People are more likely to believe complimentary statements about your business when they come from someone other than the business owner
Testimonials are a very effective, no-cost marketing tool you can use to promote your business. Compliments and words of affirmation from others are often more powerful than anything we can say about ourselves. Here is your simple and easy guide to getting great testimonials and getting them to work for your business.
1. Strike while the iron is hot.
Shortly after you complete a project with a client, ask for feedback. Regardless of whether or not you’re seeking a testimonial, you should always be asking clients for feedback along the way to know whether you’ve done a good job. But at the end of a project, ask them if they’re happy with the result. Have you met (or exceeded) expectations?
Begin with, “Was everything up to your expectations?” If they say yes, then you can ask other questions: “Is there anything in particular that you liked or were impressed by? Did anything pleasantly surprise you?” If they can answer this, then you’re on to step two.
2. Be specific.
We all know that testimonials only come from people who like us. So rather than using them as a way to prove that, think of testimonials as a way to get existing clients to help highlight your points of difference to prospects.
Don’t just ask people if they’d be willing to write a testimonial for you. Chances are you’ll get something vague like “Maple was great to work with – great service.” This doesn’t really tell prospects anything about the business or the service. You want them to say something specific, that will answer a question that a future prospect might have.
In response to step one above, if a client is able to tell you about something specific that wowed them, then ask, “Would you mind putting that point in a testimonial for me?”
If there is something unique, rare or innovative about your product or service, ask clients about that. Be specific – what do prospects want or need to know about you and your business before purchasing? Then try to get a testimonial specifically about that.
For example, a nutritionist who does home visits might ask, “Was it helpful to you that we had our consultations at your house instead of my office?” An insurance broker who works nights might ask “Were the after-hours meetings useful?” A business consultant who uses a job-costing system might ask, “Was it helpful to be quoted a project fee instead of being billed by the hour?” The answers to these questions not only say something complimentary about the service provider, but they also tell about a specific feature of the service. Another potential question in a prospect’s mind has been answered without them needing to ask.
3. Let people know how you plan to use their quote.
Tell them you’re regularly putting new content on your website and marketing materials and are always looking for some new testimonials. Would they mind if you used all or some of their quote? Offer to show them a draft of the new webpage or brochure before it gets finalised. Remind them that having their name and/or business name on your marketing materials may even bring increased brand awareness for them or help them get found in search engine results.
4. Don’t be afraid to correct or edit testimonials.
There’s nothing worse than seeing testimonials used on marketing materials that look like they’ve been cut and pasted straight from an email – salutations, typos, abbreviations and all. Clean up the text and do some minor edits if necessary. Then email the revised version back to the source with a little note saying, “Thank you very much for your kind words. I hope you don’t mind, but I’ve made some grammar and spelling changes without changing the meaning or intent. Is it okay with you if I used it like this?”
5. Avoid using testimonials with no names.
When I read testimonials, I look for two things. First, a point of difference is always more helpful than a general, vague and fluffy comment. Second, I look to see who the supplier has had as a client. To me the name and/or job title is as important as the quote.
6. Actually use the testimonials you get.
Put them on your own website, your printed marketing materials, your social media profiles. If testimonials are specific about a point of difference, and they tell prospects who you’ve worked with, they do a lot of your marketing work for you.
7. Work hard to deserve them.
It goes almost without saying, but let’s not forget it – the easiest way to get great testimonials is to do great work. Focus first on the quality and service. The compliments and word-of-mouth marketing will follow.
FUN FACT: A testimonial is someone "testifying" that your business is reputable. Some people say that the word testify comes from the olden days when men would swear by something, holding their testicles to assure they were telling the truth (testes, testify, testimony).