How to ask for a testimonial

(And not feel super-awkward about it)

You’ve finally wrapped up the job; the client seems happy; and you’ve tiptoed around that uncomfortable issue of getting paid. And then comes the excruciatingly awkward question.

You know you need to ask it. You know it will help you grow your business. But [shudder] how desperate does it feel to mutter the request…..

“I was wondering if I might have a testimonial, please.”

It’s tempting not to bother isn’t it?

Testimonials are important – FACT

Why? Because they give you three powerful ingredients for your marketing strategy:

#1 Feedback on your service and how you deliver it.
#2 Social proof to help you win over new clients.
#3 Fuel for your copywriting.

Embellish your web copy with the words your current client base use to describe their problem and your solution, their pain and their sense of relief.

Getting a testimonial doesn’t have to be painful

It is possible to gather in the feedback you need without stumbling over the clumsy request for testimonials.

Tune into the feedback your client is already giving you. How did they respond to the first drafts? What words did they use to let you know you’d delivered exactly what you need. Lift a soundbite from your existing communication, and then ask your client’s permission to use it as a testimonial.

After I had sent the first draft of a sales page to a client, she emailed me this response:

“OMG. You are a genius. It’s exactly what I feel about what I do, and I want them to feel about my work …amazing!!!! love it so far. I am so excited….so happy to see my work reflected so beautifully.”

Do you think I’m leaving that gem hidden away in my inbox where only I can see it? Hell no!

I took out the ‘love it so far’ as that makes no sense out of context, sent back the edited version, thanked the client for her enthusiasm and asked if I could use what she had written as a testimonial. No awkwardness, just a harnessing of the momentum that was already there.

Ask for feedback not testimonials

If you’re looking for a professional, authoritative statement about the efficiency and effectiveness of the service you provide, then a ‘testimonial’ is what you need.

However, if an outpouring of emotion, appreciation, and constructive suggestions is what you’re after, then ask for ‘feedback’.

Tag a feedback email or survey onto your closing process and ask just three questions:

#1 What was the best thing about working with me?
#2 Would you recommend me to a friend, and if so what would you tell them?
#3 Before hiring me what fears or hesitations did you have?

Stop hiding your testimonials

Once you’ve made all that effort to gather up the feedback, please, for the love of your own business, do NOT plonk them onto a page marked ‘testimonials’. These little snippets of client love are like kindling and need to be spread around your website to stoke the fires of desire in your prospects. You can leave the full-length testimonials on one page, and then use the highlights throughout the rest of your website.

And finally

Make sure you also keep a private collection of positive feedback. Every little bit of goodness needs to be stored in one place, a bank of positivity, that reminds you why you do what you do, and how good you are at doing it.

What about you?

Do you struggle with the dreaded testimonial conversation? Why not try our advice and let us know how you get on.

Laura Robinson

Laura Robinson

Copywriting & Content Strategy

With an Award in Direct & Digital Marketing under her belt, Laura uses her knowledge and skills to help small business owners create customer relationships using the words on their website and blog.

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