Savvy marketers know that client testimonials are worth their weight in gold, so I always encourage my clients to get as many as possible, and to get them in writing. As much as I like the personal reference, there is nothing as credible and as consistently reliable as a good old written testimonial to help prospects make that decision to take the plunge and work with you.
But how (and when) to get the testimonial?
Let timing help you here: The best time to ask for a written testimonial is immediately upon hearing positive feedback about your work from your clients. For example, whenever one of my clients relates a marketing success story to me that they very kindly attribute to my coaching or services, I ask if they would be willing to put those nice words in writing. Virtually everyone agrees, and so all I need to do is to remind them of their promise, and give them a format for a truly great testimonial.
Now some of you reading this are probably thinking "A format? What is that about? Is she writing her own testimonials?" Good questions, but no, I don't write my own testimonials (and neither should you!).
But unfortunately, without some direction, most people will write something like "Thank you for all your help. I loved working with you, and you're the best!" which is nice, but functionally useless. What you need to do is guide their comments so that they will be useful to others who read them, and will laud the results of your work rather than your sparkling personality and charming smile.
There are three key elements of a great testimonial:
- First, a description of the situation that the client was in that prompted the need for your product or service.
- Second, an account of the actions taken to resolve that situation.
- Third, an overview of the result of the action.
I am writing to thank you for all your help with marketing. When I started my business last year, I had no idea that marketing was going to play such a significant role in my success, and to tell the truth, I was ready to give up my dreams of owning my own business and go back to the rat race when I found your web site.
After reading almost every word of your articles and taking a couple of your free teleclasses, I finally bit the bullet and enrolled in one of your seminars, and am I glad I did! In just three weeks, I had a marketing plan that mapped out everything I needed to do to get clients, and so I finally knew what to do and when to do it.
As you know, the rest is history. Because of our work together, I now have a growing business with three times the clients I had just 30 days ago, and am confident that I have everything I need to get all the clients I want! Thanks again.
Now isn't that much better than something sweet but ineffective like "Gee, thanks, Ronnie, you rock!"?
I thought so. To get great testimonials like this, all you have to do is send an email that provides specific instructions so that you get the result you want.
Thank you so much for your very kind words! It has been great working with you, and I wish all my clients were just like you. Thanks, too, for agreeing to write a brief testimonial for me on your letterhead or in an email. Your story will help other people see what my clients experience when working with me.
Although I can't remember exactly what you said as you heaped praises on me, I believe that if you can answer these three questions, all the great things you said will be covered. Please note that the following questions are guidelines for helping you construct your letter, but are not intended to be included in it.
First, why did you decide that the time was right to work with me? What situation or event prompted you to seek my help?
Second, what specifically did we do together that resolved or improved that situation?
And finally, what was the end result or outcome of our work together? How did you know that our work was successful?
Thanks again for your help, Client. Knowing how valuable your time is makes your letter of recommendation especially important to me.
Remember, you can talk until you turn blue in the face about how valuable your product or service is, and people will not believe you because they know that you have a vested interest in saying good things about your own business. But when a client (or five or 50) says the same things in writing, all of a sudden you've got something that people will believe, no matter how effusive.
So don't bother telling the world yourself - let your satisfied clients do the talking for you in with their testimonials, and your business will benefit beyond your wildest dreams.
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About the author
Veronika (Ronnie) Noize, the Marketing Coach, is a successful Vancouver, WA-based entrepreneur, author, speaker, and coach who helps small businesses attract more clients and double their business in just 30 minutes a day. Ronnie's web site is a comprehensive resource with free articles and valuable marketing tools for small office/home office business professionals. Visit her web site at www.VeronikaNoize.com, or call her at 360-882-1298.
Author's note: You're welcome to use this article as content for your own ezine or web site! Just make sure that the article remains complete and unaltered (including the "About the author" info and copyright line at the end), and that you send a copy of your reprint to Ronnie@VeronikaNoize.com. You may also use my photo (found on my home page at www.VeronikaNoize.com) with the article.
How to Ask for a Testimonial © 2005 Veronika Noize. All rights reserved.