There are few things that do more for your sales than genuine testimonials. Unfortunately, they don’t always fall right into your lap. Let’s talk briefly about why they are so critical and then I will disclose the only 3 questions I use to generate amazing testimonials.
“Your brand advocates are more valuable than any advertisement you could ever buy…” -Dave Kerpen
Why Testimonials Are So Powerful
Testimonials are an extremely powerful (and overlooked) FREE way to get more sales.
#1 They are a powerful sales technique without being “salesy”. People don’t want to be sold.They want things that make them better off and they want to feel certain that they are making the right choices. Unbiased testimonials do much more than your sales copy can.
#2 They show different benefits of your product or service. Not each person will get the same benefit from your product. People have different needs and also value different things. One product or service can satisfy several different needs for different people.Your potential buyer may be able to more easily relate to your product if they feel they share common needs with satisfied past clients.
#3 They generate credibility and trust. It is one thing to tell someone how great your product or service is, it is a completely different thing when someone else says it. You have something to gain from convincing your potential client, your past clients do not (assuming you are not paying them…side note, don’t pay them!)
Best Practices for Requesting Testimonials
Here are the best practices for requesting testimonials.
#1 Don’t call it a “survey” refer to it as “three quick questions.” People hate surveys. They are often longer than expected and they are not fun. When you tell someone that you want them to answer “three quick questions,” they are much more likely to agree. Make sure that they know it will only take them less than two minutes to respond. It will be quick and painless. If you sucker your past clients into doing what is essentially homework, you are a jerk. Also, let clients know that if they have a business or website, they can certainly add it under their name, giving them a backlink and improving their own traffic.
#2 Never post a testimonial without permission. You can find great, potential testimonials in tweets, emails and other correspondence with your clients. These are organic testimonials that don’t require the 3 questions I will touch on shortly. As easy as it may feel to just take a quick screenshot and post it on your site, be sure to get the client’s permission first. Again, most testimonials do not happen passively. Remember this: there is no shame in asking what clients thought.
#3 Consider using a form. I use a tool called typeform, which has a free plan and a premium plan with a few more features. You can also use Google forms. It isn’t as appealing visually, but it is just as functional and completely free. Check out this example I made a few months ago.
#4 Stay within the law. There is a lot of legislation regarding the proper practice of paid advertisements, testimonials, and reviews. Be certain that you are not breaking any of these. Never attempt to mislead your audience or contort the words of a past client. Check out this document from the Federal Trade Commission regarding the use of testimonials in advertising.
#5 Gather testimonials from social media occasionally. There is something about using direct responses for testimonials that resonates very well. It seems very organic and unscripted.Consider asking your clients if they wouldn’t mind answering the 3 questions (I am about to share with you) in the form of a social media post. Ask them if they don’t mind if you snag a screenshot of the post and use it as a testimonial.
I use Techsmith tools (snagit and Camtasia) for all my screen captures and recordings. There are free options as well, and built in features on most PCs and Macs.
The 3 Questions
Testimonials are not always easy to generate, especially during your initial startup phase.
There are a number of problems that can occur. Even if raving fans are so happy with your product or service that they send you an unsolicited positive testimonial, they are often written poorly. They may be confusing or focused on benefits you don’t intend to promote. Random collections of positive reviews may not have the effect that you want or need. Never post a testimonial that includes references to a benefit that is not a result of your product.
For example, if someone says that your supplement cured a disease of some type when that has not been tested or was an intended result, do not list that testimonial. Contact the client and let them know that the result of your product or service was not direct and is not advertised as a benefit.
These three questions will make sure that your clients provide testimonials that make your product or service shine and draw the interest of your potential clients.
Question #1 “What was your biggest fear before using (your product or service)? Did it come true, and if not, what happened instead?”
To make sales, you need to ease the fears of potential clients.
The quality of your product or service is irrelevant if the potential buyer feels afraid that it may not work for them. By generating testimonials that debunk the same fears that others may have, you get closer to a sale. By generating several testimonials with this question, you will build a collection of resolved fears, making it more likely that your potential client can relate to one or more of them and will feel more comfortable with their purchase.
You can also make your question here more specific such as “what were you concerned with in regards to hiring a web designer?” This will result in more specific, relatable answers.
Question #2 “What, specifically, was your favorite part of (your product or service), and why?”
Concrete examples sell, vague statements do not. Let your testimonials function like additional feature and benefit bullets and reiterate the positive aspects of your product or service in the words of regular people.
Testimonials can showcase product or service benefits in a more original and unique way. Instead of you saying, “Our product is user friendly,” a client’s testimonial may say something like, “This was so simple to use, even for someone with no prior experience like me!”
Question #3 “If you were to recommend us to a close friend, what would you say?”
By requesting that clients answer the question in the tone that they are speaking to someone personally, it becomes more compelling and relatable. The warm, personable voice that comes out of this question will help gain trust in your product or service.
The overall goal of testimonials is to provide credible and relatable feedback to potential clients.
The 3 questions we have discussed above will help ease your clients fears by showing concrete examples of what the product or service has really done for other clients like them. If you are paying for ad space but are not utilizing the power of testimonials, you are leaving a lot of money on the table.
Speaking of feedback, what are your thoughts on these 3 questions? Do you approach this differently? I’d love to hear from you! Comment below.