’ve recommended me. I can take some of those things and put it onto a testimonial page. It doesn’t have to have any relation to the product. But if you have a product or a service you can find people who are interested in it, they will give you a review and if you’ve got just three or four testimonials, that’s a whole lot better than nothing.

Susan Bratton: Yeah. It’s funny too because when I hit you up to come on DishyMix you listened to a couple of episodes and you sent me a really nice email, and I said, “Hey, could you go post that really nice testimonial on my DishyMix fan page.” And then recently I was talking to Ariel Ford and she went to look at the video presentation – we have a new video presentation for our newest product, which is called Revive Her Drive. And she emailed me and she’s like, “Oh my god, I think that’s the best video presentation I’ve ever seen.” I said, “Uh, could you write that on the video presentation page on the Facebook post.” So yeah, just snagging them when they come up in your email, I mean I think you get a lot of stuff in email that are also really usable. So next question; what can a marketer do if a customer wants to retain their confidentiality and are, you know, don’t want to say who they are? How can you wind your way through that and still get a testimonial that’s usable and believable, even if the person doesn’t divulge their name?

Sean D’Souza: Again, it’s the same thing. You know, as I said before, people are not necessarily looking for names and places and where you come from. They’re very important of course, but in certain conditions – say maybe you’re an accountant, maybe you’re a lawyer, maybe the law doesn’t allow you to do that, well, you know, it doesn’t allow you to put in clients names and details. So that’s one situation, which is exactly the same or the flipside of clients not wanting their details there. So in effect, the testimonial has now become cloaked. It becomes almost like invalid, but it’s not invalid.

What’s really happening is you’re asking a before, you’re asking an after, you’re asking the experience. In that process customers are going to come up with – I hate to use the word keywords – but they’re going to come up with words or keywords or information or technical language or something, and when you start to look at that testimonial as a customer, you know exactly this person knows what they’re talking about. So supposing you asked me about say in design CS5.5, well I would come up with specific information that would reveal that I knew what I was talking about. And so that’s the only way to do it, to have a before/after situation and to have that technical jargon as it were within that piece so that the reader knows, “Yup, this person’s in the industry, they know what they’re talking about. I’m fine with it,” even though there’s no name and stuff on it.

Susan Bratton: Makes sense. Asking those six questions up front that you started the whole interview off with are what will render the content of the testimonial so valuable to your prospect that it doesn’t really matter from whom it came.

Sean D’Souza: Yeah. Well I wouldn’t say it doesn’t matter. Everything matters.

Susan Bratton: That’s fair.

Sean D’Souza: A photograph matters, everything matters. But in these conditions where you cannot, then have the technical jargon. That’s very important.

Susan Bratton: A couple of years ago I watched Dr. Robert Cialdini, whom I’ve had on DishyMix, he wrote a seminal book called Persuasion and Influence. I watched him keynote the Affiliate Summit. And one of the things that he showed was that testimonials – and the kind of testimonials that I’m talking about here are, and you know what Sean, you probably know exactly what these are called, so fill me in here, but you know how you have the logos of the media outlets that you’ve been on and, you know, so As Seen On, As Seen In This, As Seen In That, you know, those kinds of logos of media outlets…

Sean D’Souza: Yeah.

Susan Bratton: on a web page and Bob was saying that if they’re on the right hand side and they’re grayed out, they don’t even need to be in color, gray tests as well or better for conversion optimization on a web page when you’re using those media logos. ‘Cause everyone knows what they are, they don’t even need to be in color, they just need to be there, and like one of the things a customer checks off when they’re going through their objection raising and they’re objective handling, you know, sequence. So do testimonials perform most effectively? Have you done any eye tracking or mouse tracking, like Click Tails Research on the most effective placement of testimonials on web pages?

Sean D’Souza: No, we haven’t, but we put testimonials – see the point is that testimonials are stories, and if you’re selling something then the customer is always ready to read a story in between all of your logic. So you’ve got all this logic flowing in – “This is a great book” or “This is a great product” or whatever, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. It’s very interesting but, you know, the customer is always ready to read a story, and that’s why when you go to Amazon you kind of flick through the top of the book, you know, the top section, and then you go straight into the testimonials.

The reason why is because the testimonials are, they are the giveaways, they’re the stories. And so if you have your regular sales page on our website, then you know, we’re putting the stories here, there and everywhere. So they’re not only telling the story about the product, the experience about the product or service, but they’re also breaking up this huge waterfall of text that you seem to see on a lot of sales pages. The same thing applies to whether you’re making a presentation or whatever. As soon as you get in a customer’s case study, poof, the audience’s attention goes up. So it’s a very effective tool, and no we haven’t done any testing, but every single one of our courses are full and every single workshop is full, and I think that’s a good testimonial in itself. I mean…

Susan Bratton: All right, and so you were talking about stories and using them every which way. We talked about asking for testimonials in an auto responder, but what about using testimonials within your email auto responder series most effectively? When a prospect comes to your website and, you know, they download something for free or they sign up to get something and they’re now in an auto responder series, is there any particular time that’s most valuable for testimonials, and what are best practices for testimonials in auto responders?

Sean D’Souza: Well, you know, auto responders I would say their testimonials need to tell, they need to be less salesy and more giving me an insight into how to use whatever you’re giving me. So supposing it’s, you know, how to write a headline, then the testimonial may talk about how the case study of this, say, John Smith and how John Smith used a specific thing to improve his headlines and what his results were. And that then gets me to think, “Oh, so John Smith used it, maybe I should use it.” So that’s a different kind of testimonial – still talking about that product or service, but it’s doing so in a way that enables me to consume it, which is what I talked about earlier, the consumption part of things.

Susan Bratton: Okay, and do you think it’s always good to have a lot of, like a smattering of testimonials throughout a whole, you know, if you’re sending out an auto responder every day or a couple times a week, can you just keep, like, “Oh, here’s a new story from a new customer,” and “Here’s another story,” you know? Is that always good to just keep those flowing?

Sean D’Souza: No, I think it would be too much. It seems like you’re trying too hard. There are, there’s a difference between editorial and sales, and if you’re selling, people expect testimonials. If you have editorial, they’re looking at case studies that would help them, and you have to know the difference. I mean when we get onto a sales page we know immediately this is a sales page. When we get onto editorial, we know immediately this is editorial. And we don’t like to be fooled. And so you might think, “Well we could get away with it.” I wouldn’t recommend it.

Susan Bratton: Okay. So that leads me into the next question, which is that customers stories seem more powerful, but testimonials can sometimes feel fake or marketing oriented. So how do you use stories versus testimonials, and how would you typify a story versus a testimonial and where would you use them?

Sean D’Souza: So a story is very simple. A testimonial is just random. It’s like give me a testimonial for this product or service. Well what am I going to say? I’m going to just say, “Oh, it was a great product, great service.” There’s nothing to it. There is just a bunch of words that might by fluke be interested. But a story has a sequence. A story has a before, it has an after, it has ups and downs, it has frustration, it has emotion. That’s a story. And when you ask enough questions, what happens is a client warms up. So somewhere in the middle of your questioning, especially if you’re doing it on the phone, somewhere, you know, four or five minutes into it they start to really speak about stuff. They’ll say, “You know, my wife was really ill. I couldn’t afford to spend this $2,000.” And then they start to tell the story about that illness, and you think, “What has this got to do with the product?” It’s got everything to do with the product. The emotion, that whole roller coaster – up, down, back, front – that’s what causes the story to come alive. Otherwise it’s just a bunch of words on paper.

Susan Bratton: You know, it’s funny that you talk about the up and down. Have you read Resonate by Nancy Duarte?

Sean D’Souza: Yes I have, and I sent her a cartoon about the roller coaster, and she said, “I wish I’d thought of roller coaster as my thing.”

Susan Bratton: That’s so funny. Yeah, because she calls it the spark line.

Sean D’Souza: Right.

Susan Bratton: And that’s what you’re really talking about, which is, you know, here’s how bad it is. Here’s how great it can be. Here’s how bad it is.

Sean D’Souza: Correct.

Susan Bratton: Here’s how great it can be. Here’s how bad it is. Here’s how great it can be.

Sean D’Souza: Storytelling, it’s exactly like a roller coaster. So there’s flats, ups and downs, and you have to control that flat, up and down. So it’s not just up and down. Up and down is to disconcerting. There’s also flat areas, so where, you know, nothing’s happening. And that just gives the person a breather. That gives the reader, you know, it’s not this face, this continuous in your face kind of stuff or not or down, which is, you know, it’s just… So I qualify that as a problem and a solution, but there’s also the in between. So that’s important as well. Just the important thing is to have the flat as well, because that creates, that’s one more part of that whole sequence.

Susan Bratton: I love it. And do you have anything that you’ve written on or that you’d recommend on the components of great stories or writing great stories or anything like that?

Sean D’Souza: Yes, now that you mention it, there is, there is a book that we’ll probably be releasing on – it’s a two part thing on stories. One is just how to tell a great story, and the second is signature stories, which is what we use often on our website and we’ve trained clients to do. So for instance, we have this seven red bags, which we sell at Brain Audit, and you know, you tell that story once, just once, and people never forget it for the rest of their lives. So how do you tell that great signature story? So there are stories and there are signature stories, and yes there will be a product sooner or later. It’s all being done; it’s just not released yet at this point.

Susan Bratton: All right, will you let us know when it’s released, and why don’t you come back on the show and talk about that?

Sean D’Souza: I will.

Susan Bratton: Okay, beautiful. So I want to go back to trustworthiness because social proof helps trustworthiness. Testimonials are a part of social proof. What are some other things that you recommend to marketers that are trying to create a solid aura of trustworthiness about their brand that other marketers can employ to underscore trust with their customers and prospects?

Sean D’Souza: I would – there were lots of things, because when you think about, first you don’t have to think of trust, you have to think of risk. So when you start to think…

Susan Bratton: Oh really?

Sean D’Souza: Yeah.

Susan Bratton: All right, tell us about that.

Sean D’Souza: Yeah, because when you look at something, you’re looking at a product that you’re going to buy, even say it’s a Mac and you know, there’s a lot of publicity about a Mac and everyone things it’s great and everyone wants to buy it. But there is a risk, and that risk needs to be handled. So when you’re buying, you’re going from a PC to a Mac, the first thing is, “Well I’ve got 700 products, 700 programs on my PC. How am I going to move to the Mac? Do I have to buy all of them again?” So the testimonial then needs to take on that objection, and because that’s the risk and that’s really what people are looking to reduce or completely eliminate. So it doesn’t matter what you have or that you have a photograph.

So for instance, my wife bought some kind of stuff, bathroom cleaner or whatever, and there was a photograph of this woman who said, you know, she went through the before and after, whatever. But the photograph was of this woman who had hair all over her face. She looked like she’d just been cleaning the house for seven hours. And my wife looked at that photograph and said, “You know, I bought it because of that photograph. She looks really hassled.” And so when you look at testimonials, you might say, “Well there’s only words,” but pictures tell a story as well. So looking at that one picture of that woman, my wife made a decision to buy maybe just a $7 product, but it still 7,000 to 10,000 people buying that product based on that one photograph. And in certain cases the photograph, you know, might be a completely different photo.

To me at least – and as I said, there are lots of ways to get social proof – but to me photographs are like mirrors. So when a person looks at your website, when they look at your product, they’re looking at a photograph and they’re saying, “That’ me.” And that’s what we do in real life. That’s how we pick our friends and stuff. There’s are thousands and millions of people, but we look at someone and say, “That’s me, that’s me, that’s me, that’s me.” And so we’re always looking at faces, and so photographs are a way to do it. But critically you have to think of risk and you say, “Well I’m going to sell this product. What is the risk,” and then everything that you do that reduces or eliminates that risk then creates trustworthiness.

Susan Bratton: Thank you for that. That is something that I never thought about. It makes complete sense, and was a really nice epiphany for me. I appreciate that. All right, so I know you have a special giveaway. You’re going to give The Secret Life of Testimonials to one of my DishyMix fans. And I want to let you know that you can get Sean D’Souza’s product from me for free if you’re the lucky recipient, by going to the DishyMix fan page on Facebook. Post your desire. Sean and I will pick our favorite request and we’ll give you The Secret Life of Testimonials. For the rest of you who are too lazy to go post on my Facebook fan page and get it for free and you want to buy it, Sean tell people how they can come to you and purchase this product, this information product.

Sean D’Souza: Well you can go to and there is a products page and you can start to see products under $50 and that’s where it is. Our products are quite expensive. They’re very good, that’s why they’re expensive. But this one is under $50, or lets say you’ll find it under the under $50 section. However, if you still want to just check us out, you can go to the front page and there is a headline product, How To Write Your Headline or Why Headlines Fail, and that’s absolutely free. So you don’t have to buy anything. Have a look through everything, reduce your risk factor and you’ll find out for yourself how good the products are.

Susan Bratton: I want every single thing you make Sean D’Souza. I am in love with you right now. I think your stuff is super cool. And you mentioned The Brain Audit, and we didn’t really want to go into that here at the show, but just as a final wrap up, why don’t you explain to us what Brain Audit is.

Sean D’Souza: Well The Brain Audit is how customers think and, you know, why they buy and why they don’t. And essentially what most of us have been trained to do is we’ve been trained to persuade, and you don’t have to really persuade. You have to, when you give people information in a specific sequence and the sequence that they’re expecting, then they automatically start to respond in that way. So it’s a very simple and very powerful system that has been tested in pretty much any country on the planet that you can think of. I mean way back in 2004 we had 800 testimonials for The Brain Audit alone. So that list has increased and you’ll find that once you read The Brain Audit it’s like, “Damn, why didn’t I think of this before?” But you find out for yourself.

Susan Bratton: Now is The Brain Audit a book or an information product, or what? I’m a little confused about it, and I apologize.

Sean D’Souza: It is a book, it’s an information product so you can get it on Amazon, but you, you know, on the website it’s far more expensive than Amazon, and there you get totally different stuff. You get audio and video and additional stuff, which you don’t get on Amazon. So you can get it either way. You can get it straight off Amazon, or you can get to our website and then there is a whole different level of information out there, and it’s kind of, it’s more in depth, and I think it’s worth it and most of our readers eventually, they buy the Amazon and the stuff on the website, so that’s how it goes.

Susan Bratton: Okay, so the book is whatever it costs for a book, $20 or something on Amazon, but it’s about a little over $100 for The Brain Audit on your website.

Sean D’Souza: Correct.

Susan Bratton: All right, so it’s not – I mean it’s still an expensive product. From a marketer’s perspective, if something helps us close one more sale it’s easy just to buy a $100 product. Got it. Okay, good, so it’s totally reasonable. You should just go buy The Brain Audit from Psycho Tactics. Tell us what’s in that too.

Sean D’Souza: Well, again, it follows a system. I’m very much system driven, and it follows the system of how the customer thinks, so it talks over the seven red bags, and essentially it’s like putting seven red bags on the flight and you get off on the other side. And what happens if you leave on bag behind? The point is you don’t leave the airport. So it shows you why every one of those seven red bags is important, and testimonials are one of those bags. So The Brain Audit is like the, it shows you which bag comes first, which comes second, how we’ve been going about it the wrong way for all of these years, how the brain operates. It’s a very interesting book. It’s got like 99 cartoons in it. It’s got a butter chicken recipe. It’s fun to read. What can I say? Just have a look at what it is and you will think, “Why don’t they think other marketing books like this that are 1, so easy to read, b, so easy to implement.” That’s the whole point. I mean it’s fine reading another marketing book, but this one’s about implementation and system. And that’s the whole point. It’s about an audit. You can go back to your stuff and say, “Oh, that’s where I got it wrong.” It’s not just some more information; it’s an audit. You can actually go there and find out what you did wrong and fix it.

Susan Bratton: Oh my god, if I look at what I did wrong, I’d probably be so depressed. I’d have to eat a whole gallon of butter chicken. That’s what the recipe’s for.

Sean D’Souza: That’s right.

Susan Bratton: When you get so depressed ‘cause you screwed up a whole funnel. Well good for you. I love it. Now my last and final question, you live in Auckland, New Zealand. How have the earthquakes been? Are you good? Is your house okay? How’s everything there these days?

Sean D’Souza: Yeah, New Zealand’s a very big despite what everybody thinks.

Susan Bratton: Oh no, I know it’s a big place, but I don’t know if you were affected.

Sean D’Souza: Now we were not.

Susan Bratton: Okay.

Sean D’Souza: We’re on the north island, that was on the south island.

Susan Bratton: Okay. That’s my stupidity and I apologize, but…

Sean D’Souza: Oh no, it’s fine.

Susan Bratton: we have a lot of friends…

Sean D’Souza: We’re not really on the map anyways, so it doesn’t matter.

Susan Bratton: Well you trip around the globe anyway, so… Sean, hey thank you so much for coming on the show. You’re my kind of guy man. I loved you Secret Life of Testimonials. I knew everybody who was a DishyMix listener would really enjoy it. You clearly know what you’re doing. The Brain Audit sounds super cool too. And I hope to have you back on the show sometime soon.

Sean D’Souza: Well thank you for having me on, and yeah, it was great speaking to you.

Susan Bratton: Yeah, thank you so – I know, I prepared really well for you, didn’t I?

Sean D’Souza: Yes you did.

Susan Bratton: I had my questions ready, didn’t I?

Sean D’Souza: And I wouldn’t be impressed if you didn’t.

Susan Bratton: Aww, thank you. All right, I’m your host, Susan Bratton. You got to meet Sean D’Souza. His domain is Psycho Tactics. And you can check out The Secret Life of Testimonials and The Brain Audit there, as well as a lot of his other great stuff, and damn that man has a lot of testimonials. So there you go. You’ll see a working model of how to use testimonials just by going to Have a great day. I hope you’ll tune in next week, and I hope you loved the show today. Take care. Bye-bye.