You have probably heard it a hundred times before; client testimonials are one of the best ways to sell your business.
It’s true; they are.
But not all client testimonials are created equal. There is a big difference between the testimonial that simply says, “Great business, would buy from them again,” and the testimonial filled with richer, fuller detail.
Best Client Testimonials
When you put client testimonials on your website or in your marketing materials, you want to put ones that sell your business for you. You want the ones that show potential clients that they’re not just getting excellent service but that they will be treated fairly, respected, and valued. What’s more, you want to show that you and your business offer value to your clients.
Your client testimonials should be specific and detailed, but they should also sound sincere. Clients need to walk that fine line between offering industry-specific details without sounding rehearsed.
How to Get Customer Testimonials
All of the details outlined above sound like a lot of responsibility to put on a client, especially when clients are busy and don’t have the time to craft the perfect testimonial for you, but don’t worry.
There are ways to ensure you overcome these obstacles and get the best client testimonials for your business.
Familiarity with the Client
First off, choose a client you’re familiar with.
Choose someone you’ve worked with for several years or built up a good rapport with. This person will be more likely to agree to write a client testimonial than someone you just met or had lukewarm conversations with.
A client that you have familiarity with is more likely to craft a great client testimonial for your company.
As you’re deciding who to ask for a client testimonial from, consider which of your clients are more likely to have credibility in your niche.
For some businesses, a client that has been in business for 20 years is more credible than a client that just started in the business. For other companies, the reverse is true.
If you want a results-fueled testimonial, a client who saw a 500% increase in business is more credible than one that saw a 20% increase.
Sometimes a testimonial from a local name brand will add credibility to your business.
Think about your client base and whose recommendation they would trust the most. Pursue those customer testimonials first.
Getting Testimonials from Clients
Once you have targeted the people you want to ask for a testimonial, it’s time to actually ask for one.
Reach Out to Clients
Determine what’s the best form of contact for the client. Would this person appreciate the personal approach of a phone call? Would this client be more responsive to an email? Is this someone you know well enough that a text message might be the best way to ask?
Only you know and understand your clients well enough to know how they will respond.
An email or phone call is probably the best way to ask if you’re unsure.
No matter which way you choose to reach out to your clients, make sure that you thank them for their business first and foremost.
Be personal in your approach. The request for a client testimonial should be personal. This is not a mass letter that you send out to anyone and everyone. If you want the client to brag about you, you should take a moment to make them feel special. Send them a personalized message.
Then ask for the testimonial.
Make the Process Painless
What happens after is up to you. You can ask the client to email you back, or you can create an online form.
Some companies go so far as to ask the client to record a video testimonial.
No matter which you choose, make the process painless.
Simply saying, “Will you give me a client testimonial?” and leaving it at that will result in a wide range of answers about your business, most of which will not be useable.
You need to give the customer guidance. Make sure you send along some questions to help them craft their answer, or if you think it would work better, create a Google form for them to fill out.
If you do the latter, DO NOT make it a time-consuming effort. It should take clients just a few minutes to craft a testimonial for your company. At most, it should take ten minutes. The client testimonial is not supposed to be a lengthy report.
Customer Testimonial Questions
So, what questions can you ask clients to help them craft a good testimonial? Below are a few of the best ones.
- What was your business like before you hired us?
- What problem were you trying to solve?
- Why did you choose us out of all you’re the other businesses or products out there?
- What did you like the most about working with our business?
- How has your business changed/benefited since hiring us?
- Why would you recommend our business to other people or businesses?
- What do you like best about our product or service?
- When did you start working with us?
- Why are you still working with us?
- If you could describe your experience in one word, what would it be and why?
- Is there anything else you would like to mention about our business?
Collecting Testimonials from Clients
The people you ask testimonials for might need a little nudge along the way to remind them. Be patient and be polite. Remember, these are people who are doing you a favor.
When you receive a testimonial from a client, there are a few details that you want to check the testimonial for.
Is the Testimonial Short and Sweet?
Lengthy client testimonials usually aren’t read. It’s simply a time issue. People who turn to client testimonials for advice don’t want to read an essay. They want the opinion conveyed as quickly as possible.
According to the site Strong Testimonials, a testimonial should be two to three paragraphs long at most.
Does the Testimonial Sound Natural?
There’s nothing worse than reading a testimonial that sounds hollow. It makes it sound fake and made up.
You want your client testimonials to sound natural, even when talking about business. Your clients don’t need to use slang, but they should use words they use every day.
There’s no reason for a $5 word when a 10 cent one will do.
Is the Testimonial Packed with Details?
As stated before, a simple excellent service testimonial doesn’t say much about your business, and it doesn’t do much to sway a buyer.
You want testimonials packed with details. Details that include how your work has specifically helped the customer’s business and how the customer feels about working with you. Examples are appreciated.
Asking customers some of the questions listed above will go a long way to helping make sure that any client testimonial that you receive is rich and full of detail.
There’s one other category of customer testimonials to consider: video testimonials.
Video may serve you better than text for some websites and marketing plans. If that’s the case, consider asking clients for video testimonials instead.
The process is almost the same as a written testimonial, except it’s done through video. If it makes the client feel more at ease, consider doing it together through a meeting app like Zoom. Then you can ask the questions and have the customer answer on the fly.
There are a couple of upsides to a video testimonial.
One, once the customer gets more comfortable on video, the replies that you receive are much more conversational and usually add to the weight of the testimonial.
Two, hearing the words aloud is often much more impactful for a potential customer than reading them on the screen.
Whether you choose to get a video testimonial or a written one, it’s worth the work. A quality testimonial can go a long way to convincing organic visitors to your website that you’re the business they want to work with now and in the future.
Written by Erika Towne