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.)

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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