How to Get Testimonials that Get You Clients

Written by Christine Kane

How to Get Testimonials that Get You Clients by Christine KaneIf you don’t feel comfortable selling yourself, then here’s some good news…

Client testimonials can effortlessly bring you more sales and more qualified prospects.

That’s because your clients sell you better than you can.  Client success stories create trust and prove your credibility.  They speak to your prospect’s doubts and desired results. They create community.

Then why do business owners resist using testimonials?  Why do people neglect to ask for testimonials from their clients?

Sometimes it’s laziness or forgetfulness.

More often than not, they’ve bought into the “play small” mindset that keeps solo-businesses stuck at the same level year after year.  They’re nervous to appear boastful or to market their client successes.

Bottom line:

If you won’t create marketing systems that share your awesomeness with the world, then you’re leaving a lot of money on the table.

Get over it.  Get some testimonials. And post them for all to see!

Here are my top tips for getting great client testimonials that will Uplevel your Business™ and your sales…

#1 – Get results!

Obviously, you have to provide great service to your clients and know that they are indeed getting great results.

If you’re new to your business and haven’t gotten results yet, consider offering a “pilot program” for a small group.  In exchange for your free services, you can request testimonials (as well as valuable feedback!) after your program is over.

#2 – Know WHEN to Ask

The best time to ask for a testimonial is when a client tells you about a result you helped her achieve.  You can use this as a springboard to ask her to write you a formal testimonial.

Another optimal time to ask is when you have finished your work with a client, or when a program is complete.  Email your students with a request for success stories and results.

#3 – Know HOW to Ask

HOW you ask for a testimonial is every bit as important as asking for one.

Consider this:

“I need to get some testimonials for my website. Would you consider writing something for me?”

Versus this:

“I love that you made that happen, Lucy! Would you be willing to let me feature you on my website as a client success story so that other people can be inspired by you?”

Position the testimonial as something of service (because it is!) and something that will promote them. (Because it will!)

#4  – Know WHAT to Ask

Make sure you ask for THEIR story and THEIR results.

You do not want a testimonial telling the world how very cool YOU are.

You may indeed be the hippest baddest weight-loss coach to walk the planet.  But if my ass is still ginormous, then you didn’t get the results I wanted.  And your prospects will question this if the testimonial is ONLY about you!

RESULTS make a testimonial. Not a manifesto about how hip and fun YOU are.

#5 – Give Your Client Clear Testimonial Guidelines

Tell your client exactly what you want in your testimonial.

Here’s a formula:

1 – Share where you were before.

2 – Share some tangible results you got.

3 – Share where you are now.

If your client is daunted by writing (as many people are), ask them to just jot down a few bullet points. You can help edit and let them give the final approval.

#6 – Use your client’s full name and photo

Have you ever seen a glowing testimonial followed only by a set of initials and a city?

Kind of wrecks the whole vibe, doesn’t it?

That’s because it seems fake!

We don’t know who “T.K. , Springfield, IL” is.

But “Traci Kimmel, Springfield, IL” is a real person with a real smile.  Do not ignore the impact of this.

Always include a photo, full name and (if applicable) website address or business name.  This provides valuable exposure for your client – and also lends credibility to the testimonial.

#7 Give Thanks

Your clients are the reason your business exists.  So please don’t forget to thank them for taking the time to help you build your business.

Consider sending a handwritten thank you note or even a small token of appreciation.

At Uplevel YOU, we go out of our way to thank our clients and students for sharing their success stories in my eZine and on my website. (I’m won’t say what it is. After all, you may send us a testimonial some day.  And I don’t want to blow the surprise!)

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In the comments below, let me know if you are currently using testimonials in your business and what you’re going to do THIS WEEK to Uplevel this piece of your marketing!

If you've ever believed it was impossible to be totally authentic AND make lots of money in your business - then you're not alone. Purposeful entrepreneurs want it REAL - and I promise to deliver! Get my FREE VIDEO, and I will walk you step-by-step through my own Uplevel Fast Track Formula for making money... on your own terms and in your own way. Enter your email and let's get started!

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{15 comments ... read them below or add one}

Michele Marik May 22, 2013 at 9:14 am

Hi, Christine – great post, right on-the-mark when it comes to the value and importance of gathering testimonials.

I’m in the ‘just getting started’ phase of my business. My most recent approach to testimonial-gathering has been to pass out a feedback form at the end of a free seminar I’m using to promote a program I offer. I’m SO grateful that some of my attendees are masters of the ‘sound-bite’, giving me exactly the right testimonials.

I like your idea of photos, though – I’ll have to add that after my program – get people to give me video clips or photos and testimonials.

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Dr. Anna Garrett May 22, 2013 at 9:33 am

Great business-building idea/post! I ask everyone for testimonials. Once in a while, someone will say no because they want privacy, but most clients are more than willing. And I know people read them…my Success Stories page shows lots of traffic in Google Analytics!

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Donna Thomas Reply:

Hi Dr. Anna- How do you deal with patient confidentiality & HIPPA regulations with testimonials? Aloha! Donna

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Dr. Anna Garrett Reply:

Hi Donna..I have a photo consent and permission form for use of the testimonial. I also make it clear that they can refuse to give one, have it be anonymous, or have it removed at any time.

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Marcia May 22, 2013 at 9:47 am

Thanks for this article, it is just what I needed. I cringe at asking for testimonials. But I just send an email to a client I recently had a number of sessions with asking for a testimonial. May it be one of many.

Colourfully,

Marcia

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Gerard May 22, 2013 at 10:30 am

Hey Christine thanks for the great article I have noticed a couple of testimonials online in forums about my company I must admit I have never asked for one, but as you say you have to build your credibility and the testimonials will help.

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Melissa May 22, 2013 at 11:39 am

This is great, I’ve seen quite a few sites with testimonials but have never implemented them on my site. However, I get quite a few thank you emails and comments in my shop, I’ll reach out to those people and see if I can get more of a testimonial to add to my site! Thanks again!

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Donna Thomas May 22, 2013 at 1:07 pm

In my massage practice, there are medical confidentiality concerns – legal and patient privacy – which makes it challenging to get testimonials, especially if they have to give their name. What do you recommend for this? Are testimonials with initials better than none at all?

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Alexandre L'Eveille May 22, 2013 at 3:44 pm

I totally agree—testimonials are gold. Not only does it help you, it reminds the client of how great their experience was and sometimes spawns referrals! If you use LinkedIn and your clients do, there’s an easy way to ask for recommendations. It includes a pre-written message, but I always customize it (must as you suggest above) to prompt them to tell me about their success. Works like a charm.

Another tactic I put together for some of my clients to help them get testimonials is a follow-up survey. Depending on the kind of business, a “how did we do” quality follow-up with carefully worded questions and a comment box prompts a testimonial. I have them add a check box that it’s okay to share the testimonial and with or without a name. Although a name is better as you said, with some corporate clients, the attorneys will not allow them to endorse a vendor, so they can genericize it with title only and sometimes company type. They can then verbally tell a prospect the name of the reference. Crazy, but at least they get the reference and testimonial.

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Post Kudos May 24, 2013 at 4:55 pm

I see this with a lot of websites where no one actually lands on the testimonials page, but everyone seems to end up their some how. And a majority of people who do tend to move on to a contact page or some other type of conversion form. Never underestimate the power that testimonials have!

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Cena Block from SaneSpaces.com May 25, 2013 at 10:57 am

@Post Kudos – One thing that I have done with my testimonials page is created a PDF and I issue that as part of my Discovery Call Process with prospects. I ask anyone who wants to have a Discovery session with me (a free- get to know you/sales call), to fill out a brief information form, and then ask them to read my testimonials from past clients… and I provide them with a PDF. I also refer them to my ‘personal interview’ which talks about my experience and background. This way it is all out of the way when we talk live and we can talk about THEM and what THEIR needs are…. SO, my recommendation is to YES post them on your site, but also build them into your sales system up front so people have them right there.

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Post Kudos Reply:

A PDF can work well with proposals/paper documents, but video testimonials are far more powerful and credible. Text testimonials may be a key part of your sales presentations, but are nowhere near as convincing as video.

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Jill Marie May 21, 2014 at 8:49 am

Question about names for the Testimonials. I totally get what you are saying about full names but as a Retired Registered nurse and the nature of the work that I do I prefer to use initials only to keep the confidentiality of my clients. Not everybody wants people to know they are doing energy release work, activating their Light Body and such. I am wondering if there is a way to enhance my testimonials without having to use names. I work with Artist’s, Healers, Teachers and Spiritual Change agents who are very transparent and at the same time prefer not to be showcased in a testimonial in that way. Any thoughts on that?

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robert July 11, 2014 at 5:32 pm

Jill Marie,
One good way to assure someone that their testimonial won’t affect their online presence is to offer to put them on a webpage with a “nofollow” script. This script is written into the code of the webpage which instructs search engines not to index the page. This means that their name in this context will not come up in search results. Another way to “hide” a full name from search engines is to include the full name and quote as an image. Search engines (so far!) can’t read image text.

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Linda August 4, 2014 at 2:14 pm

I am a photographer, so this will be a little different than asking someone to write a testimonial of how you helped them achieve something. What do you think of using excepts from e-mails or notes that clients have written you praising your work (ie. the photos you took of them during their photo session)? I like to use those kinds of testimonials because they sound so sincere (which, they are). I have asked people in the past if they could write a testimonial for me and it always sounds so stale and robot-like, as if I asked them to write it. Any info would be helpful in order for me to do better at this aspect. Thanks in advance.

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