The Secret to Getting Powerful Testimonials... that SELL!

Are you frustrated with the testimonials you've been getting. Are they too infrequent or do they just not sound as exciting as you think they could or should? 

You know your clients love what you do, and they are quite enthusiastic about your work, but when you ask them to write up a testimonial, it often comes out sounding lukewarm at best. And you know that sometimes "Damning with faint praise" is worse than no praise at all.

How using Stories can help...

Think of a testimonial as a story -- people love stories. They're also more memorable, so when people are in a situation where someone might need your services, guess what! They are much more likely to remember your story "testimonial"...

And when they're having coffee with a friend who's alluding to a similar problem, they'll think of your story and tie you back in with it.

Testimonials are a great marketing tool. They give you validity and credibility and build your reputation.


Here are some simple steps  to get more compelling Testimonials -- you'll be amazed at the difference!

1. Getting Information

Before you can write up a testimonial, you need the information. Here's the rub... If any of your service providers asked you for a testimonial, you'd probably say yes and then there would be an inner groan. At least for me there would be.

After saying yes, I would immediately regret it as I thought 'But what would I say or how would I say it?' or 'Oh my gosh, now I have to write it!'


2. How to help your clients give you good case studies

People want to help - they want to give you a testimonial - but they often don't know how to write it. There's an easy way around this - ultimately if you want more and better testimonials offer to write it for them. Start by crafting targeted questions. Then do a quick interview with your client.

Record the conversation with their permission if you can. If you can't, write furiously and try to capture a few phrases that are exactly what they say to use.

Then write it and send it to them for review. They can make corrections, tweak it or even add to it. If you've been a little shy about your virtues, they might even pump it up a little bit more.


3. How to target specific outcomes

For each testimonial you gather target a specific outcome. You know already where you did your best work with each specific client, and you probably already know which part of your services you want to position or showcase. Take time to think this through.

When you decide what information or praise you're looking for, write a question that will elicit the right response. If you're looking for someone to say something about how flexible and adaptable you are, then craft a question that would point them in that direction so you'll get the right answer. (Just like the TV show "Jeopardy" start with the answer to develop your question).

You'll want to have different testimonials to showcase different strengths of your services, so make sure you change up your questions for each client. That way you'll get an interesting range of situations and outcomes your product or services delivered.


4. What if you don't have the time

If you don't have time or the opportunity to do an interview, send your client some specific questions by email. This will get them started and in the direction you're aiming. Otherwise left to their own devices, they may just give you a benign quote such as, "Kathy does good work", which is very disappointing and unusable. If you set them off in the right direction with specific targeted questions instead, you'll get a response that's more compelling.

Remember testimonials are a marketing tool, and well worth the investment of your time and effort. Aim a little higher and you'll get testimonials that will draw and help convert prospects.


5. Uncomfortable about interviewing your clients?

Do What if you feel uncomfortable about talking to your clients about their experiences with your services or products? There's an easy solution! Simply hire someone to do it for you.

There are lots of writers out there who are skilled at interviewing people can do a great job for you. Work on the questions jointly so you maintain control over what they're going to be talking or asking about. Then have them do the interview on your behalf.

People sometimes open up at a different level to someone else than they would to you, so you may end up getting even better material.


6. Use the Case Study format

When you write up the testimonial, think of it more as a case study. There are three key elements you'll want to highlight.

The Problem - start by stating the problem your client had before they came to you. Outline their main challenge or problem they were experiencing in a storytelling style.

The Action - outline specifically how your product or services solved their problem. This is where you can share a bit about your process but keep it brief as you want to keep the focus on the client.

The Result - share the result or outcome your client received. How was their problem solved? Try to dollarize or quantify their results.

Keep it tight and short - you only need a sentence or two for each section and you'll come away with an impactful testimonial that people can identify with, remember and be drawn to you.

As you can see, getting great testimonials isn't rocket science. It does take some work and effort, and good planning, but the results are definitely worth it!