How to Get Better Testimonials From Your Happiest Clients

Mar 31, 2022

You know that having testimonials from successful clients does wonders for creating social proof and showing that you can help your clients get results...but how do you get good testimonials in the first place?

In this episode, I share tactics for getting better testimonials so you can create social proof and share the amazing results you help your clients achieve, including how testimonials are different than reviews and how to ask the right questions to get testimonials that excite your ideal clients.

 In today's episode, we are going to be talking about how to get better testimonials. In the last episode, we focused on what you do with testimonials once you have them, on the different ways that you can use them. Today, we're going to talk about how you actually get those testimonials in the first place and how you actually get good testimonials that you can use. We're going to talk about several specific things that will help you do just that. 

The first thing that's really important to understand is that testimonials are different than reviews; they're entirely different things. If you think about reviews, it's Google reviews on a business, or Amazon reviews for a product listing. And the general idea there is rate the product, the service, the business, whatever on a five-star scale, and just tell us what you generally think about the business or about the product; tell us about your experience with it. Now, that is not the same thing as a testimonial, which is a much more focused review that focuses specifically on the client's journey from where they were before they started working with you to what it was like working with you—What was their experience there?—to where they are now after that experience of working with you. 

A testimonial should almost always illustrate a journey or a transformation. It's not just “Here's what I think about working with this person,” you know, “I recommend them,” or, “I don't recommend them.” It's “Here's where I was before, here's the journey, and here's where I am now.” A testimonial should almost always have at least one of those three pieces. Ideally, it will have all three, and that's where we get into talking about more of a case study. A case study is a more in-depth version of a testimonial that really deeply illustrates those three pieces of the journey—the before, during, and after. But ideally, a testimonial should have two or more of those three things. 

Now that you know what it is you're looking for in a testimonial—that before, during, and after that transformation—the question becomes how do you actually get those three things out of a successful client? And the answer to that question is to ask more specific questions of your clients when you are trying to get a testimonial. Instead of asking, “Could you write me a testimonial, or tell us about your experience working together?” which are not specific questions and are not going to yield the best testimonials that you can use, the best way to get those good testimonials is to be more intentional about the prompts or the questions that you are asking or providing your clients. 

For example, a good question could be “Could you tell us a little bit about where you were before you and I started working together and where are you now?” Another example could be “How is your life or your business or your health or whatever different than it was two, three, or six months ago?” Obviously, those depend on your niche and the length of time you work with the client, but the idea here is to say, “Okay, we've been working on this thing, say, your health for the past three months. How is your health now?” or, “How does your health now compare to how it was three months ago? What can you do physically now that you couldn't do three months ago?” It's all about how specific you're getting with those questions. 

Then, when you're actually asking these questions, it's really important to be aware of how you're framing them. Oftentimes, when we think of testimonials, we think of them as This is going to make me look really good, right? It's all about me; it's about me, the coach; it's about making me look like I am the absolute best at what I do. And while that is a byproduct of a good testimonial, believe it or not, it's not actually the objective. You don't want to necessarily present yourself as this hero or savior. 

I want to dive into that word hero for a quick second. Think back to Star Wars. Everybody knows Star Wars, or at least it's a cultural thing that almost all of us have some familiarity with. We have Yoda and Luke Skywalker. Yoda is the coach; he's the guide. Luke Skywalker is the hero. In this analogy, Luke is actually the client. And who do we identify with more, when we think of hero in the context of Star Wars? Luke Skywalker. Yoda is not the hero; he's just the guide. And that's really important because when it comes to you and your clients, really in all contexts, but specifically right now in terms of testimonials, you are the Yoda; you're the guide. Your client is the hero who has overcome some amazing obstacle, or who has solved some massive problem that they were facing in their life or in their business. 

But what does that matter? How does that actually relate to testimonials? Well, I'll tell you: The reason you want to position your client in a testimonial as the hero is because when prospective clients read this, when your ideal clients read this or see it or listen to it, you want them to be able to identify with the client; you want them to be able to see the possibility for themselves and their own opportunity to become a hero. It’s really all about making sure that the way you're framing a testimonial, or the way that you're framing the questions that you asked to get a testimonial is all around making the client seem like the hero and not you. That is such such a massive distinction. That is, if you just start approaching it from that perspective, you will almost immediately start getting higher quality testimonials. 

At this point, you know how to frame the questions that you're asking in order to get testimonials, and you have an idea of how to actually frame the testimonial, that hero versus guide distinction. The last thing I want to touch on before we end today's episode is the format, the mode, that you're actually getting these testimonials in. Are you getting them to write something? Are you getting them to say something to a video? Are you on video interviewing them? Is it audio? There are a lot of different routes that you can go. 

I definitely recommend going in all the different directions—getting some video testimonials, written testimonials, etc.—but the point I want to make here is that video testimonials, whether that's you interviewing the client or you just asking them to record a video answering several questions, are the most versatile type of testimonial in terms of how you can actually use them once you have them. If you have a video testimonial, you can just take the audio out and insert it into, say, a podcast episode. You can transcribe it and pull out the key golden nuggets to use as written testimonials. I don't necessarily always recommend getting video testimonials, but make sure you do at least some because, when you do a video testimonial, there's a lot of different formats that you can use it in. 


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