How to get POWERFUL client testimonials (without the awkwardness)

Co-authored by Meg Cumby (who specializes in social proof for freelancers and consultants) and Kai Davis

Testimonials are an excellent piece of social proof — a way to build credibility and trust with prospective clients.

But testimonials typically don’t just come flying at you on their own. You have to be intentional about asking your client for their feedback on their experience working with you.

While it may not seem like much, asking for feedback lets you uncover:

  • What your client’s hesitations were before working with you
  • How the client benefited from your service
  • If your client would recommend your services to others
  • And much, much more.

With a few steps, you can turn pieces of customer feedback into powerful testimonials that support the benefits of your services, and directly address objections that future customers may raise.

No matter how you collect client feedback, making sure the questions you ask focus on the business outcomes you’ve helped the client achieve and the objections the client had before working with you will help you build a powerful testimonial.

That’s because you want your testimonials to speak directly to prospective clients, and tell them how you’ll help improve their businesses.

The number one lesson you should take away from this guide? The questions you ask to get a testimonial — and the habit of regularly asking for a testimonial — are incredibly important.

You need a regular, repeatable process to go through, where you follow-up with a client and solicit their feedback on the benefits of your work together.

After reading this article, you’ll understand:

  • Why and how testimonials will help your business (and why it’s more important to talk about your client and their business than yourself).
  • What makes a strong testimonial, what makes a weak testimonial, and how to upgrade your testimonials from weak to strong.
  • The different shapes and forms that testimonials can take.
  • Why you should ask for testimonials, instead of waiting for them to come to you.
  • How to ask for a testimonial.
  • When it’s the best time to ask (hint: it isn’t necessarily once the project is complete).
  • The specific questions you can ask a client to generate a strong testimonial.
  • How to decide between asking the questions through an interview or in writing.
  • What you should do if a client goes non-responsive after agreeing to give you a testimonial.
  • How you can get the best possible results-focused testimonials.
  • How you can leverage testimonials in your work.

Why and how do testimonials help your business?

Typically, prospective clients will encounter your testimonials when they’re shopping for services, considering different options, and evaluating if you’re the right fit for them.

At that point in the purchasing process, the thing on their mind? Risk!

  • How do they know if you’re going to be a good person to work with?
  • How do they know if you have the experience to help them solve their problem?
  • Most importantly, how do they know if they will get the outcome they’re seeking for their investment by going with you?

It’s less about convincing a prospective client to work with you and more about helping them avoid from opting out of taking that next step to working with you by helping to overcome their doubts.

Having someone else tell the story of why it was worthwhile for them to work with you is a powerful tool to reduce the perceived risk in the potential client’s mind and address their objections.

What’s a strong testimonial? What’s a weak testimonial?

While almost any testimonial is better than no testimonial, there are testimonials that are far more effective in reducing perceived risk than others.

Strong testimonials are ones that are believable and help a client overcome hesitations to hiring you by demonstrating exactly how an investment in your service pays off despite those hesitations. To achieve this, a strong testimonial has a particular set of qualities. It:

  • Relates to the expensive/painful problem that you solve for your clients.
  • Identifies the hesitation or objection your client faced before engaging you.
  • Highlights the measurable outcomes that you’ve helped your client achieve and shows how you were able to help achieve them.
  • Shows the benefits the client experienced working with you.
  • Highlights how your services are a fit for the type of clients that you work with.
  • Reflects the actual language clients use to describe working with you.

A weak testimonial, by contrast:

  • Focuses on you and your business, not the client. (“Kai really knows his stuff!”)
  • Talk about your work in platitudes. (“We loved working with Meg! The project was great!”)
  • Is vague on results or how your work helped achieve them.
  • Doesn’t relate to the type of clients you work with .
  • Doesn’t mention the painful or expensive problem that you solve.

Here’s an example of a weak testimonial. This testimonial is a real testimonial from one of Kai’s first long-term clients.

Kai’s advice on optimizing our website was an epic win for us — it permanently moved the needle on our growth.

That is a very weak testimonial. While it hints at how the client benefited from hiring Kai, it’s vague and doesn’t tell the story of how working with Kai was a worthwhile investment for the client.

Here’s what a stronger testimonial from that same client could have looked like:

Our search traffic has grown 237%, and we’ve been able to launch numerous digital marketing initiatives since we started working with Kai.

When we started working with Kai, we were concerned if he’d be the right consultant to work with our growing company. As a startup, it’s hard to find a consultant with a broad skill-set who can augment a small, nimble marketing department.

With Kai, you get the best of both worlds; he speaks tech and marketing, and he can help you translate your largest marketing ideas into achievable, quickly implementable projects, and tangible outcomes.

When we needed eight microsites developed for a large launch in the span of three weeks, Kai worked directly with the Chief Marketing Officer to develop the concept, outline the implementation, execute the project, and then track and monitor the results.

With Kai’s help, the project was a success. And best of all? If something would be cost-prohibitive or take a lot of time to implement, he clearly and concisely explained why we should try a different approach and what other methods we could explore to get a similar marketing result.

I sincerely recommend Kai for any other startups who have a marketing team that needs someone who can help them translate their projects from marketing to tech, and then execute on the project.

What’s better about this testimonial?

  • It focuses on the business outcomes that Kai helped the client achieve.
  • It calls out the hesitation the client felt before working with Kai.
  • It relates to the expensive problem that was solved.
  • It highlights how Kai’s services are a fit for the industry that he serviced at the time.
  • It focuses on the benefits the client experienced working with Kai, and included a quantitative measure of our work together.

This is the kind of endorsement that communicates the value a potential client could receive by working with you, while addressing potential objections. Altogether, the above elements reduce the risk that clients may feel about working with you, which can increase the likelihood that they actually will.

Testimonials like this don’t just come out by themselves.

So how do you avoid weak testimonials and ensure you receive a strong one?

  • You want to give the client notice that you’ll be asking for a testimonial.
  • You want to tell the client how you’ll be using the testimonial (on your website, in a marketing asset, etc.).
  • You want to share an example of another testimonial from another client.
  • You want to give the client direction on the questions that you’ll be asking.
  • You want to ask the client open-ended questions.
  • You want to give the client an opportunity to give feedback, both positive and negative, and then work with that material to produce a polished, effective testimonial you’re both happy with.

We’ll cover how to do these over the next sections in the guide.

Why should you ask your clients for testimonials?

It feels awkward to ask for testimonials. It can feel like you’re putting a burden on your clients when you ask them to provide one. But asking for testimonials is important because, unless prompted, clients will rarely volunteer a testimonial regarding your work together. It’s just not something that is at the top of their mind to do.

You can make the ask less awkward and get strong testimonials if you integrate requesting testimonials into your process. By implementing some simple, repeatable steps for collecting testimonials from your clients, you’ll be able to proactively:

  • Prompt clients for a testimonial at the right time.
  • Provide a structure to get the most helpful information from your client.
  • Direct the testimonial process in a way that both makes it easy for your client and benefits you.

We’ll cover how to do this later in the guide.

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What forms can a testimonial take?

In the example mentioned earlier in the guide, Kai had a mini-text testimonial from the client (a single sentence). However, the more ideal testimonial from the client was a long text testimonial (two-four paragraphs long). Let’s examine your options in depth.

We typically think of testimonials as a single line of text or a short paragraph, but there are a number of different forms that a client testimonial can take. And some are much more valuable to your business than others.

1/ A mini text testimonial

A mini text testimonial is typically one sentence long, and the short testimonial you’re used to seeing around the web:

“We love Bob’s iOS Burger App!” — Someone

They aren’t very powerful, but they’re easy to gather and better than nothing.

2/ A short text testimonial

A short text testimonial is a short piece of text (two to four sentences long) that highlights some features of the service. It has a couple of the elements of a strong testimonial. The folks at Podcast Motor use this testimonial on their sales page for their podcast editing services :

3/ A long text testimonial

A longer text testimonial is typically two to four paragraphs long, generated with the gathering questions recommended above.

You can see an example of a long text testimonial here. This is a quote from a client that worked with me to increase their Organic Traffic from SEO:

We tripled the amount of organic traffic that was coming to our site!

With Summit Evergreen, we had a great product but didn’t have a way to get the word out there in an organic, repeatable way. We were at a loss on how to increase our traffic and convert that traffic into purchases. Our customer base was made up of referrals, early adopters, and ad-spend — effective for short-term growth, but not long-term sustainability.

Our competition had a couple years on us for SEO. In the first 3 months working with Kai, we tripled the amount of organic traffic that was coming to our site. Now we rank on the first page for all our major keywords, have 2 pages as the top result for highly trafficked keywords, and even rank in the top 10 for searches on for our competitors.

Best of all, conversion rates have stayed steady, which means that our 300% increase in traffic is converting into 300% more leads over the same time span.

People actually talk about Summit Evergreen on podcasts and in articles that we have no connection to — showing true market growth. Kai has been indispensable to the growth of Summit Evergreen.

Keith Perhac, Summit Evergreen

Here’s an example of one from Meg’s service:

I used to send out a feedback survey to clients and put together the testimonials myself from the responses. It took a lot of work, and the responses just kept piling up because I could never seem to find the time to keep up with all of that feedback.

Initially, the price of Meg’s service was a bit steeper than I was expecting. But I’ve found that the time savings alone are well worth it.

We have a nice process in place that makes it much easier for me to get and publish testimonials. The results I get are significantly better than what I would do on my own. Having Meg as an expert third-party handle constructing the testimonials really helps. I just worked with my clients for a few weeks or months, so I already know what they’re telling me. It’s difficult for me to objectively look at their feedback and pick out the compelling points. But when I get the testimonials Meg puts together for me, I think, “Wow, that’s awesome!”

This is currently the only part of my business I outsource and it’s worth it. I’d definitely recommend Meg’s service to others.

Josh Doody, Salary Negotiation Coach (www.fearlesssalarynegotiation.com)

4/ A mini case study

A mini case study testimonial is four to six paragraphs long (or longer). It will be on the longer side of the testimonials generated with the gathering questions recommended above.

Click here to see just a few examples of mini-case study testimonials Meg has helped others collect.

5/ An audio testimonial

An audio testimonial is a short, spoken word testimonial from a client or customer. An audio testimonial can be anywhere from a few seconds long to multiple minutes long. It’s not a commonly used format, but can be a way to increase the trust in the authenticity of the testimonial without the extra barrier of getting a video testimonial.

6/ A video testimonial

A video testimonial is a short, recorded video testimonial from a client or customer. A video testimonial can be anywhere from a few seconds long to multiple minutes long. Here’s a great web page with video testimonials for organic traffic expert Jon Nastor.

How to make asking for a testimonial easier by setting expectations

You can make asking for a testimonial much easier by setting the expectation with the client that you’ll be making that ask.

Let your clients know that as part of working together, you’ll be asking for a testimonial. Bonus points for letting them know:

  • When you’ll be asking (if you have a specific time in mind, like at the end of the project)
  • How they’ll give the testimonial (by answering a few questions about how the project has gone and the benefits they’re experiencing)
  • An indication of how you’ll use the testimonial (on your website, used in your marketing assets) etc.

Additionally, it’s good to let the client know that you’ll be taking their initial testimonial, refining it, and presenting it to them for their approval before using it. This primes the client to expect that the testimonial process is a collaborative one. You have certain aspects of the work that you’d prefer to highlight, so you’ll be working with the client to highlight them. This iterative collaboration will ensure you receive a strong testimonial from the client that drives results for your business.

You can prime the client for the testimonial ask this by putting wording in your onboarding materials. Here’s an example of wording you can use:

At the end of the project, there will be an opportunity for you to share your feedback on our work together. I’ll send you a few questions asking about your experience and the results and benefits you’ve seen. At that time, I’ll also request if I can use some of your feedback to turn into a testimonial which I’ll send for your review and approval before publishing on my website.

How to make the ask for a testimonial

When you’re ready to make the ask for a testimonial, there are a number of ways you can do it: email, phone or video call, or in-person meeting. There’s also a number of ways you can collect the client’s feedback to use in a testimonial (we’ll talk about that a little later in the guide).

You’ll want to pick a way that fits how you typically interact with the client. Regardless of the medium you use, here’s what you’ll do when making the ask:

  • Thank them for the opportunity to work together
  • Say that you’d love to feature a testimonial to showcase the results you’ve achieved together (mentioning some of the results/aspects of your work together you’d like to highlight)
  • Tell them how you’d collect this feedback from them (e.g. via email, phone conversation)
  • End with a simple call to action (e.g. “Would you be game for this?) and next steps (e.g. “If so, I’ll send you a short list of questions to answer” or “If so, I’ll send you a link to pick a time for a 15-minute call to get your feedback”

When are the best times to ask for client testimonials?

It’s important to ask clients to give you testimonials and to set the expectation beforehand, but you should also consider when it’s best to make the actual ask.

Here are a few times you can solicit a testimonial from a client:

  • When you reach a project milestone: you’re working on a three-month project, and you hit a key milestone two months in the project with good progress to report.
  • When you have a major win: there’s an astounding mid-project success for the client that you want to highlight.
  • When you complete the project: you’ve finished the scope of work and delivered the project.
  • Some time after a project is complete: you’ve finished a project with a client, and want to follow-up with a testimonial on the project results.

One additional time that you may want to ask for a testimonial is if your client wants a reduction in price or change in scope. You can use your request for a testimonial in exchange for a concession. This is a great opportunity to ask for a higher value testimonial, like a video testimonial or a larger case study about the results you were able to help them generate. (We cover the different types of testimonials that you can ask for further on in the guide.)

You should pick the time that you’ll ask for the testimonial before the project even begins (this way you’re not left deciding in the moment). You can always make a change in timing if it doesn’t feel right. Also remember that a testimonial does not have to be set in stone. If some of the results won’t be known for some time, you can still ask for and collect the testimonial while your client is enthusiastic about the work and then get a results update at a later date.

Is it ever too late to solicit a testimonial from a past client?

While it’s more likely to get a better testimonial if while the results are still fresh in the client’s mind, it’s almost never too late to get a testimonial.

If you’re able to demonstrate the quantitative or qualitative results you had working with a client, it’s worth following up with them to ask them for a testimonial even after some time has passed since they’ve seen those results. (Kai talks about how to maximize the effectiveness of your follow-up in his Free Outreach Course.)

What questions should you ask to get a testimonial from a client?

When you’re trying to get a testimonial from a client, you’re going to want to give them a structure to work with to get effective feedback.

Sean D’Souza, author and business marketing consultant, says the best testimonials should accomplish the following things for you:

  • They address the risk or obstacle a buyer might experience when considering purchasing your service.
  • They illustrate the outcome the buyer experiences from purchasing your service.
  • They highlight a specific feature of your service with some richness of detail.
  • They highlight specific benefits clients saw from your service.
  • They give a recommendation for your service .

To solicit testimonials that contain these qualities, you want to ask your client or customer specific questions including:

  • What was the obstacle that would have prevented us from working together? (Alternatively: What hesitation did you have to engaging me?)
  • What did you find as a result of working together?
  • What specific aspect did you like most about our work together?
  • What would be two or three other benefits about our work together?
  • Would you recommend this service? If so, why?
  • Is there anything you’d like to add?

(Questions based on the ones featured in Sean D’Souza’s insightful book The Brain Audit and in this excellent Copyblogger article he wrote on the subject.)

Each of these questions matches up with the qualities we want in our testimonials.

Focusing in on these six questions will allow you to construct a killer testimonial. A couple extra questions you can consider adding in to reveal additional details include:

  • What was the challenge you faced that led you to engage me? (This prompts the client to describe the painful or expensive problem your work focused on.)
  • What made you choose to work with me instead of other options available to you? (This may reveal some compelling advantages to working with you over alternative solutions.)

If you want to present an explicit opportunity for the client to also give feedback on what could go better, you can ask the following question:

  • What could have been improved or gone better, even with the benefit of hindsight?

So now you know which questions to ask, but how should ask these questions?

How should you ask these questions? (Interview vs. survey)

There are two main ways you can collect feedback for a testimonial: through an interview (phone or in-person) or in writing (sending the questions in an email or through an online form).

Each of these can work – we’ve seen people use both methods successfully and there’s pros and cons to each. Which one will work for you really depends on you and your clients. Here are some factors you’ll want to consider to decide.

1/ Interview option

There are several advantages to doing an interview.

End up on the calendar, not their to-do list: Having a scheduled time means your less likely to get pushed down on the to-do list. It also reduces the likelihood you’ll need to keep following up to see when the client has an opportunity to fill in the answers to your questions.

More natural, less formal language & more information: Your client may write in more formal language, but be far more natural when they speak. There’s a lot of strength in a conversational tone – it’s more compelling and more convincing. It’s tough for some people to convey their thoughts in a natural, informal way when they write. Doing an interview format allows you to probe for more if you feel there’s still good information to uncover. Sometimes it just takes a rephrasing of a question or digging deeper to get a client to reveal what could have prevented them from buying or what the real business outcomes of the project were.

Can be easier for the client: For some people, a short phone call can be less burdensome/time-consuming than sitting down to write out the answers to questions (writer’s block is tough!).

Allows more options to use the material: Doing an interview is a must if you want an audio or a video testimonial.

You might want to consider collecting the feedback through an interview if one of more of the following factors are in play:

  • You’re doing a higher-touch, higher-value engagement.
  • Your client is typically very busy.
  • It’s critical or extremely valuable for you to get a testimonial from this particular client.

2/ In writing (survey option)

While an interview is a great option, there are also advantages to doing a survey option.

Easier to do at scale: Doing an interview means you either have to be a very good notetaker or will need to transcribe your client’s responses later. You also will need to spend a bit more time constructing the testimonial as people sometimes tend to meander in giving their responses verbally. Collecting the client’s responses in a written format eliminates both these barriers.

Less awkward: It can be awkward to directly give feedback to the person you’re talking about (both positive and negative). A survey is a way to remove that awkwardness.

You might want to consider this approach if:

  • The engagement is on the smaller side and you have a higher volume of clients.
  • Using this approach will make it more likely for you to ask for a testimonial.
  • It’s not critical to get a testimonial from one particular client.

If you go this route, it’s best to include the questions directly in an email. It’s a good move to include link to a feedback form with the questions (using Wufoo, Gravity Forms, or Type Form). This gives your client the choice between responding to the email with their answers (often easier for someone who wants to write up a quick reply), or filling out a feedback form on your website (a more official feeling process that some clients enjoy).

(Need help getting the structure in place or prefer to completely hand off turning the feedback into testimonials? Meg’s got a service for that.)

3/ Hire a third party to interview/construct the testimonial

If you want all the advantages of doing an interview without the time and emotional energy it takes to handle it yourself, you can hire a third-party to do an interview and put together the testimonial. (Meg has a whole service around this.)

Engaging a third-party to handle the process makes it less awkward and takes it off your plate completely, freeing up your time and emotional energy.

Regardless of the approach you take, what do you do if the client expressed interest or enthusiasm in providing a testimonial for you, but now you can’t reach them?

How to put together the best possible (results-focused) testimonial

We’ve mentioned earlier in the guide that putting together the testimonial is a collaborative process between you and your client. Testimonials are, ideally, part of a conversation between you and the client.

  • You ask the client for a testimonial.
  • You share specific questions the client can answer in order to generate a high-value testimonial.
  • The client shares their responses with you (or uses the questions to draft a testimonial).
  • You review the client’s responses or testimonial draft and note any opportunities to make the testimonial more specific, highlight quantitative results, note any particularly important details the client missed, or defeat a potential objection.
  • You share any changes you have with the client, noting why you’re requesting a change and sharing a revised draft of the testimonial with them.
  • If the client wants further changes, work with them until you have a text that reflects the client’s experience working with you and that is satisfactory to you both.

Try to take a light touch in editing the client’s words — you don’t want to remove the authenticity of their voice. But if you’re working with a client on a testimonial and they don’t touch on a specific aspect of your work together that’s important for you to highlight, feel free to mention that to them, and suggest a way to include that aspect of your work in their endorsement.

By making this an iterative and collaborative process between you and the client, you’ll be able to maximize the impact that your testimonial has on your business. If you want an expert to take care of this process for you, contact Meg.

But what do you do if you’re having trouble getting testimonial from a client that originally expressed interest in providing you one, but has since gone silent?

What if a client goes non-responsive after agreeing to participate in a testimonial?

It might be difficult for a client to come up with something or find the time to give feedback. They have the best of intentions in returning a testimonial to you, but even when you provide them with specific questions to answer, you’re left in the dark.

If you have followed up with a client a few times after they’ve initially agreed to answer your questions to provide a testimonial and they’ve gone quiet, you can follow up with an additional pair of emails.

In the first email, share an example testimonial from another client and give two to three points about your work together that you’d love them to focus on. Emphasize to them that their responses to the questions don’t need to be perfect and they don’t even have to provide a complete draft. Note that you’ll review the material, edit it for clarity, and return it to them for their approval.

If that doesn’t help accelerate the process, then you can create a testimonial on behalf of the client (answering the six testimonial questions based on your knowledge of the client). Share the draft with the client, telling them you drafted this only to give them an idea of the type of testimonial you’re looking for. However, if they find the testimonial you wrote to be fitting for your work together, all they need to do is quickly respond with a “Looks good!” and you’ll move forward with this testimonial.

What if I’m looking for a more impressive type of testimonial, like a video testimonial?

In the case where you’re asking for a higher commitment testimonial, like a video testimonial, the above strategy won’t work.

In these cases, we recommend re-stating your ask for a testimonial, but asking for a lower commitment option from the client, like a text testimonial.

By switching our ask from a higher commitment or higher effort testimonial, to one that requires less time invested by the client, we make it easier for them to fulfill the request. And we can always return to the client later, and make an ask for a higher commitment testimonial.

How can you leverage testimonials in your work?

Once you have a testimonial, what then? How can you get the most impact and value out of it? Here are a few suggestions for places where you can use your testimonial to maximize their impact.

1/ On a “customer success stories” page on your website.

It can be helpful to have a place that shows you have a large amount of social proof. A lot of people make the mistake of only doing this and neglecting to leverage social proof in areas where the customer is likely to be looking when they are facing an objection or hesitation to purchasing. Having a customer success stories page is a fairly easy option that allows you to clearly demonstrate that you have delivered results for several happy clients.

2/ Marketing materials

Use your testimonials in your marketing materials. Are you creating a brochure to give to potential clients? Are you working on a mailer for your business? Are you designing an ad for Facebook or a magazine? Try integrating your testimonial (or a snippet of your testimonial) into these to add a great element of social proof, or to defeat a common objection that people have to your service.

You can even include part of a testimonial on your business card — here’s Meg’s for reference:

3/ Sales pages

If you write sales pages for your services, you can integrate your testimonials into sales pages directly. Using your testimonials on these pages communicates to prospects, “Hey, this is a service that I can trust, that’s used and recommended by people like me.”

As an excellent example, the sales page for Fix My Churn integrates testimonials from happy clients, talking about their thought process before engaging Val Geisler and her team and how they’ve seen increased conversion and reduced churn as a result of working with them.

By integrating testimonials into your sales page, you can better highlight who your ideal client is, the trigger for someone wanting to work with you, the outcomes that your service delivers, and the benefits clients have experienced.

4/ Proposals

You should also use your testimonials in proposals. When you’re writing a proposal, you can integrate testimonials into the content to serve as either an element of social proof or an objection buster.

Let’s say that you’re writing a proposal, and offer your client a ‘choice of yeses’ between three different options.

On the page where you list the prices, you can include one or more testimonials that highlights the return on investment a client experienced by working with you.

By taking this opportunity to highlight the return that another client had, you can defeat a potential objection (“They cost too much!”), right when the client first thinks it.

Likewise, if you’re offering your client a choice between multiple options in a proposal, and you want to direct them towards a particular option, you could include a testimonial on the options page that highlights the experience another client had with a particular option.

What are your next steps?

We’ve talked a lot about how to use testimonials in your work, but action is always more valuable than theory.

You need to take a specific plan of action to get high quality, valuable testimonials from your clients for your business.

Getting testimonials from past clients

Here’s a specific plan of action — a roadmap — that you can follow to get high-quality, valuable testimonials from your past clients that will help your business.

  1. Make a list of every client you’ve worked with over the last three months. Just write down their company name, to start.
  2. Go through the list and and cross-out any clients who have given you a testimonial.
  3. Now you have your list of clients to contact for testimonials. Go through this list of people to contact, and write down:
    • The name of your contact at the company (the owner or the person you worked with).
    • Their email address.
    • The business problem that you helped them address.
    • Any results, qualitative or quantitative, from the project, that you’ve identified and can highlight for them.
  4. Take this information and do the two-step ask for a testimonial outlined below.

Two-step testimonial ask

In your first email, thank the client for the opportunity to work together, highlight the impact your work together had on their business and explain that you’d like to feature a testimonial from them in your marketing material to showcase the results you were able to achieve together.

End your email with a simple call to action like: “Just hit reply to this email, and say “Let’s do it!” Once I hear back from you, I’ll send you a short list of five questions to answer, to help create your testimonial.”

This separates clients who will contribute a testimonial from clients who won’t. We want to focus on initial energy on the low-hanging fruit, the clients who are happy to contribute a testimonial. We can save the clients who don’t respond for a round of follow-ups down the line.

For everyone that responded yes, send them this testimonial generating email (inspired by the wonderful testimonial email that Sean D’Souza sends out).

Thanks so much for the opportunity to showcase what we’ve been able to achieve together!

Here are a few questions to get your feedback to use for a testimonial.

  • What was the obstacle that would have prevented you from working with me?
  • What did you find as a result of working with me?
  • What specific aspect did you like most about our work together?
  • What are two or three other benefits of our work together?
  • Would you recommend this to others? If so, why?
  • Is there anything you’d like to add?

Feel free to type as much as you’d like. You can use these questions to create a draft testimonial or simply reply inline and I’ll turn your answers into a testimonial for your review.

Could you answer these questions before [DATE — recommend giving the client about a week ] if possible?

Thanks again,

[Your Name]

If the client doesn’t get back to you with their responses, follow up after the date. Follow-up again a week later if you still don’t get a response. If you still don’t get a response after 2-3 follow-ups, either focus on getting testimonials from other clients or use the advice in “What if a client goes non-responsive” section of this guide.

Going forward - SOP template

You’ll want to make collecting testimonial part of your process to make it easier to regularly get effective testimonials that reflect the kind of work you do and the kinds of results you’re helping your clients achieve. Decide on an approach that’s the best fit for you using what you’ve learned in this guide to systematically collect testimonials from your clients and create an SOP for it, making sure you cover:

  1. When you’ll ask clients for a testimonial (e.g. end of the engagement, one month after the end of the engagement, after X milestone)
  2. Putting wording in your onboarding materials to set the expectation for testimonial requests with future clients.
  3. Making the ask for a testimonial.
  4. Asking the testimonial questions via interview or survey.
  5. Following up with the client if you haven’t heard from them after they agree to provide a testimonial.
  6. Making any necessary edits/putting the testimonial together.
  7. Sending a revised draft back to the client for their review and approval (following up if they don’t respond after about a week).
  8. Publishing and leveraging your testimonial in your marketing assets.

Now you have your next steps to get effective testimonials

  • You know how to identify past clients to approach for a testimonial.
  • You know how to approach them for a testimonial.
  • You know how to work with your client to generate a testimonial that highlights the most important areas of your work together.
  • You know how to follow-up with a client who has gone non-responsive while writing the testimonial.
  • You know how to create a repeatable process for collecting testimonials on an ongoing basis.
  • You know how to maximize the impact of your testimonials and use them throughout your business.

And that’s the end of this guide.

If you’re looking to get great testimonials from your clients, you now have the questions to ask.

Want help getting testimonials from your clients (without the awkwardness)?

Meg has done-for-you testimonial services available to make it easier for you to get powerful testimonials. Check them out here.

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