Testimonials are a key ingredient to a website that actually impresses potential clients or customers and sells your stuff. Before they buy from you, people want to know that you’ve helped other people just like them.
Gathering up testimonials seems pretty straight forward right?
NOT! It’s actually harder than it seems… people either never seem to get back to you or they never seem to say the things you want them to say (or maybe you don’t know what you want them to say, so the testimonials don’t end up being powerful).
So here’s the strategies that I use to get knock-your-socks-off testimonials.
1. Send them a survey or give them some questions to answer
Many people when asked to give a testimonial have no idea what to say… not because they don’t have luscious praise for you, but because they’re not sure how to structure it.
If left to their own devices, they’ll just say “You’re the best!!!” rather than offering concrete details about the results they’ve achieved. The more concrete the results, the more people will sit up and take notice.
Only include a few questions as to not make it overwhelming… I suggest something along the lines of:
- Name (+ email address, phone number, company, position, website, location, age, whatever makes sense for your niche and situation)
- What were you struggling with prior to us working together? Please be specific about what problems you were experiencing and how you felt.
- What made you decide to purchase *service, program, product*? Did you have any hesitations about going for it?
- In your own words, what benefits have you gained from *service, program, product*? Please include specific results you’ve gotten and how you feel now.
- Would you recommend this *service, program, product* to others who are struggling the way you were?
- Do you have any issue with me using your words on my website and in my marketing material?
- If no issue, may I use a photo of you next to your words? This is hugely appreciated. Please attach a photo of your choice, or give me permission to choose one from your website or social media.
Obviously the way you use or word these questions will be unique to your business and audience and the method in which you’re asking.
And also, even though you may feel weird about asking for photos… JUST DO IT! You can have testimonials without pictures, but a photo gives huge credibility to testimonials. Do it, do it, do it.
In addition, if your work has a strong “before and after” element to it as well, make sure to specifically say you welcome before and after photos. Before and afters are MEGA cred builders.
2. Ask for video testimonials
Testimonials can be incredibly powerful if in video form since people can see the excitement from the client first hand. So if you want to take things to a new level, see if you can get your past clients or customers on camera.
You can use the same questions as above. You can tell your client the instructions are:
1. Record a video of them in whatever way is easiest (on their phone probably) and
2. In the video, just answer the questions. They shouldn’t actually read the question aloud and then answer them… they can just say their answers to the questions and it will make sense.
3. Give them a deadline
If you just say ‘hey, fill this out and send this back to me’, they’re going to think ‘k no problem… I’ll do that later’ and completely forget. So request they send it back to you by a certain deadline (a week from now is a good one).
Even if you do set a deadline, people will still forget… I guarantee it. It’s ok to nag them a little bit. Most people will do it after a gentle reminder. Some people will still forget. Don’t take it personally. Peeps just busy.
Also, if you’re not having a lot of luck (especially if you know they’re the type of person that prefers the phone over email), you might consider setting up a really quick call over the phone or Skype and ask them the questions yourself. Make sure to record it and then consolidate the good parts into a testimonial.
Also, my client Melissa who is a yoga teacher and wasn’t having great luck with the survey method– she found good luck with taking her students aside after class and asking them a few questions then (and recording it with permission). It was the perfect time, because they were all blissed out after their yoga class and obviously had great things to say!
4. Give them an incentive
What this could be really depends on your clients or audience.
But as we’ve learned… people want to know what’s in it for them and they’re more motivated when there IS something concrete in it for them.
So when you ask, you can frame it in a way that’s bringing light to the good that they’re doing… for example, making a point that by offering their feedback, their words might inspire someone else to step up and change their lives.
But I also suggest just giving them stuff.
If you’re a B2B business, then you can offer to include a link with their testimonial so they get some exposure for their business and a back link to their website.
If you work with clients in person, you could offer to take them out for dinner in exchange for being able to ask some questions about your services and get a testimonial (dude, good testimonials are SO worth the price of a dinner.)
With my prior business The Love Vitamin, I had quite a large online-based audience, so whenever I wanted testimonials, I would send out a survey to my list and the incentive for filling it out was to be entered in a draw to win one of three $100 Amazon gift card. This always worked really well.
If you work with one-on-one clients, you might consider offering a gift to them personally for filling out your survey and including a photo or video testimonial. Nothing wrong with a wee bribe 😉 It could be a juicy gift card, or maybe a free course of yours… whatever it is, make it something your client really wants.
5. Edit the testimonials down
After you get your testimonial back, most likely it’s going to be a bit of a novel. It’s okay, expected, and normal to cut out huge chunks of it so that you get a testimonial that is short, concise, and super juicy.
Also, once you cut things out, it’s fine to clean up the grammar a bit… if you need to fix some spelling or slightly change some sentence structure so it flows properly…. go for it.
As long as you aren’t actually changing their words, adding things they didn’t say, or altering their meaning, then it’s perfectly fine to cut it down to just the good bits.
And one last thing – pick out the very best line of the testimonial and make it into a bold headline that sits above the testimonial paragraph! 90% of people will only read the headline, so make it good and eye catching 🙂
Good luck! Hopefully this blog helps you nail your testimonial gathering and skyrocket your sales.