Stop talking and let those you serve speak on your behalf.
So, I have this problem where I like to talk a lot, especially about the work I do with speakers, authors, and other expert-based businesses.
I get very excited, the sweat starts going, the cursing gets ramped up and my hands start to flail around like they have a mind of their own.
I sometimes have to catch myself, but never do.
It’s because I love talking about visual storytelling and lifestyle portraiture – it’s in my blood and wholeheartedly believe every word I say.
Although I understand that sharing this level of passion for the services I provide my clients is important, I also understand that my words alone are not enough to pique people’s interest in hiring me for my specialized help.
They need to hear from people who’ve experienced the process.
They need to hear from people who were in their shoes and have come out on the other side much better off for the experience working with you.
For many years, I was under the impression that the work I created with clients speaks for itself.
Although a picture is worth a thousand words, it never opens its mouth to share them.
That’s why I provide space for my clients to do so…
…and so should you!
Whether in written, audio-only or in video format, sharing your client’s thoughts on how you helped them with some aspect of their business is an extremely effective way for you to gain the attention of those who need you most.
In addition to it representing social proof, these testimonials provide your audience an opportunity to put themselves in the shoes of the person whose life and business has improved as a direct result of your products, services, and specialized attention.
This helps create a direct connection between you and your audience, which goes a long way to developing a deeper connection and trust.
Once you gain their trust, that’s when these audience members become paid clients who buy your book, attend your workshops and sign up for your online training programs.
BEFORE YOU SOLICIT OLD CLIENTS FOR TESTIMONIALS…
Keep one important point in mind:
These testimonials are not for you.
They’re for those who read them so they can understand how you solve people’s points of friction in their businesses and lives.
Please don’t simply ask them to write a sentence or two about how amazing you are!
This isn’t enough.
What your audience wants to know is why the experience was amazing. And it’s your job to guide your clients when they’re crafting these testimonials to do just that.
GIVE THEM TESTIMONIAL QUESTIONS
When I first started sending out a list of questions to my clients, I felt very uncomfortable about it. I felt that it was a burden.
But then I started reading the testimonials I received and realized that this exactly what was needed in order to paint the full picture of the experience.
In addition, I received a few thank you’s from those who leveraged the questions to create the testimonial because it made their lives easier.
They didn’t need to guesstimate what I wanted them to talk about – they simply answered the questions, combined them into several paragraphs and posted it to my LinkedIn page.
FORMAT FOR CREATING TESTIMONIAL QUESTIONS
Everyone has their own way of communicating and sensibilities, so, rather than talk about how you word your questions, I feel it’s more valuable to talk about the types of questions that need to appear in your testimonial request.
Remember, it’s not a blurb of how amazing you are.
It’s a story that shares the value of how you positively affected someone’s life and business.
Here’s how you can set up that story.
TESTIMONIAL QUESTION 1 – WHERE WERE YOU IN YOUR BUSINESS THAT YOU NEEDED TO CONTACT ME?
This is an extremely important question for your clients to answer. This is the entry point for those reading to start relating themselves to this person.
This question fleshes out your testimonial clients initial points of friction that necessitated them booking a call with you. Either the reader has the exact same friction in their life, or they can relate to it.
And this is exactly what you want.
You want the reader to compare themselves to your testimonial client. While this question elicits an answer that’s all about their pain, there’s a happy ending to this story.
Allow readers to envision themselves experiencing that same happy ending.
TESTIMONIAL QUESTION 2 – DESCRIBE THE EXPERIENCE
Allow your testimonial client to share all of the juicy goodness that represents working with you.
Now this could actually be fleshed out through a series of questions that each focus on one particular aspect of your service, depending on how you structure your service offerings.
Make sure to allow your testimonial clients to highlight specific aspects of their experience through the questions you offer.
For example, don’t assume they will talk about how the on-boarding process set them up for success if you don’t specifically ask them to talk about it.
Remember, you have options if an answer isn’t forthcoming or shaped in the way that you want.
One, you can ask them to elaborate on what they’ve written or two, you can strike it from the testimonial altogether.
But don’t assume anything.
TESTIMONIAL QUESTION 3 – WHAT VALUE DID YOU RECEIVE FROM THE WORK WE DID TOGETHER?
Value has many meanings.
If you don’t offer questions that lead your testimonial clients down a path that describes the value you want prospects to know about, you’re running the risk of having them leave the good stuff out.
Questions that touch not only the quality of deliverables, but the empowerment that they feel now that they’re on the other side of working with you are also essential to offer.
Remember – people don’t make buying decisions based on what they think – they base it on how they feel. If you create testimonials that touch on both, then you’re creating powerful marketing assets that get attention.
So, that’s pretty much it.
All you need are three types of questions and that will tell an effective story on your behalf.
At the end of the day, these testimonials validate you in a way that you simply cannot do for yourself.
It takes a little extra work and prodding of your past clients.
But, when potential clients consume these testimonials, the juice is worth the squeeze.
And, oh by the way, they’ll put a smile on your face, too, 🙂
John DeMato is a NYC branded lifestyle portrait photographer and storytelling strategist who serves speakers, authors, coaches and high-level entrepreneurs across the country. His 50+ page e-book, S.H.A.R.E. M.A.G.I.C.A.L. I.D.E.A.S., lays out the how, what and why behind creating a memorable and referable online presence – sign up to get your FREE copy today.