“More than 50% of my clients tell me they’re so nervous about asking for testimonials that they avoid it altogether,” says veteran brand strategist and former copywriter Lori Reeves. “But a great testimonial can not only get you a discovery call but also prime the pump before you hop on the phone with a potential client.”
Ready to make sure you never leave any money on the table and capture every revenue-generating piece of praise you can? Follow Reeves’ advice for collecting a treasure trove of testimonials starting today.
1. Think Beyond Your Client Base
If you’re just starting out, collecting incredible testimonials can feel like a catch-22. How will you get someone to pay for your services if you can’t get testimonials, because you haven’t had anyone pay for your services yet? But there’s no law that says every testimonial must be from a person who paid to work with you.
“A testimonial is a quote from someone you helped in some way. That’s it,” says Reeves. “And don’t believe you need to offer your services for free in order to get an exceptional testimonial. Talk about what you do everywhere. Get into conversations with people where you can offer helpful advice. As soon as you hear someone say something like, ‘Oh that was helpful!’, that’s your cue.”
Reeves admits that you might have to get out of your comfort zone to ask for a testimonial after a casual conversation where you offered stellar advice, but she says it’s worth it. “Most people will be more than happy to allow you to use their feedback as a testimonial,” says Reeves. “You may even end up with a long list of testimonials before anyone has ever hired you.”
2. Ask The Right Questions
If you want great testimonials then you have to ask great questions. To that point, Reeves recommends avoiding broad questions that can be answered with a simple yes or no. (Think, “Would you recommend me to friends and family?” or “Did you benefit from our work together?”)
Instead, Reeves encourages asking specific questions that require a bit of engaging explanation. (Think: “What are some reasons you’d recommend me to your friends and family? Or “How is your life different now that we’ve worked together?”)
Another benefit to asking specific questions is that they often require a bit of narrative and back story from your client. “Hearing more about another person’s journey can help a potential client visualize the difference their life could have if they worked with you,” says Reeves.
3. Don’t Wait Until The End Of The Process
Most people send a feedback form to their clients at the end of the process and try to pull testimonial quotes from there. But Reeves recommends asking your clients for feedback along the way so that you have testimonials that speak to each stage of the process.
“Help your potential customers visualize the journey they’ll take with you by asking your current customers questions in the beginning and the middle of the process about the investment they made and the progress they’re seeing,” suggests Reeves. “If you wait until after you’ve finished serving them, they may not accurately remember details. So it’s important to capture that information along the way.”
When deciding when to prompt your clients with questions, think about the times in your process where you dispel a fear, solve a problem, hand over a deliverable or all of the above. “If you provide each new client with a comprehensive and detailed project plan after your initial consultation, that’s a great time to check in and ask for written feedback,” says Reeves. “Collecting feedback that your new client has confidence in you and your abilities to achieve the desired transformation can help other potential clients trust that you’ll create a similarly detailed plan for them and their unique circumstances early in the process.”
4. Pull From Various Formats
“You don’t always have to use a feedback form to collect testimonials,” says Reeves. “See someone praising your work and methods on Facebook? Take a screenshot. Got an email from a client gushing about how confident they feel working with you? Save it. See someone slide into your Instagram DMs with praise? Capture it.
“Just be clear with your clients that you would like to share their quote and always give them the option of excluding their name,” says Reeves.
5. Never Stop At Just Three Or Four
“Think about how you yourself evaluate products according to reviews or ratings. Would you rather see hundreds of reviews or just a handful?,” says Reeves. “‘There’s strength in numbers’ became a cliche for a reason.”
Even if you don’t have really long or elaborate testimonials from many people, as long as you have a higher number of them, that can tip the scale for you when it comes to selling your services. The more the merrier for your business’s bottom line.