The simple secret to getting great client testimonials

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Testimonials are one of the most powerful sales tools you can have. Nothing beats other people saying you are who you say you are. In this video, I break down simple secrets about when and how to ask for them that will leave you with perfect, glowing reviews.

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Prefer text? Here’s the full transcript:

In part 1 of this series about testimonials, we talked about the importance of testimonials, and how using them right way will transform your business. Today we’re taking it a step further and talking about the best way you can ask your clients for testimonials to get really juicy ones that will be super useful to you.

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I know from talking to a lot of freelancers and entrepreneurs that asking for testimonials is not the most comfortable thing for many of you guys to do.

And I get it, asking for something like that is, in a way, putting yourself in a vulnerable position. Aside from fear of rejection, which I’ve yet to meet someone completely free of, something else I’ve noticed is that it causes a lot of discomfort to have a need and then ask somebody else to fulfill that need and help you.

The cool thing though, is that when we do a really good job for someone, when we really put our hearts and souls into the service we give them, into the final product, our customers often want to find a way to give back to us that is more than just the monetary compensation.

Think about the last time you had a really amazing experience somewhere…

…let’s say a restaurant, that just blew your mind. The service was perfect, and better than you ever expected it to be, the food was just out of this world, the atmosphere was incredible – every detail was thought out and it was just obvious that the people running it really went out of their way to give their customers an incredible experience.

Even if the meal was expensive, whenever I have an experience like that with another business, I’m just so full of gratitude because it’s not something so common that it just happens every day.

Unfortunately, a lot of the business interactions out there are not like that, so when I do finally experience that level of service and care, I am so grateful, that even though I may have paid a lot of money for it, I still want to give back to them in some way. And a great way to do that is with a testimonial.

If you think about this example of the restaurant, what would be the best time for them to ask you for a testimonial?

Probably when you’ve finished eating, after you’ve paid, when you’re sitting and basking in the glory of the experience. That’s when it’s going to be the most fresh on your mind, it just happened, and you’re probably going to write a great testimonial during that time.

Another way to think of it is this: here I am, sitting and full of gratitude, and then you come along with a kind suggestion of how I could channel that energy.

In a similar way, in your own business, the best time to ask for a testimonial is when you’ve completed a project and your client is happy, they’re excited about whatever it is you created for them, and there’s good vibes all around.

You can give them a call and ask, or write an email – in our business we usually send an email since that’s how most of our interactions occur – but either way, you just want to keep it light and casual and not pressure them into doing it. Basically ask how you’d want to be asked.

That’s part 1 – when to ask. This next part is just as important though…

You also want to include some directing questions in there to make sure that the testimonial you do get actually goes over the aspects of working with you that you want to highlight.

So it could go something like this:

Hi John,

If you have a few minutes and don’t mind, I’d really appreciate it if you could write me a testimonial about your experience working with me. Anything from the kind of service you experienced, communication, the process, how you feel about the final product, etc. would be super helpful.

No pressure, but if you don’t mind this could really help other awesome people like you to give me a try ;-).

Thanks again,
Your name

As you can see, this is super friendly, non-pressury, and down to earth, but at the same time you’re communicating what you need very clearly. You’re guiding John to talk about the final product, level of service, etc. And of course, you can take this a modify it to fit your needs and what you are trying to accomplish.

Nine times out of ten you’ll get some really amazing responses using this format.

If you don’t hear back you want to follow up at least once about a week later. People get busy, and it doesn’t mean they don’t want to do it. Sometimes they just need a little reminder, so don’t be afraid to follow up and don’t take it as rejection! 🙂

I really hope you start implementing this into your business if you are not doing so already, and start collecting or growing a list of amazing testimonials that are really going to help you take your business to the next level.

Questions? Thoughts? Feedback? I’d love to hear your comments below!

 

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About Lou Levit

Lou (Louisa) Levit is the co-founder of creative agency Unexpected Ways, as well as the co-founder of Reliable PSD: a web development partner for freelancers, agencies, and companies in HTML and Wordpress coding. She lives in Portland, Oregon with her lovely husband and biz partner, David Tendrich.

More about Lou’s business: Reliable PSD is what happened when a group of designers got fed up with the available web development and design to code solutions out there…and created their own. Check them out, and see why Hundreds of agencies & freelancers love having Reliable as their partner for HTML & Wordpress coding.

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Comments

  1. Overall, you’re on the right track and on the cusp of getting a great testimonial, but you ended the article short.

    The biggest mistake made was the open-ended email to the client asking them for a testimonial. The client giving you testimonial is already a favor for you – now don’t make them work more by asking them to write it themselves from start to finish with no guidance.

    The email itself was a good start – however instead of just asking for them to write about whatever – ask them to specific questions and bonus points to you for provided them example responses to each question. We already established open-ended questions is extra work for them, but also this has a greater risk of a useless testimonial in a direction you didn’t want to go. On the other hand, specific questions about the process, experience, results help guide them to give you quality testimonials you can use.

    • Hey Andrew!

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts and for leaving a comment :-).

      To your points:

      1) The email in the video actually does provide guidance on what to write (maybe you missed that part).

      To reiterate from the video:

      We’ve found we can gently nudge people in the right direction with a phrase like:

      “Anything from the kind of service you experienced, communication, the process, how you feel about the final product, etc. would be super helpful.”

      I definitely agree that’s super helpful.

      2) With that said, we used to do what you’re saying – provide example responses, way more detailed questions, etc.

      What we found though, is that a gentle nudge in the right direction, and giving people space to express themselves without examples…

      Actually led to *way* better testimonials.

      We now get essay-long testimonials every week, full of amazing feedback that has helped us grow tremendously and feel more connected to our clients.

      In fact, we’ve collected over 60 testimonials in a short time using this exact method, and each one is absolutely stunning.

      People write better things from their own heart than we could ever place in an example, and not having the examples has seemed to free them to do so.

      Most importantly –

      We’ve found if you do such a good job that people are filled with gratitude – they don’t need much guidance beyond a few simple points, and they don’t feel like they’re doing so much extra work.

      They really are happy to give back and don’t feel like they’re doing you a favor. In fact, they want to do whatever they can to keep you in business, including that :-).

      They just need to be asked in a friendly, appreciative way – with just a little nudge in the right direction.

      Have a good one,
      Lou

  2. Thank you Lou! You’re spot on about how I feel about asking for help in any way 🙂 But your advice is terrific so hopefully it’ll help me overcome my fear.

    • Hey Anna!

      Thanks so much for your comment :-). I totally feel ya, and I’m so glad my advice encouraged you to try and overcome your fear!

      I promise as soon as you do it a few times it won’t be so scary any more, and in fact it’ll be a great way to build a deeper connection with your clients.

      Good luck!
      Lou

  3. This was very helpful and relieved some of the pressure of asking for a testimonial. I’m absolutely stealing the example request text for my own use. Thanks.

    • Hey Justin,

      Thanks so much for your comment! Very glad to hear this was helpful to you.

      Steal away 🙂

      Have a great day,
      Lou

  4. very nice post.I believe all we do to get customer satisfaction at the end of the day and for that Graphic Design is something which drives advertising and attracts us to brands.. Graphic Design gives our Company a Face and Visual Presentation and following must needed benefits to our business
    First impressions matter.
    Design can tell a story.
    Branding makes a company memorable.
    Creativity can be a differentiator.
    Good design converts.
    Spending more up front saves time and money in the long run.