Testimonials are important for business (yawn, stretch – heard it before), but have you ever read anything that wasn’t a glowing testimonial? Your prospective clients (and you) often ignore them, as the internal BS detector goes into overdrive. What if you knew how to ask for testimonials that really worked?

How to ask for testimonials, before they freeze over like this sea scape

Pointless testimonials

Testimonials are waste of time, when clients say things like “I didn’t believe it” or “it didn’t say anything”. Most testimonials are glowing pieces of nothing, a bit like eating candy floss – tastes great and then….nothing.

The problem is that prospective clients often pause whilst considering buying your services, which can prove fatal to your income. Well written testimonials are a tool you can use to help close deals before they pause into oblivion and freeze over. It’s all about how you ask for testimonials, there are three questions that provoke powerful testimonials.

How to ask for testimonials from your clients.

Firstly don’t ask your client for a testimonial as part of a glib giveaway phrase. I heard that approach recently when somebody (at the end of a great workshop) said “we’d love to get more people to the next one, please would you write us a short testimonial” as they handed out a piece of paper. Can you imagine how well that worked?

Make the request part of a proper conversation; where you are getting them to focus on the good elements of the time you’ve been working together. Even if you don’t end up with something you write, they are walking away remembering the good stuff.

3 questions to provoke powerful testimonials

This isn’t about tricking people; you’re in a conversation and talking about your services. These questions give you great material and answer specific issues that future readers are unlikely to ignore. You will, of course, tailor them to your firm.

  1. What was your biggest fear before hiring me?  Did it come true, and if not, what happened instead?”. Even if you never print the response, you’ve learnt something important about how clients buy your services (see buying process). When written up, this can help readers believe what you write as they are probably sceptical before hiring you.
  2. After you started working us, did anything surprise you? What pleased you the most about the service we gave? The more specific you can get them to be, the better. It’s great to really understand what your clients value, great for marketing and the hidden benefit of testimonials.
  3.  If you were to recommend us to your best client, what would you say? Not only are you getting good words (after they’ve started thinking about what was good), but you’re making them think about referring you. You’ve read things that say “and I highly recommend xxx” and you fell asleep as you read them. This question helps give something much more useful and specific.

Properly written testimonials build trust. How do you use yours?

Jon BakerWritten by Jon Baker The 5-50 Coach. I help professionals grow their firms from 5 to 50 employees, sustainably, profitably and still have fun. Networking is a key part of getting great results in small firms. If you want great networking tips sent to your desk once a month, click here and I will start sending them to you, so you can make a real difference to your referrals.