Happy clients are great advertisements for your business as well as your expertise in your field, so it’s little wonder everyone is in the race to get a few more testimonials to add to their Website and social media profiles.
The trouble is that most of us are a little shy about openly asking other people to write us notes of praise. We don’t mind giving pats on the back to others, but we find it extremely uncomfortable to gather them ourselves.
The value of testimonials is that they are real people assuring other people that you did a great job for them, and that’s a powerful message. For many prospective buyers of your goods or services, it carries more weight than other more traditional advertising messages.
To get you started, here are five ways to start building your bank of great testimonials.
- Jump in when the water is warm. Make asking for a note of recommendation a consistent part of closing every agreement, especially if you have developed a friendly relationship with the client. As soon as you have secured final approval on a project, just jump right in with a polite note asking for their feedback and permission to use it.
Doing that consistently will provide you with a steady supply of recent and glowing reports that support your personal claims of competency and expertise.
- Steer your clients to give you the message that best supports your corporate strategy and vision. You can do this by offering gentle guidance on what you want them to say.
Keep in mind that if done graciously, this is actually helpful to many people. They want to help you out and send a small testimony, but they are busy and not everyone has the gift of flattery. In some cases they may not respond simply because they don’t know what to say.
- Work within the bounds of your personality. For example, if you just can’t ask someone outright for a recommendation or testimony, find a style that works for you. Many people find it hard to bring up the subject. On the other hand, if a client gives you a glowing compliment, just after you say “thank-you,” why not add, “that is great. I need to add a testimonial to my website and I wonder if I could use that. Would you be okay with that?”
Of course, that also puts the person on the spot of having to look at you and mutter something about not being permitted to give endorsements if they don’t want to give you a note, so that’s why asking in writing is still a better practice.
- Give your client an easy opt out if they don’t wish to give you a public endorsement. Remember that there are many reasons why a person might feel unable to give you a testimony for publication. They might be in a public role that prohibited them favoring one supplier over another. They might be doing business with you because they believe you are the best, but they are doing it quietly and without drawing attention to it because they don’t want their relative who is in the same business to feel bad that they are not patronizing them.
When you send them a note asking for their help to get additional recommendations, don’t forget to give them an out by adding something like: “I completely understand if you do not feel you can respond to this request at this time. There will be no follow-up email; you may consider the matter dropped.” Remember, you never want the request of an recommendation to negatively impact the relationship you have developed.
- When you are asking for help, be as specific as you can. Say something like:
“Hello John. I’m working on a new website (or profile on LinkedIn) and my consultant suggests that to enhance my professional credibility I should add a few testimonies. If you are comfortable with this request, I would appreciate it if you could send me a short recommendation that focuses on my skill in (word mastery, leading change in the workplace, creating customized cabinets, etc.). I’m working hard to stand out for quality and become known as an expert in my industry, so if you could mention something in that vein, I would really appreciate it.”
Then add: “If I can ever assist you in this same manner, you can count on me.”
If the request you are making is for a recommendation to be included on your LinkedIn profile, use the Recommendation Request format they have already put in place. There’s no need to reinvent the wheels especially if it already has a strong grip on the road.
Remember that if a client sends you an email or note, you should not place it on your website or social media profile without asking their permission. Nine times out of ten they don’t mind a bit, but to assume can lead to a misunderstanding.
A Final Thought
Whenever you can ask to get video testimonials. They are far more valuable to you – video testimonial is probably 10x or even 20x more powerful and authentic than written – and in my experience some people actually prefer doing a video to writing a testimonial.
And remember, the worst thing that can happen when you ask for a testimonial is that they say no. The world will not end, life will go on.
So get out there and ask for those recommendations…you have earned them.
Until next time. I wish you continued success.
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