How often do you ask for a testimonial from a client and get something like this?
“Bob and his team at ABC Contracting were fabulous. We had a great experience and look forward to working with them again.”
Many people would be happy with this testimonial. My opinion? It doesn’t suck, but it could be better. You want better.
“ABC Contracting did a terrific job and finished on schedule, despite a few unexpected obstacles. Bob responded quickly to all of our questions and concerns and the team handled an emergency problem very smoothly.”
To a prospect who’s concerned about contractor deadlines, job performance and responsiveness, this is a much more powerful testimonial.
Your guide to testimonial awesomeness
If you don’t want a website full of generic testimonials, you’ll have to tell your clients what you want. I don’t mean telling them what to say, just guiding them in the right direction. Here’s how:
1) Decide what to highlight in testimonials
What makes your product/service better than your competitor’s? Why do clients say they choose you? Pick two or three areas you’d like to highlight in testimonials (customer service, product quality, order follow up, experience, etc.).
2) Pick clients for the areas you chose
This is easier if you sell a service, but the idea is to pick clients who can write about the areas/qualities you chose. If you’re in real estate and want to focus on how quickly you sell property, pick a good client for this. If customer service is on your list, pick a client who had a disastrous problem you solved. Make a list of these clients and their addresses or emails, because you’re going to write to them next.
3) Ask for the testimonial
Write or email the clients (or contact them through LinkedIn) using a standard message with one sentence that will be customized. Here’s a sample. Feel free to use it, just customize or fill in anything that’s underlined.
It was nice doing business with you this past week. Now I’d like to ask you for a favor. Could you write one or two sentences describing your experience (good or bad) with our customer service?
Something short is fine. The feedback would be helpful and it might be used on our website or marketing materials.
You don’t have to use these, but here are a couple of starter phrases to get your thoughts flowing:
- In our experience, Acme’s customer service is…
- After buying from Acme, our experience with customer service was…
Please send it to this e-mail (or post it on LinkedIn). If you’d rather I not use your comments on any materials, let me know as well.
Thanks for taking a moment to help with this. I look forward to reading what you have to say.
(Replace customer service with your preferred area—product quality, technical expertise, response time, etc.)
If you don’t feel comfortable giving them a phrase as a starting point, ask for their comments then try to dig deeper with them on the phone. As they respond to your questions, make a note of anything you’d like to quote and ask them if you can use what they’ve said on your website.
Everyone’s too busy these days, so make it as easy as possible for your client to respond. An online network like LinkedIn is a good vehicle for this if the client is a member already. Otherwise a short email or letter is fine.
Good testimonials attract clients
After reading a few well-worded testimonials, prospects will feel like they know your company a little better. And if they like what they see or read, they’ll be more willing to email or pick up the phone and call.