How to get a good testimonial – 10 Quick Tips

Testimonials about you/your business come in all shapes and sizes.

How to get a good testimonial - 10 Quick TipsThey may spring out of nowhere as a delightful surprise in a social media comment or email. Or, you may decide to seek testimonials pro-actively from people you know are happy customers. Either way, there are right ways and very wrong ways to get them…

My 10 Quick Tips to help you get good, legitimate testimonials

1. Never script or write a testimonial for someone, even if they tell you it’s OK to “make something up.” If they don’t want to write it or verbally phrase it themselves, probe them a little to find out why they think your product or service is good and why they are happy with its performance. Made-up testimonials look and sound like exactly that, and they don’t fool anyone.

2. If someone does give you a testimonial without being asked, don’t just lift that and use it – without permission, it is not yours to use even though it’s about you. Be sure to contact the person, thank them for their kind words, and ask if you may replicate what they’ve said on your website, LinkedIn page, or whatever and preferably get that permission in an email so you have a record of it.

3. If you are asked to have a chat with the person concerned, either over the phone, Skype/Hangout etc. or in the flesh, ask if they mind you recording what they say so you can be sure to capture their exact words, and assure them that you will show them the excerpt you want to use for the testimonial before you publish it so they have the opportunity to make any changes they want.

4. When you’ve recorded their words, transcribe the sections you like. A little tidying is OK, but you do not have the right to make any significant changes. If you like sentence # 1 and sentence # 3 but not sentence # 2, it’s acceptable to edit sentence # 2 out and replace it with three leader dots in the final quote.

5. Often it’s easier and more convenient for everyone if you use email for your interview, sending no more than six questions to the person concerned and asking them to write in their answers below each one in their reply. This works surprisingly well, especially because a) the person can reply to you when they have the time and inclination, and b) because they can think for longer about what they say and edit their testimonial as they go along.

6. If you’re working regularly with the person, especially on a face-to-face basis, you are the wrong person to conduct the interview for the testimonial. That’s because they may feel a little intimidated if you are the person s/he has actually acquired the product or service from. You need to use a neutral third party who will not intimidate the interviewee in the same way, and can probably get away with asking more pointed questions than you can.

7. Use proper journalistic techniques to ask your questions, whether live or in an email. In this tutorial here I go into a lot of detail on how to get the best results, so please help yourself. It’s a tried and tested method.

8. As I’m sure you can imagine, the wrong type of question to ask here is “why do you think I’m so good?” …! That will impress no-one, particularly the testimonial giver and anyone who reads the answer to that, if you were to get one. What you need to do is focus on how you and/or your business solved their problems, saved them money, increased their sales, etc. As always in business, it’s really not about you; it’s about the customer.

9. Ask if and if so how the testimonial giver wants to be acknowledged. Some will want to retain their anonymity but if you are to be believed, you must ask them to agree to substantiate their quote privately if someone were to challenge it. Very few people will refuse to do that. Others will want some sort of credit; for example, their website’s URL.

10. Keep testimonials short. Even if a customer of yours does wax lyrical about you for 500 words, remember that new customers and prospects probably don’t have time to read them all. If necessary prune those words hard – down to just a few sentences.

That’s just a list of 10 ideas to be thinking about What are the main issues you  find useful when you’re seeking testimonials from your customers or clients? Please share them with us here.

 

Image thanks to https://imgflip.com/i/jh6wy

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