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How to Collect Amazing Testimonials from Your Clients

by | Jul 24, 2018

Social proof is a big factor in landing new clients and a well-written testimonial is a powerful piece of social proof.


But a testimonial isn’t just a stamp of approval that you stick on your website – it’s a key piece of sales copy. A good testimonial will activate your prospect’s imagination and help them envision what your services can accomplish in their lives.





It’s also about trust. A prospective client will want to know what results are possible. Have you actually accomplished what you say you can accomplish? A great testimonial can go a long way in reassuring even the most skeptical prospects, and they are a great way to highlight the successful work you’ve done in the past.


*When using testimonials in your sales/website copy, it’s smart to get the advice of a lawyer and use proper disclaimers on your website. The results of a certain client – described in a testimonial – isn’t a guarantee of the same results for another client (in most cases). It’s important to have the correct legal documents on your website. And since I’m not a lawyer I’d recommend you consult a pro!



So client testimonials are important and valuable – but how do you get your clients to write testimonials that are compelling enough boost your sales? Here are 3 steps that I have developed over the years to consistently collect powerful testimonials from my clients (including the exact questions I ask!)



Step One: Set the stage


This can be one of those things that seems obvious when you read it but can get lost in the shuffle of everyday work. In order to collect a great testimonial from a client – one that will help you sell your services to even more clients – you have to give them an undeniable reason to talk highly of you.


Set the stage for glowing recommendations by making sure that every part of your client process (from on-boarding straight through to project wrap-up) is as rave-worthy as possible. Provide great customer service (as a minimum) and find ways to make your client experience stand out.


Even little things that don’t take much extra time or money – like preparing a helpful client welcome guide and sending a fun thank you note in the mail after a client books a project – can set you apart and make your client feel well attended to.


In addition to a great client experience you should, naturally, be delivering exceptional work. If you delivered what you promised (or more than what you promised) and helped your client get the results they wanted, they’ll be eager to share their experience with others.



Step Two: Make it easy


After you’ve set the stage for a great testimonial by providing your client with great results and a stand-out experience, it’s time to ask for a testimonial.


I always ask for a testimonial from a client shortly after the conclusion of their project, but I’ve seen people implement this step successfully at other points. One marketing coach I know sends a mid-project survey that includes a section for a short testimonial-type summary based on the progress that client has made so far. Another survey is sent at the end of the project, and the two testimonial sections can be combined. Think through your own client process to spot the best opportunities to ask for feedback and testimonials.


Even if you’ve wowed your client, getting them to write a testimonial for you can be tough (and no one likes to keep nagging for “positive feedback”).


To minimize the chance that your request goes unattended in your client’s inbox, do all of the legwork for them ahead of time. Make it as easy as possible.


Whittle it down so that your client only needs to invest a few short minutes to complete the task – and let them know up front that it will be quick.


Here are a few ways to make the testimonial process easy for your clients:





Don’t just send an email to a client asking for “a testimonial” or “feedback”. That’s way too open ended and will cater to everyone’s natural tendency to procrastinate on vague tasks.


Make the request easy to act on by serving up specific questions (I share which questions I use in the next section) and limiting the number of questions so it can be completed quickly.





You might think calls to action are reserved for sales pages and marketing emails – but they are actually a useful tool for any part of your life that requires asking something of someone else.


When you’re asking someone to do something for you, providing a clear next step just makes it easier to say yes. It eases the friction of jumping into whatever that new task is.


Use the Call to Action to help you get more – and better – responses to your requests for testimonials.


If you’re including your testimonial questions directly in an email, you could say “copy my 3 questions below, hit reply, and paste the questions plus your answers in a new email. Hit send and that’s it – I really appreciate you taking a few minutes out of your busy day to provide this feedback!”


If you’re using a survey tool (like Typeform.com or a form built on your website), include a link and say something like “Click here to fill out my short 3-question testimonial survey”.


You get the picture. Tell your clients exactly what to do to fulfill your request easily and give them all the information they need to do it.




Step Three: Ask the right questions



Now the best part: asking the right questions in order to get testimonials that act as super-powered sales tools.


Even if you’ve struggled with clients not responding to your requests for testimonials in the past, most of the time getting a testimonial isn’t the hardest part.


It’s getting a good testimonial that’s tricky.


A client saying…


“Jan was professional and kind and did wonderful work!”


….is sweet but not compelling.


However, a client saying…


“I used to feel awful, overweight, and tired all the time. I didn’t even want to take my kids to the park. Jan helped me transform my eating habits in the 30 days we worked together and as a result I lost 20 lbs and wake up with loads of energy every morning! I’ve registered for a marathon and am taking a hiking trip in the Rockies – two of my bucket list items – thanks to Jans coaching!”


…is gold.


The difference between these two types of testimonials is specifics and transformation.


In order to collect compelling, sales-boosting client testimonials, you need to help people get specific about what their situation was like before working with you and what their life is like now, after working with.


When collecting testimonials from clients, asking things like “What was it like to work with me?” or “What’s your feedback on our project together?” generally elicits vague answers – because those questions are vague.


The project was “great” and your service was “professional and prompt”. But…so what?


These aren’t the nuggets of insight that will get prospects excited to work with you. They already expect your services to be great, professional, and prompt as a baseline. They want to hear specific things they can latch on to – like getting healthy, having energy, and being able to tackle life goals like running a marathon – from our example above.


Those are the details that will get your prospects imagining the possibilities and getting excited to work with you.


So how do you get specific details and stories of transformation from your clients?





What problems were you looking to solve when you first reached out to me? What were you unhappy about in your life/business/career/relationship/whatever?

How have things changed since working with me? How did I help you reach your goals/get what you want/get rid of a problem/etc?

What exciting things have happened in your life/business/relationships/etc. since our work together? What are you doing/experiencing/accomplishing now that you weren’t before?


Another powerful thing to capture in your client testimonials: answers to objections.


While the transformation story and specific results are top priority, if a client testimonial also addresses the common concerns most of your prospects are wrestling with, that’s even better. Here are a couple of questions you can use to get feedback on that area:


If someone called you and said “Why should I do business with [company]?”, what would you tell them?

What were you most nervous/concerned about before hiring me? What objections did you work through before deciding to move forward? Did those worries come true and – if not – what happened instead?



Take action:


Implementing these 3 steps can mean the difference between collecting forgettable client testimonials and client testimonials that will super-charge your website and sales pages. Here’s how you can get started with a better testimonial system now:


1 – Review your client process and make sure you’re giving your clients plenty of reasons to talk highly about you and your services.


2 – Create swipe-copy for the email you send clients when you ask for a testimonial. Make sure this email copy makes it super clear and easy for your clients to fulfill your request. When it’s time to send a testimonial request to a client, you can just copy, paste, and customize this template!


3 – Create a form or swipe-email with the testimonial questions listed above (or use them as inspiration to pen your own questions) so you’re set up and ready to collect glowing client testimonials.

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