An amazing testimonial from a happy client can close a sale. It’s that simple. So you need to get amazing testimonials from your clients or customers and add them to your website and sales materials.
We’ve got a simple process to help you do it. It comes from business coach Erin Flynn’s excellent webinar, How to Get Killer Testimonials. Watch the webinar for more details and a download with sample questions you can use.
Why Are Testimonials Important?
First, it’s important to understand why testimonials are important.
When you have a really good testimonial, potential clients see themselves in that story. They can relate to it. When that testimonial helps answer concerns or addresses problems they’re struggling with, they realize you’re the person who can help them.
And they want to hire you. That’s what an amazing testimonial can do.
Testimonials aren’t simply about social proof (though that helps) or even saying how awesome you are (that’s ignorable). Clients want their problems solved, and a good testimonial will be a mirror where they can see their problem already solved.
What Makes an Amazing Testimonial
Too often people think a testimonial is just to shout about how great you are. But it’s about relating to clients and showing that you understand their concerns and can solve their problems.
A good testimonial should:
- Explain what problem the client was facing.
- Show how you helped solve the problem.
- Explain the fears the client had before hiring you.
- Show how you alleviated their fears.
- Give insight into what working with you is like.
- Give a call to action for people to hire you.
A good testimonial doesn’t have to do all of these, but it should hit a few of them.
The main thing to remember is that you’re not just selling a website, you’re selling a solution to their problem. So it has to be about more than getting a simple website. It’s not WordPress and hosting and maintenance, it’s the client being too busy to worry about a website. You have to tap into that problem or fear and then show how you solved it.
You need to think like a client, not another developer.
How to Get Testimonials: 5 Tips
Now that we have a better understanding of what makes an amazing testimonial, let’s talk about how to get them.
1. Don’t Ask for a Testimonial
First off, don’t ask your clients for a testimonial; ask for feedback instead. Most people don’t know how to write a testimonial, so you’ll likely end up with a puff quote. Something saying how great you are may be nice for the ego, but it’s not a good testimonial.
That’s assuming they get around to it. Asking for a testimonial is talking about you, and that’s not going to be high priority for most clients. On the other end of the spectrum, you’re likely to overwhelm them. They’re not sure what to say and they’re flustered and you’ve just made things complicated.
That’s why you should ask for feedback instead. Clients like to talk about their projects and they have opinions, so giving feedback is easy. Now you’ve changed the ask so it’s not about you, it’s about them—and that’s a good place to be. They’re more likely to give it priority, they’re willing to do it, and they know how to give feedback.
2. Send a Questionnaire
The easiest way to get feedback is to ask your clients to fill out a questionnaire. Reach out with a simple email:
- Ask how things are going and if they need any help.
- Explain that you’re always trying to improve your process and you’d love some feedback. Include a link to your online questionnaire so they can immediately offer that feedback.
- Send it a couple weeks after a project launches. This is a good time to check in anyway, plus everything is still fresh.
Use your favorite online form for your questionnaire. It could be Typeform, Gravity Forms, WPForms, Google Docs, etc. The key is to make it easy for your client—no need to log in or create an account.
What Questions Should You Ask?
Getting an amazing testimonial requires asking the right questions. Don’t miss Erin Flynn’s download with sample questions for testimonials.
- Start easy: Make the first question super easy. A yes or no question or a simple rating is great. People are more likely to finish a form once they’ve started it, so make it easy to start.
- Before/after working with me? A good testimonial should tell a story. You want to capture the client’s problem or fear, and then how you solved it. So it helps to ask before and after questions.
- What did you like best/least about working with me? When you ask what they liked best, it’s possible you’ll learn something you didn’t know. Maybe there’s a benefit or selling point you didn’t realize you had. And while it might be painful to ask what they liked least, this is an opportunity to improve. Maybe there’s a part of your process that isn’t very clear and you could easily clarify that and make the whole experience better.
- What would you say to someone considering me? This is a good way to get interesting quotes with personality.
- Ask permission: Remember that you were asking for feedback, not a testimonial. So these answers are useful simply to help you improve. But now you want to ask if you can use their feedback for a testimonial.
- Anything else? It’s a good idea to give people one more chance to say something. It’s not required and many people will skip it, but some people will have more to say and that can be some really valuable input.
3. Turn Feedback into Testimonials
Now it’s time to turn that client feedback into an amazing testimonial.
Start by picking the right story. Not every client is going to give you feedback that’s easy to use. Sometimes it’s too short. Sometimes the answers aren’t helpful. You don’t have to use every single one. Remember, you asked for feedback. Use it to improve your internal processes. They don’t know you’re looking for testimonials.
When you do get some feedback that has good answers, it still might not be ready to go. You might need to flex some writing skills to make it an amazing testimonial. It’s OK to edit what a client said. You’re not changing what they said, you’re just changing how they said it.
You should rework their feedback to fit a structure:
- Address the client’s problem.
- Explain how you helped them.
- Alleviate their fears.
- Show off your strengths.
Remember you’re looking for problems and fears that potential clients will recognize. You’re not necessarily talking about the things you care about, such as WordPress or code or design. The quote should be the client speaking to other potential clients about their problems and fears and how you saved the day.
4. Get Approval
Finally, you need to send that amazing testimonial back to the client and ask for approval. You want them to be aware of any edits or tweaks you’ve made and make sure they’re OK with the language you used. Their name is going to be on it, so that’s only fair.
You can say something like, “I’d like to use the following as a testimonial based on your feedback.” Let them know they’re welcome to change anything and ask if they can send a photo to go along with the testimonial.
5. Post the Testimonial
The last step, of course, is to post the testimonial to your website and add it to any sales materials. An amazing testimonial isn’t going to do you any good if you don’t use it.
Watch the Webinar: How to Get Killer Testimonials
For more insights about testimonials, be sure to watch the full webinar with Erin Flynn and grab the download with sample questions.