Getting great testimonials (Part 2: How to make sure you get them)

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Knowing what goes into a good testimonial is only half the battle

In Part 1 of this blog post, I talked about what goes into a good testimonial.

I explained why potential clients want to read about the “before, during and after” of other people’s experiences with you. I described why showing that previous clients generally liked you isn’t enough. Instead, you need to demonstrate that you’ve successfully helped other people who are like them, with problems like theirs, before.

Today, I’m going to talk about how I get testimonials that provide that kind of information from my clients.  Note that my process is designed with heart-based service providers (e.g. coaches, massage therapists, healers, etc) in mind.  However, if you sell products, you should be able to tweak it to work for you.

#1 Assume that you’ll need to ask for a testimonial, and set expectations about it early

It’s wonderful when happy clients spontaneously offer a testimonial.  Relying on them to do it, however, can result in a lot of missed opportunities.

For both my copywriting and my introvert coaching, I try to set the expectation that I’ll ask for a testimonial well before we finish the project or coaching package.  If a client offers any positive feedback while we’re working together, I’ll usually say something like, “Thank you! Would you be OK with putting that into a testimonial after our project finishes?”

Then, towards the end of the project, I’ll also let them know that part of closing out our work together will be getting their written feedback.

#2 Get clients’ feedback as part of your standard project close-out process

I have a checklist that I run through when I’m closing out copywriting projects, and something similar for my final coaching session in any package.  In both cases, one of my final steps is to tell clients I’d like their feedback, and explain to them the process I generally use to get it.

NOTE: when you explain your process, make sure you communicate it in terms of the benefits to your clients!  I describe mine as one that makes everything as quick and easy for my clients as possible.

I explain that l have a few specific questions that cover the info I most need for a testimonial. If they’re happy to answer those questions, I’ll write them a rough testimonial draft from their responses. They’ll then be able to check my draft, and make any changes they want; and the testimonial won’t go out until they’re 100% happy with it.

I make sure I let them know that this process should at most take 10-15 minutes of their time in total. And then I explicitly ask permission to email through the questions. (I’ve had one client who said she didn’t give testimonial feedback on principle, but everyone else has been more than happy to!)

#3 Get the right information for a good testimonial by asking the right questions

Once I have my client’s permission to email through the questions, that’s exactly what I do.  If I’m 100% confident that everything went really well during the project, I’ll send through the following six questions (based very closely on the ones Jason Stein suggests):

  1. How would you describe the challenge that prompted you to contact me?
  2. What were you skeptical or worried about before you used my services?
  3. What did I actually do for you as we worked together?
  4. What specific results did you get from using my services?
  5. What have the benefits of those results been for you?
  6. Would you recommend my services to other people like you?  If so, why or why not?

Plus: if I suspect that things didn’t always go as well as they could have, I’ll add an extra question to the end:

  1. Was there anything you would have liked me to do differently?

Once I have my client’s answers, I’ll just follow the process I described to them. I’ll write a first draft, send it to them for approval, and make any edits they ask for.

Finally, I make sure I actually USE the testimonials they give me

I have a page dedicated to longform testimonials on both my copywriting and my introvert coaching sites.

Plus, on my introvert coaching info page, I have short snippets of the longer testimonial that I use to illustrate the claims I make about my services.

Occasionally, when I get really glowing testimonials from clients, I ask permission to write a full case study of our work together.  This essentially covers the same information, but in more depth, and with a few extra questions thrown in.  You can see examples of this with this coaching client, and this copywriting client.

All of which means that when a client asks me if I can help someone in their specific situation?  I can do more than just tell them “yes” – I can point them to concrete examples of where I’ve done it before, in the words of the person I’ve helped.

Because – as we discussed in Part 1 – when it comes to inspiring confidence in my abilities, that’s far more persuasive.

What process do you use to get YOUR testimonials?

So that’s a brief introduction to my personal process for getting – and using – great testimonials.  Now I’m curious: how do you get yours?

Do you have a set process?  If so, what do you do?

And how do you use the testimonials once you have them?

Please share in the comments below!


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