How to Capture Testimonials that Generate More Business
CHALLENGE: CLIENT TESTIMONIALS THAT ATTRACT AND CONVERT
Social proof. We have come to expect it. I remember back in the day when people would just make them up. Does that still happen? YES. Why? A couple of reasons. One is that people are too busy to capture them in a manner that has integrity. Another is that they ask clients but don't guide the responses, and they end up getting testimonials that don't speak to their ideal audience or address areas of bizdev they need to nurture.
Another fail is when a business posts testimonials at launch but never updates them. Over time your business evolves, what you know about your ideal client knowledge of your ideal audience deepens and your messaging shifts. If these markers of maturation are not cascaded into other content—especially your testimonials—they will lose their potency, or worse yet, they'll attract non-ideal prospects.
Whatever method you use to capture client testimonials, just do it. Here are a few examples that I've captured and why they work:
EXAMPLE: SPECIFICITY AND RESULTS
This testimonial works because it's specific. Although it may be a hard-to-swallow stat that his traffic has increased 1,000% (who says that?), Ed clearly states the result he achieved by working with me.
EXAMPLE: VIP TRUST-BUILDER
I've been working with Kate for over 5 years now, and she's one of my favorite clients. This testimonial is all about trust, but is non-specific regarding results. A testimonial like this will have a lot of weight because of who made the testimonial, not necessarily that it specified a result.
EXAMPLE: BEFORE AND AFTER
This example demonstrates the before-problem and after-solution. This is the most powerful type of testimonial because it acts like a mini case-study. If you can quantify on top of the before and after by adding numbers or percentages, it's even more effective.
EXAMPLE: RESULTS, DAMMIT
This is all about a desired result which has a lot of punch. Add the emotional component (which is really why we do what we do, to achieve the emotional response) and you've got a powerhouse of a testimonial. This testimonial also addresses the manner in which the solution was provided: EASY!
HOW TO CAPTURE TESTIMONIALS THAT GENERATE MORE BUSINESS
THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN CAPTURING BUSINESS-GENERATING TESTIMONIALS:
Be strategic. Make sure you know your ideal client and what they need to hear to know you're the right choice to solve their problem.
- Give examples. When you're crafting your testimonials, make sure they include and example of what you did.
- Be specific. The more specific you are in your testimonial with percentages, measurable results and before and afters, the more connection you'll make with prospective clients.
- Log successes. Keep a log of the big wins you've gotten your clients and then circle back to capture a testimonial about it from them.
- Skip the how. It's tempting to include how you got your client results, but that is a trap and it also bloats your testimonials. The how only opens opportunity to be judged on your methods, not on your results. Who cares how you got the win—YOU GOT THE WIN!
- Make it easy. If you have a client who is happy to offer you a testimonial, encourage them to. However, sometimes they're too busy or don't have the confidence to write their own. In those cases, offer to write it for them. Here's how:
- Contact your client and ask them if you can have a testimonial, and offer to write a draft for them based on the result(s) you've gotten for them, ask for any specific quantitative data or details you can use if you don't know them yourself already (percentage increase in sales, more customers, expense savings, increase in efficiencies, etc.)
- If they take you up on your offer to write it for them, draft it in language that speaks to what your ideal client wants if you can or demonstrate the result
- Proof and edit to be as short and efficient as possible
- Email it to them and offer them the freedom of editing what you wrote, and then confirm how they want their attribution (first name and last initial, title, photo, etc.)
- After they approve the final draft, once you place it in your website or marketing collateral, send them a link or a photo of the testimonial so they can see the context in which you're displaying their testimony
- THANK THEM!!!!
- Review testimonials. Make sure all of your testimonials are aligned. It's easy to have an older testimonial not match how your work has evolved.
- Use variety. You can't address all of your products or services in one or two testimonials. Make sure that what you're sharing about your client wins is diverse so it addresses as many of the potential objections or questions that a prospective client may have. Be diverse in your client types, yet make sure they mirror your ideal client profiles and demographics.
- Leverage social media. Some of your best client testimonials are buried in the threads of social media. One of the most popular tools for getting client testimonials is the recommendations feature in LinkedIn. Mine your social media posts for client results and testimony. Often if your clients are engaged and sharing how you've helped them, you can find them amongst your feeds in twitter, Facebook and other social commentary. Just make sure you get their okay that you're using their social post or recommendation as a testimonial.
- Make it a habit. You practice regular capturing of testimonials from your clients. You'll be "training them" to always be thinking of the positive results that you're getting for them, and you can use your testimonials in many social channels to drive new traffic. Who knows—they may even get to the point where they offer to provide you one without you asking!