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A lot of people struggle with asking for testimonials. It can feel a little bit awkward. People don’t know how to ask for them or how to not feel awkward about it.
I think the simplest tip is if you feel awkward about it, it’s going to be awkward. Just don’t feel awkward about it. That’s actually going to help a lot more than you realize.
You’ve provided value already and people will be happy to provide a testimonial in return.
The first tip is to just ask. It’s ok to ask for a testimonial.
Make it simple for people, make it easy. Don’t make it some big, complicated thing.
Don’t say, “Hey, can I ask you a question?” and they write back “yes” and you say, “Would you be willing to provide a testimonial?” and they say, “Sure,” because that’s going to take way too long and waste their time.
Make it easy for them. Just say, “Hey, I really appreciate working with you. I value your opinion. I wanted to see if you would be willing to provide a testimonial for me and my services. What would you say to someone who is considering hiring me?”
One way to phrase it is: what would you say to your best friend that’s considering hiring me for my services? Make it easy for them to just reply right away.
If they have already said something good, simple ask, “Would it be ok if I used this as a testimonial?”
Another great way to get testimonials is from your past customers. The perfect time to do this, because of the Rule of Reciprocity, is after you’ve given something.
It’s likely someone will respond with a testimonial if you give them something first.
What I like to do is give my past customers a little bit of extra value. If you have an online course, you can add a new module to the course and then say, “Hey everyone, if you’ve subscribed or purchased already, there’s a new module for you! It’s available immediately and it doesn’t cost you anything extra. I just wanted to provide this for you. If you’re enjoying everything, would you mind leaving a testimonial for me?”
Give them a button that goes to a form and you’ll be surprised at the number of people who are willing to give back to you when you give into them.
What if you don’t have any past customers? What if you don’t have students from a first version of a course? A great alternative is to use a beta group.
Whether it’s a product or a service, you launch it to a limited number of people in a beta group and after they get to experience the product or service, you ask them about their experience and you turn that into a testimonial for your public launch.
The final tip is to help you avoid the most common mistake I see with testimonials, and that’s where people simply ask someone point blank, “Would you provide me with a testimonial?”
When you do this, sometimes you’ll get a good testimonial back, but honestly, a lot of these people are busy and they’re not professional testimonial writers. It’s good to help them out a little bit and the way to do this is by asking them questions.
What I do is set up a little questionnaire that asks them specific questions. You could do this in an email but I actually have a form set up for this. You could say:
- What made you hesitate about buying this product or service in the beginning?
- What changed your mind? What did you find as a result of buying the product?
- What have you learned from it? How has it benefitted your life?
- What would you say to someone who’s still on the fence?
You’re going to get back several responses to the questions you ask, but all you have to do is remove the questions and you actually have a story right there—it’s in narrative form.
It’s everything from what they were hesitating about before they bought it, what changed their mind, what they found as a result of buying it, how their life has improved since buying it, and finally what they would say to someone on the fence.