Get better testimonials NOW!

I’m curious — how much time have you spent thinking about the quality of your testimonials?

According to Nielsen, 70% of people trust reviews and recommendations from strangers. And why? Because, when done well, testimonials are stories — and we know that authentic storytelling is key in making the sale.

However, if you’re like most entrepreneurs I work with, you’re leaving your testimonial power on the table by not being proactive or curatorial enough. 

Back in the day, when I was first starting out in sales, my bosses asked me to go out and gather some testimonials from happy customers. I thought it would be so easy — simply ask my satisfied clients to whip up a few glowing sentences, and voila! 

My clients were happy to oblige, but when their testimonials started rolling in, the best way to describe them was, “Meh.”

They said nice things, but there was no storytelling. No strong impact statement. No evidence of the ROI they were experiencing. 

And that’s when it hit me: We were asking too much of our customers. They weren’t storytellers or writers — they were busy business owners who, though well intentioned, didn’t really have the time to devote to writing knock-out testimonials. 

So, we changed the way we asked for client testimonials, and I’ve been using this method successfully for 20 years.

Today, I’m inviting you to steal it! 

Here’s what to do:

  1. Be proactive and consistent — add testimonial gathering to your official off-boarding process for clients 
  2. Instead of asking clients to write up a testimonial (a.k.a dropping a pile of work on their plate), interview them — you can do this live, or send them an easy online survey (bonus points for capturing this on video)
  3. Let them know you’ll be turning their answers into a testimonial for their review — in other words, you’ll be taking their responses and crafting a high-impact testimonial that you won’t publish without their approval

This way, you’ll pull out all the best snippets of content and weave it together to tell an influential and accurate story about the great work you’ve done. 

And the best part is, your busy clients will thank you for it!

Your survey questions will vary depending on your industry and scope of work. Try to keep it to 3-5 questions, and let your client know that you’re not looking for essays — just a few sentences will do. Here are some example questions to get you going:

 

(1) What challenge(s) were you facing that compelled you to explore working with us?

(2) What were the results of working with us? Please give specific, quantifiable results.

(3) What was it like working with us? How did you feel during our time working together?

(4) If you were to recommend us to a close friend, what would you say?

(5) Is there anything you’d like to add?

(6) Your name, title and company as you’d like it to appear?

 

Remember, you’re trying to tell a story — your testimonial should include the set-up (the challenge there were facing), how they felt working with you, and the outcomes. Get specific!

Give this a try and let me know how it goes. Comment below!

 

 

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  1. Love this! Thank you. I have been thinking about but doing nothing about gathering testimonials from former clients. This guide is a great boost to get me going.
    What do you think about getting testimonials from current clients (I am a coach and have been working with some of my clients for a while now and our work is ongoing).

    1. @Jennifer — definitely! As a coach, your work can be ongoing, and I encourage you to ask for testimonials as you go (as opposed to waiting ’til the end of a long engagement). Have a think about how many months into an engagement would be a good 1st time to ask (3 months? 6 months?) — and give the client a heads up that you’ll ask for an updated testimonial at the conclusion of your work together. Thanks for a great question!