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How to ask for a testimonial

Happy clients just need a structure to express themselves

Veronika Noize
Guest Columnist
Savvy marketers know that client testimonials are worth their weight in gold, so I always encourage my clients to get as many as possible, and to get them in writing. As much as I like the personal reference, there is nothing as credible and as consistently reliable as a good old written testimonial to help prospects make that decision to take the plunge and work with you.

But how to get the testimonial? The best time to ask for a written testimonial is immediately upon hearing positive feedback about your work from your clients. For example, whenever one of my clients relates a marketing success story to me that they very kindly attribute to my coaching or services, I ask if they would be willing to put those nice words in writing. Virtually everyone agrees, and so all I need to do is to remind them of their promise, and give them a format for a truly great testimonial.

Now some of you reading this are probably thinking “A format? What is that about? Is she writing her own testimonials?” Good questions, and no, I don’t write my own testimonials. But unfortunately, most people will write something like “Thank you for all your help. I loved working with you, and you’re the best!” which is nice, but functionally useless. What you need to do is guide their comments so that they will be useful to others who read them, and will laud the results of your work rather than your sparkling personality and charming smile.

There are three key elements of a great testimonial: First, a description of the situation that the client was in that prompted the need for your product or service. The second element is an account of the actions taken to resolve that situation. And third, an overview of the result of the action.

The “story-telling” format is not only highly persuasive, but meaningful because it conveys so much more information than the sweet but ineffective testimonials like “Gee, thanks, Ronnie, you rock!”

To get truly effective and useful testimonials, all you have to do is send an e-mail that provides specific instructions so that you get the result you want. For example:

Dear Client,

Thank you so much for your very kind words! It has been great working with you, and I wish all my clients were just like you. Thank you for agreeing to write a brief testimonial for me on your letterhead or in an e-mail. Your story will help other people see what my clients experience when working with me.

Although I can’t remember exactly what you said, I believe that if you can answer these three questions, all the great things you said will be covered. Please note that the following questions are guidelines for helping you construct your letter, but are not intended to be included in it.

First, why did you decide that the time was right to work with me? What situation or event prompted you to seek my help?

Second, what specifically did we do together that resolved or improved that situation?

And finally, what was the end result or outcome of our work together? How did you know that our work was successful?

Thanks again for your help, Client. Knowing how valuable your time is makes your letter of recommendation especially important to me!

Best regards,

Remember, you can talk until you turn blue about how valuable your product or service is, and people will not believe you because they understand that you have a vested interest in saying that. But when a client (or five or 50) says the same thing in writing, all of a sudden you’ve got something that people will believe, no matter how effusive. So don’t bother telling the world yourself – let your satisfied clients do the talking for you in with their testimonials, and your business will benefit beyond your wildest dreams.

Veronika (Ronnie) Noize, the Marketing Coach, is the author of “How to Create a Killer Elevator Speech” and “How to Double Your Business in 30 Minutes a Day.” A dynamic speaker and supportive coach, Ronnie helps small businesses attract more clients. Visit her web site at www.VeronikaNoize.com, or call her at 360-882-1298.

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