How to get over the fear of asking for testimonials
Testimonials are like gold dust. These snippets of success not only prove that you can do what you say, they’re also valuable content to use across all your communications.
So why haven’t you got any customer testimonials on your website?
Most people use the excuse of not having enough time. But I know that’s not true. Testimonials are really quite simple to get; you just have to ask. So what’s stopping you?
It comes down to pure and simple fear.
1. We don’t like to blow our own trumpets
It’s an age-old British problem. The inability to accept that someone might want to say something nice about you, your work and what it’s like working with you. Why do we find this so uncomfortable? We know we’re good at what we do but we’re far too modest to ask someone else to say it for us.
So what’s the solution?
Your first option is to deal with it as a marketing task. Approach it like a piece of client work - for your business - eat the frog and get it done! If you’re a list person, putting it on your to-do list also helps.
If you really don’t feel comfortable asking, ask someone to do on your behalf. I do a lot of this for clients who don’t have the time and it’s probably one of my favourite jobs. What’s better than speaking to someone who has only positive things to say! Or if you have a VA or admin support, perhaps they can help.
2. We fear people will say ‘No’
If you ask them, most satisfied clients will be more than happy to give you a testimonial. So what if they say No? Is it really the end of the world? Accept their reasons for declining and move on to the next person.
3. We worry people might say something negative
This is a big concern for businesses that use online review platforms like Trip Advisor. There’s a huge fear that one unhappy customer might say something bad and make your rating go down.
Firstly, if someone leaves you a bad review, you have the opportunity to respond. Keep your response professional and apologise if it's due. Avoid getting into a debate. One reply is enough. If you need to continue the conversation, take it offline.
If someone suggests you do something differently, be open to trying their suggestion. It might make sense and improve your service.
Clearly, the best way to handle a bad review is to prevent it happening in the first place. When something goes wrong with your product or service, nip it in the bud with good customer service before the customer has chance to leave a bad review.
How to ask for testimonials
I find the best way to ask for a testimonial is to use the client’s preferred method of communication.
If they’re prolific on LinkedIn, request a recommendation directly from your profile. If they purchased via your website, send an email. If they have a Gmail address, try pointing them to your Google My Business page.
If you’re not sure, give some options. There are loads of places you can ask for testimonials. Here are just a few:
Google My Business
The key is to make it as easy as possible for the client to respond. And don’t have reviews in too many different places. They are much more powerful en masse. Choose your preferred platforms and encourage people to use them. I use Facebook, LinkedIn and email, copying all testimonials to my website.
If a customer posts their review on one site, can you use it elsewhere?
Yes! If the customer has posted their review online, it’s in the public domain. It’s fine to copy their review and use it on your website, social media or elsewhere.
Of course, if they email their testimonial directly to you, it’s common courtesy to tell them where you’d like to use it and ask permission before sharing.
Once you have permission, I recommend using graphics software like Canva to transform the client’s words into an eye-catching branded graphic to share on social media.
What to do when someone says they’ll send you a testimonial and then doesn’t
When all goes quiet, offer to write the testimonial for them. There are two approaches:
1. Call them for a quick chat. Ask a couple of questions and write down or record their answers.
2. Email some questions over (max. 3) and ask them to write a one-sentence response to each.
Some example questions:
What’s it like working with X?
How did X make a difference to your business?
How would you describe our product/service to your friends?
In both cases you can use their responses to compile a short testimonial and email it over for their approval. Testimonials don’t have to be war and peace. Short and to the point makes a bigger impact.
Don't push it. If the customer isn't forthcoming, thank them and move on to the next person. Sometimes it's better to admit defeat than become an annoyance!