How to Get Testimonials that Get You Business - Christine Kane

If 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!)


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!


  • Jemma Taylor

    Yup testimonials always plays a good role for the growth of your product, a large number of customers always go through the reviews of existing users, and their positive reviews set a good impression on new customers!!

  • secret agent girl

    I see how I can re-purpose a couple of your points to fit the constraints of my profession…I’m a private practice psychotherapist, and due to confidentiality (as well as other legal and ethical regulations), I have to be very careful in this area–just off the bat, no photos and no names.

    I’m required to act in my clients’ best interests and specifically to not do anything that might be seen as taking advantage of someone in a vulnerable state/position.

    I haven’t quite figured out how to time the initial ask. During the course of therapy is not appropriate. Even at mutually pre-determined last sessions, it seems a little iffy. But once they’ve accomplished a new normal and left active counseling, it’s a different kind of intensity/energy to work with.

    And of course, I have to keep in mind that the client may wish to use my services again. So I think my approach needs to be very soft and low-key, as well as timed well.

    Any thoughts on how to tailor these excellent tips for my situation?

  • Katy Tafoya

    Great tips Christine!! When I first started collecting results, I led a program for a very reduced rate so I could get the testimonials…and the material to repurpose. More recently, they came about much more naturally. Come to think about it, I need to get off my butt and update my page.

    And what’s about a secret, surprise giftie 😉

  • Christine Kane

    Kylie: Two things: 1 — Make sure you encourage people to post their breakthroughs and the normal everyday “before” stuff that we all experience when it comes to self-esteem. Position this as a way to help others in similar positions. If you have some people who are willing to use photo – that’s great. I have tons of clients in my Uplevel your Life program who will send me testimonials that are really willing to reveal some pretty hard stuff they were living through before they did that program. Some people do not mind. Just make sure you are encouraging them to state only what they feel comfortable revealing. It sounds like you’ve got some folks who will happily do this and don’t mind if people know they went to a self-esteem coach.

    2 – If you post the testimonials on your site, you can have a section that says, “Because of the sensitive work I do, some of my clients are understandably private but wanted to share their success. The following testimonials are real people who wanted to remain anonymous…

    See if that helps!

    • Kylie

      Fabulous — these make perfect sense. Thank you so much for your help!

  • Kylie

    This is great, Christine. Thanks so much for spelling this out. I have a question: I’m a self-esteem coach, and some clients don’t feel comfortable with having their first and last name and photo on their testimonial. As a result, I haven’t put up any photos with testimonials on my testimonials page. Do you have any thoughts on whether it would be better to put up *some* photos for those clients who are comfortable with it and exclude photos for those clients who want more privacy? Or is it best to keep testimonial format consistent?

  • Kimberly Sherry

    Great timing….I just asked three clients for testimonies and all three seemed happy to help. We’ll see who pulls through. Admittedly I did let them know I was wondering if I could get a testimony for my newsletter. However, they had offered in the past to do so. I like the idea though of showcasing them as a client success story so that other people can be inspired by them. I’ll remember that for future reference.
    PS – Sorry to be missing Atlanta….I’m in Miami working and doing some breath training.

  • Farnoosh

    Hi Christine, excellent write-up on how to ask and get testimonials. I have been using all of your tips, and I know they work. I also want to add something else I learned: Adding a title to your testimonials. I started doing this. For instance, Jane Smith on Moving from a Dead-End Job to Thriving Self-Employment in 2 months….. It sums up the story, because that’s what it is, a story.
    Funny how I was ABOUT to write YOU a killer testimonial for your Uplevel Your Life program. And I’d be over the moon to be featured in your ezine, here’s hoping I get that lucky. Nonetheless, the testimonial is for real because you are the very best. I talk you up all day long to everyone I meet!

    • Christine Kane

      Thank you Farnoosh! Can’t wait to see what you write! It has been a joy working with you!

      • Christine Kane

        (and i LOVE your headline idea for testimonials. Don’t be surprised if I borrow it!)

  • Suzanne G

    This is one aspect of my business that I have been putting off because I wasn’t comfortable with asking someone to praise me. I love the concept of focusing on the client’s results and how they used our work together to get there. Thank you for that mindshift. I now know just how I am going to ask for testimonials.

    • Christine Kane

      That’s great Suzanne!

      (And you know what? I see a mindset block there too. You get to request, receive, ask for, absorb, brag about and give praise all throughout the life of your business! Why do we all play so small with our brilliance? You are awesome, girl! Own it!)

      [now i step down from my soapbox to continue answering comments.] 🙂

  • Kimberly Graham

    Hi Christine: In the past month or so, when clients have expressed gratitude for my help and how good it is to work with me to complete their divorces, I’ve asked for testimonials. All 4 replied with an enthusiastic “sure, would love to do this!” I’ve asked 4 clients, and only one (who owns his own business and is savvy about marketing) has written a testimonial.

    I did reach out to them to ask again. (except the latest client, because I only asked him last week.) I don’t want to leave a bad impression by continuing to ask. Should I just let it go if I don’t get a reply after, say, 2 follow-ups or 1? Any ideas for language to use in the reach out email?

    One idea they haven’t followed-through: perhaps once they think it over, they don’t want their name and city on a divorce mediator’s/ lawyer’s web site. I explained (that if they are a divorce law client), I can not and will not use their name yet, because in my state lawyer’s can’t yet use client testimonials in their ads. The ethics rules about that might be changing soon, so I’m collecting law firm client testimonials for when they do. But for my High Road Divorce program, separate from my law/mediation practice, I can use names and cities.

    Thoughts? Thanks! xo!

    • Christine Kane

      Hey Kimberly!

      As with SO many things, many times when someone doesn’t respond to us – it’s because they are busy, overwhelmed, distracted, etc. This happens a lot – and it’s also why it’s good to ask them to tell you when they will send it by, so that you can “check in.” (rather than feeling like you have to keep bugging them).

      I would position it that you are working on some new marketing materials or your website revamp – and you’d so love to include them in there.

      If they do not come through, then you learn from this lesson – and (if you’ll recall this from a gold mastermind module) set up your in-take materials to include a note about “My clients are thrilled with their results! I love asking for testimonials from these clients. Do I have your permission to do that?” That way, you position yourself from the start as a fully-engaged business owner. And they are already aware of this.

      Make sense?

  • Jennifer Flint Designs

    Awesome advice! I’m finishing up a little pilot program myself for my new aura reading service, and I did quite a number of free readings in exchange for testimonials. Hopefully that will help get the ball rolling! I’m so grateful for everyone who did take the time to leave kind comments, since they really are invaluable to this kind of work.

    • Christine Kane

      Jennifer – Good for you! Testimonials are one piece of the marketing pie so keep implementing and let’s see what happens!