How to Get Testimonials

by | Apr 29, 2021 | Website Design

We have talked about why testimonials are important. Now let’s talk about how to ask for a testimonial from a client. This post breaks down how to get testimonials from clients into 3 aspects: timing, approach, and follow-up.

Timing is Everything When You Are Identifying How to Get Testimonials from Clients

As soon as the project is done or the first month of service is complete, check in with your clients. By asking immediately, you make sure the experience is fresh in their minds.

This makes it easier for them because they don’t have to spend time thinking back to when you worked together. And making it easier for your customer to write you a testimonial means that it’s more likely that they will write you one.

So always ask immediately!

A clock with arrows around the outside to indicate that timing (sending the request immediately) is a crucial part of knowing how to ask for a testimonial from a client

Approach Matters When You Are Learning How to Ask for a Testimonial

You know how your customers speak. Just like you would when you are writing up any sort of marketing content, be sure to use the same style of communication your customers do. That makes it easier for them to understand what you need and (more importantly!) why you need it.

All of that makes it easier for your customer to be willing to set aside the time to write up a testimonial for you.

Here are some actions you can take to increase the chances that your client will write up a testimonial for you.

Authentically Compliment Them

When you’re thinking about how to ask for a testimonial from a client, start with an authentic compliment. What we mean by that is: start your request by talking about a highlight from your experience working with them. This helps in two ways.
Create Transition

It helps gently transition your client from what they were working on. It does this because it refocuses your client on your experience working together. And that easily leads to the question of creating a testimonial.

The Law of Reciprocity

The second way it helps is that it starts the law of reciprocity. That makes it more likely that they will take a few moments to type up a sentence or two with kind truths about their experience with you.

number 2

Tell Them Why it Matters to Them

Here is another useful approach to consider when thinking about how to ask for a testimonial. Tell your client why it matters to them.

Identifying why it matters to them gives them a reason to help you out. These reasons can include: reinforcing their core belief that they are good person who helps others. Another reason could be: improved social status because they worked with someone of your caliber.

Since small business owners are typically extremely busy, this reason helps them prioritize your request. It helps them prioritize this request because now it’s not just one more to-do item– it is tied to something they care about.

That is why it is useful to identify or allude to it in your request.

Number 3

Include Examples

Including examples helps your client in two ways.
The first way this helps your client is by showing them that they aren’t stepping out on a limb to speak about their experience. They are part of a group of people who have already spoken highly of you.
The second way is that it gives them an idea of what other folks have already said about you. This can help them avoid writer’s block and start identifying ideas of their own to share.
number 2

Make It Easy

This is the most important one.

Knowing how to ask for a testimonial from a client starts long before you ask. It starts by making sure that whatever method you use (an online form, a paper form, a survey, etc) is very easy for your client to use.

If it takes your client more than 5 minutes to get through your submission process, then you are likely to have clients who abandon their testimonial.

Another way to make it easy for them is to give them a specific question to answer. Donald Miller offers questions like “What was different about our service?” or “Take us to the moment when you realized this was actually working to solve your problem.” For more useful questions check out his book Building a Story Brand.

Ultimately, whatever path you take, you want to make it as simple as possible.

Number 5

Experiment to See What Works

When considering how to ask for a testimonial start by identifying where and when you want to ask. Experimentation with different methods can often lead to the most effective methods. So try different methods.

Let’s start by identifying where to send your testimonial ask.
Here are a few useful channels:

    • Emails
    • Text messages
    • Social media messengers
    • Surveys
    • Pop-up (or a form) on your website
    • In-person requests

BUT, before you try all of these channels, think about where your clients have responded to you most quickly. That is likely the most effective channel.

Next, consider the words you are using.

Do your clients respond better to an ask for a “testimonial” or do they prefer to “share their experience”?

Finally, think about the time of day you are sending the request.

Are your clients the sort who would type up a testimonial first thing in the morning when they see your email? Or, would your clients rather get a text with a simple link that they can respond to as they relax at the end of the day?

Ultimately, each experiment gives you more information.

The more you play around and narrow down what works (and avoid what doesn’t!) for your clients. That means you’re more likely to find a way that consistently works. Then, it makes it easy to know how to ask for a testimonial from a client so that you get a response.

How to Get Testimonials by Following Up

You have sent your first testimonial request out… but, only crickets respond. Don’t despair! There are a thousand reasons small business owners haven’t had a chance to respond and 999 of them are because your client is just busy.

Here are a few ways you can follow up without nagging them.

Ask to Use a Quote

Look back through the messages they’ve sent you. If they spoke about your product or service in an authentic way, great!

Reach out to them again and ask if you can use that quote instead of a brand new testimonial.

In many cases, the overwhelmed business owner will appreciate you looking out for them and their hectic schedule.

Two green dialog boxes indicating that how to ask for a testimonial from a client can be using an approved quote from them.

Offer Them New Content to Share

A business owner giving away useful content to a client that the client can share with her friends and family
Create a video or a PDF you can pull out of your back pocket for your clients.

Content that relates to how you make life better for your client and gives them some handy tips and tricks. Content that they can easily share with their contacts.

Then, even if your clients don’t have the time to write up a testimonial for you, this gives them another (easy!) way to share your valuable services.

That word of mouth from a trusted source (your client!) can be even more powerful than a series of testimonials on your website.

Highlight Enhancements

Highlighting improvements to your ongoing service is important. It helps your client know that you are looking out for them. It also helps your clients know that you provide top-of-the-line service.

That announcement is also a great opportunity to ask for a testimonial. It’s great because you’re highlighting enhancements. You’re talking about the value of your service to them. That means they have something new and fresh to reference in their testimonial.

That ultimately means it is easier for your client to think of what to write about.

Plus, the second reason that this announcement is a great opportunity to ask for a testimonial is this. It starts the law of reciprocity again.

Both of those reasons make it more likely that your client will be happy to write an authentic review of their experience.

Highlighting improvements to your ongoing service is important. It helps your client know that you are looking out for them. It also helps your clients know that you provide top-of-the-line service.

That announcement is also a great opportunity to ask for a testimonial. It’s great because you’re highlighting enhancements. You’re talking about the value of your service to them. That means they have something new and fresh to reference in their testimonial.

That ultimately means it is easier for your client to think of what to write about.

Plus, the second reason that this announcement is a great opportunity to ask for a testimonial is this. It starts the law of reciprocity again.

Both of those reasons make it more likely that your client will be happy to write an authentic review of their experience.

Knowing How to Ask for a Testimonial from a Client is the First Step

Ok! So now you know how to ask for a testimonial from a client… what’s next?

We recommend taking a moment right now to lay out a plan for yourself. List out each step you need to take in order to ask for those testimonials.

Here is an example of a plan:

    1. Identify 5 clients to ask
    2. Review my testimonial submission process (is it easy?)
    3. Write up (and send!) my ask to each client
    4. Set a reminder on my calendar to follow up with those clients
    5. Review what worked (and what didn’t) when my calendar reminders go off and then follow up with any client who hasn’t responded yet.

Once you have your plan, all you have to do is take the first step. If you need support, we’re always here!

Ari Scheller

Ari Scheller

CEO/Founder/Designer

An avid advocate (say that three times fast!) for the sustainable evolution of the travel industry. Ari believes that travel has the power to transform lives. Supporting like-minded businesses is at the heart of everything Ari does.

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