How to Get People Talking (About the Good That You Do)

It was stuffed to the max with emails…

…that my friend had collected, then printed, for safe keeping.

And it was a bright red vinyl folder, clearly designed to be seen – and to last.

I was in public office at the time, representing my district on the county commission. And as the book says, “It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.”

I won’t go into details, but imagine the worst things you’ve ever heard about partisan bickering in government, then double it.

During one particularly rough patch, a dear friend pulled together an event, a large gathering of friends and constituents, specifically to give me a much needed boost of emotional support.

It was an incredible act of kindness that I will never forget.

And it was at that event that she handed me that folder, stuffed with good wishes, kind words, and positive feedback about things I’d said and done in public service.

Many of the notes were filled with heartfelt thanks and praise that touched me deeply.

“Everyone needs an ‘atta girl’ file…”, she said, as she handed it over. “So any time you get discouraged, when you start wondering if you’re doing any good, or if your work matters, we want you to read these.”

And I did.

Over the next few years, reading those notes (and others that came as well) reminded me that I was making a difference – even when I wasn’t always so sure.

That was my first experience with testimonials. :)

The difference between my red folder and the testimonials you’ve probably gotten is that I never published mine.

You, though, should absolutely include yours in your marketing – every chance you get.

But first, you have to get them.

Gathering and using testimonials is hugely important for the marketing and credibility of any business, including yours.

So I want you to get into the habit NOW of building this in to every stage of your work with clients.

Just be sure to get permission to use those testimonials in your marketing. (More about that in a moment.)

Now, here are some easy ways to gather testimonials that will make your marketing efforts zing.

1. Keep the good stuff.

Save cards, letters, texts, pictures, and emails clients send to thank you for what you’ve done. You can quote these directly, but you can also take a photo of the originals and post that instead. (Just be careful about names in your photos.)

2. Ask without asking.

Create tools that lead naturally to testimonials, and use them after presentations, coaching engagements, workshops, etc. This could be a simple evaluation with a few open-ended questions like, “What did you enjoy about today’s talk?” or “What idea(s) did you hear that you can use with your kids?”

And get that permission with a final question: “May I use your feedback as a testimonial?”

3. “Like” what you see.

When clients post on social media, especially if they’re sharing a win like getting their first client or standing up for themselves in a good way, grab a quick screen shot. (And offer them a huge congrats too!)

4. Use the what, not necessarily the who.

It does help if you can include full names with titles, websites or cities with any testimonial you use. But if you’re printing or posting about work that is sensitive or confidential, you can do so without revealing personal information.

For example, you can attribute it to “a mother of three” or something generic like “a long-time client.” Be creative but ethical.

Because even if you’re keeping it completely anonymous, you still need permission.

5. Find and seek.

It’s great to use testimonials that are given spontaneously, of course. But it’s also perfectly fine to ask your clients to actually write something for you. In fact, often they’ll see this as an honor. Just make sure you use their words.

And here’s a bonus tip: focus on your clients and their results. Let the testimonial speak for itself.

And if, like so many of my clients, you have trouble letting people know how great you are, your clients will do it for you!

Celebrating their success allows you to communicate your value in a way that feels genuine and honest rather than “salesy.” Because testimonials honor the results they’ve gotten in their own life, through their work with you.

 

 

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