“I can write that for you if you’d like…”
That’s what I said when an outstanding client – and a busy one – said yes to my request for a testimonial. She didn’t even hesitate when I made the request.
But I knew what her life was like. And I knew that a lot of people want to give you a testimonial but are really too busy to write one.
No matter how awesome your work with someone has been, asking clients to give you a testimonial may be unnerving.
You’re supposed to help them. Asking for their help in return may feel somehow wrong.
But people want to help. We all like to feel useful. We all want and need to be heard. And most of us like to share our opinion.
That’s really all you’re asking your clients to do – and most of them will be glad you asked. :)
But they may not know how to do it.
In fact, even if they do, you will get better testimonials if you guide the process.
You don’t just want them to write something like, “Oh, I loved working with Kathy. She was great!”
You want a carefully crafted statement that strategically demonstrates your client’s success, and your role in helping them reach it.
There are two basic ways to do this: the easy way and the easier way. We’ll start with the easier way.
Write the testimonial for them.
No, that’s not tacky at ALL.
If anything, you’ll hear relief when you offer to make this so easy.
Just tell them that you’ll write the testimonial as you imagine they want it to go. All they have to do is edit (if desired), approve it and provide permission to share it.
(Click here for a guide that includes a release giving you that permission.)
This is easier than it seems, because you don’t have to be a mind reader; you just have to be organized.
Here are some sources to use when writing a testimonial that could come from your client.
The beauty of using these resources is that you using their words as your foundation. It doesn’t get much easier than that.
Here’s the other way.
Help them write their own with a structure to follow.
This can be as simple as a short list of questions they answer in a narrative style, or as structured as a form they fill out and return to you.
But here, too, there is a strategy at play.
Questions you ask should include:
Notice these questions tell a story that progresses from problem, to solution, to their results, to your expertise.
That’s no accident. :)
Providing them with guidelines or a structure takes the worry out of writing the “right” thing.
Because let’s face it; it’s one thing to write a quick Facebook status update. It’s quite another to write something that will be used to market your business.
Giving them a way to alleviate the intimidation factor will make both of you feel better.
But even more importantly, it will lead to effective testimonials that you can really use.
Now – just a quick note about timing.
Once you’ve decided to use testimonials, make it a practice to ask for – and get these – as quickly as possible after a client’s success.
Even with easy to follow guidelines, they may not get to it as soon as you’d like. But their message will be sharper, more authentic and heartfelt the sooner it is written.
The good news?
There are lots of ways to ask for and gather really great testimonials that shine a bright light on the beautiful work you’re doing in the world.
And to help you out, I’ve created a guide that walks you through each of the ways described here. In it, I’ll also give you the exact language you can use to ask for these from your clients.
Click here to get your own copy of that guide. Feel free to use it as is or edit it to fit your own practice.
Your business focuses on people and relationships, and there is no better marketing than your clients telling their friends and colleagues about what you do.
Helping them share that good news that is a great way to build your reputation and your client base. (And next week, I’ll share specific tips for how and where to use these once you have them!)