CG #41 - How and When to Collect Testimonials

October 15, 2022
Nathan Rodgers
Build social proof and get to know your clients better by collecting testimonials and reviews.

Here's something the gurus won't often tell you:

Starting a business and making money isn't easy.

Very few of us achieve those magic results of getting to $10k months in 90 days or scaling to six or seven figures without whatever it is you hate that they promise you won't have to do.

I "officially" became an entrepreneur in January of 2015 when I decided to build a hotel in Colombia with two friends.

I'm coming up on eight years since I made that decision.

The first five years were one kind of tough: raising over $4 million and building something that never existed before, only to open a few months before Covid.

The last two years have been a different kind of tough: building my own business online as a freelancer / consultant / coach while dealing with medical challenges in my family and moving countries.

It has been a tough road, and I'm still not where I want to be.

Recently, I started reading a book called Entrepreneurship Ruined My Life.

Andrew Ryder, the author, talks about how it's easy to get caught up in the grand promises and shiny tactics of online business, and lose site of the fundamental of what we need to do to build a business: get good at helping people solve a real problem in their lives.

I am as guilty as anyone of following the gurus and hopping from tactic to tactic without getting much in the way of results.

I wrote to someone this week that I feel a bit like a guy in a boat in the middle of a lake trying to move eight oars at once and just going in circles.

I am actively working to figure out what my two metaphorical oars are so I can focus on less and start moving more.

I know that one of my oars needs to be getting better at my craft. At becoming the best damn business coach I can be so I can help small businesses unlock their potential.

I think the other oar is how I share that craft and get in front of more people I can help. That part I'm still figuring out, as well as what role this newsletter has in it and what form it should take.

I started this newsletter to share what I've learned in my journey.

And yes, to be a way of providing value to people with the belief that some of you would then be interested in learning more about how I can help you.

If you read regularly, you may have noticed a shift over the past few issues. I've been talking more about fundamentals than tactics.

That's been deliberate because as I learn more about "Client Getting", I think it has more to do with the fundamentals than with tactics, though tactics are important.

And I know I need to be more focused on the fundamentals in my own business.

If you've read this far, thank you for allowing me to share more about my journey.

I'd love to hear from you where you're at in your journey and if any of the above resonated.

Just email me at nathan@nathanrodgers.com and let me know.

Now, on to this week's topic...

Client-Getting Strategy of the Week:

TESTIMONIALS

Purpose:

Build social proof and get to know your clients better by collecting testimonials and reviews.

How it Works:

Asking for testimonials and reviews should be a regular part of your interactions with your clients.

(Throughought the rest of this issue, I'm going to just say testimonials instead of repeating "testimonials and reviews.")

Having testimonials from clients helps you:

  • Validate your understanding of their pains and desires.
  • See the results you got for them through their eyes.
  • Understand the actual words they use so you can use those exact words to attract more ideal clients like them.
  • Generate social proof you can use to attract more ideal clients by showing that you can get results for others like them.

You can format and share testimonials in a variety of ways

  • As a case study of a specific result you got for them (a good case study can even be a free lead magnet)
  • Quotes or snippets of videos on your website or marketing materials
  • A video testimonial on a sales pages (sometimes all you need to sell your product is a great video testimonial from a happy client)
  • A "wall of testimonials" using a tool like Testimonial.to
  • Sharing them as results from happy customers in your emails and on social media
  • Sharing your average star rating on third-party sites like Google Maps, your Facebook Business Page, etc.

Three key times you can ask for a testimonial:

1. Immediately or soon after purchase

This one may not be obvious at first.

But immediately after purchase or within a few days of purchase, people are high on the excitement of the hope for change.

If it's a repeat purchase, then you definitely want to ask for a testimonial.

They likely feel good about their purchase (or want to feel good about it) and even though they likely can't talk about results yet, they can talk about how excited they are and what they are looking forward to as a result of their purchase.

These may not be the best testimonials in terms of showing you can get results, but they do show that people are buying what you're selling, which is a form of social proof.

You can ask something like:

  • We'd love to know what you think so far..
  • How was the purchase process?
  • What are you most excited about?
  • How do you think this is going to impact you?

2. After a big win or delivery

This is an ideal time to ask for a testimonial.

You've just delivered something that is tangible or you've gotten them a result that they were after.

Ask them to summarize the result/win, let you know what they think, how they're feeling, and how the result/win will impact them.

3. Exit interviews

When you finish a contract with a client or a buyer's time with you ends, ask them to take a few minutes to give you feedback.

Record this on video if possible (e.g., Zoom, or if done in person on your cell phone).

Here are some questions to ask:

  • What was your problem/issue before you started working with me?
  • What were your expectations when you started working with me?
  • What specific results have you gotten from working with me?
  • What exactly did you like most about working with me?
  • Why would you recommend working with me to someone else who might be on the fence?
  • What made you choose working with me over anything else you could have done?

Other ways to get testimonials

  • Ask for feedback instead of a testimonial
  • Social media mentions
  • Ask for or swap recommendations on LinkedIn
  • Surveys and feedback forms
  • Unprompted positive comments in emails
  • Reviews left on third-party review sites (Google, TripAdvisor, Capterra, Yelp, etc.)

One great insight I recently saw in The Growth Newsletter worth keeping in mind:

When gathering testimonials, aim for stories, not just opinions.

You can do this by changing the questions you ask.

Instead of “What do you like best about service?”

Ask “Tell me about a way our service added value to your life.”

Keys to Success:

Ask them to be specific

The more concrete a testimonial is about a specific result achieved, the more powerful it will be.

"Working with Joe saved me $3,819 on my tax bill" is a far better testimonial than "Joe is a great accountant."

When possible, get videos and posts to social media

Video testimonials are powerful because we can connect emotionally and because they overcome doubts about the authenticity of the testimonial (it’s a lot harder to fake a video testimonial from a real person than it is to make up a quote).

Same with testimonials shared on social media and reviews on third-party review sites.

Match the testimonial to the product/phase in their journey

Testimonials shared when driving people to your lead magnet should be about your lead magnet.

Testimonials shared when driving people to your signature program should be about your signature program.

Actually share them

Getting testimonials won't do you any good if you don't share them.

Over and over.

I am guilty of this. I've received testimonials that I either haven't shared or shared only once.

For me I think it stems from feeling embarrassed about self-promoting.

Whatever the reason, if you don't share them, they won't help you grow your business.

Additional Resources:

Collect and share testimonials with ease with Testimonials.to.

VideoAsk is another great way to get video testimonials

Something Else You Might Like

The Growth Newsletter mentioned above is a free weekly newsletter where you'll get 3-4 actionable growth tactics plus important marketing news and updates.

If you have a moment to email me at nathan@nathanrodgers.com and share where you are in your journey as an entrepreneur/business owner, I'd love to hear from you.

Other Issues