How many times have you had to make a big purchasing decision? When you do, how do you make it? Do you run right out to your local box store and purchase the TV or refrigerator that is least expensive? Do you hire a plumber or an electrician by throwing a dart into the Yellow Pages? Or do you ask around to neighbors, family, and friends as to what brand they use or who their local technician is? To me, there is no better way to build a brand than with testimonials and word-of-mouth marketing. Just the other day, someone told me about a great new tea. So I tried it. And now I’m drinking a cup of it every morning. Had that friend never told me about the tea, I would have never looked for it on a store shelf or even have thought to start drinking tea. But I could be very well on my way to being a tea drinker. The tea company didn’t ask for my friend’s testimonial. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t — ask your customers that is. Real life experiences with your products and services will go a long way in helping to build your brand and convince new customers and leads that they should do business with you. Pick out a handful of your most loyal customers and ask them for their feedback. Let them know, that if they feel comfortable with it, you’d like to use their testimonial in your marketing materials. Then, with their permission, post them to your website, in your blogs, on Facebook, LinkedIn, or even Tweet about their business. In this tough economy, those who have loyal customers going to bat for their VARs will land successfully on their feet.