Back Office Secrets
with Jenny Shih

Back Office Secrets: Creating a Testimonial Page That Sells Your Business for You

No matter how great your work is or how much your clients rave about you, there’s one “gotta do” for your business that might still make you squirm: requesting testimonials.

Pulling together rave reviews for your website can be a challenge. Even if your clients are eager to help, writing just isn’t everyone’s strength. So when you get past the initial “ask,” there’s still a chance you may not get the well-crafted, colorful endorsement you were hoping for.

To save myself from the stress of getting the perfect testimonials, I implemented a painless system that helps me gather amazing testimonials from my clients without any squirminess on my part or theirs. Best of all, once they’re on my website, the testimonials practically sell my services for me.

The simple system for collecting rave reviews

Next time you want your client’s praise for your wall of fame, use this handy system to help you get glowing recommendations for your website.

Step 1: Ask!

During your final session together, ask your client if they’re open to giving you some feedback on your work together. You are not asking for a testimonial–that word can freak people out. You’re asking for feedback.

Let your client know that you’ll send them an email with a few questions for them to answer. Most people will agree without hesitation.

Step 2: Ask “The 8 Essential Questions.”

Keep the feedback-collection simple and painless for your client. Avoid fancy forms and simply email them. (Forms are great for large classes and programs, but for private clients, email is best.)

question

image courtesy of tj scenes on flickr

In the email, include “The 8 Essential Questions.” These questions are the keys to getting true feedback from your clients. They are not just about getting positive, testimonial words from them; they are about getting to the truth of what went well and what could have gone better during your engagement.

After querying hundreds of individuals, I’ve fine-tuned my questions to capture exactly the input I need from my clients and customers. Feel free to use these exact questions. You may also want to change some, delete some, or add your own.

1. What hesitations did you have about working with me?
2. What results have you achieved since we started working together?
3. What did you like best about working with me?
4. How else have you benefited from our work together?
5. Would you recommend me and my services? If so, why and to whom?
6. Is there anything you would have liked to see done differently? If so, what?
7. What’s the most important thing people should know about working with me?
8. If there anything else you’d like to add?

Once your client replies, read and consider all of it. Pay attention to both the positive and negative responses they offer you. You can learn a lot about what you do really well and also how to better serve future clients.

One time a client mentioned how much she loved one small thing I did during our coaching relationship. I hadn’t realized what a positive impact it had on her, and I wouldn’t have known it had I not asked the above questions. Because of her feedback, I now incorporate that detail into all of my client relationships, and it makes a bigger difference than I would have ever guessed.

You never know what gems your clients will easily hand you that you wouldn’t otherwise get if you just asked for a testimonial.

Step 3: Craft a testimonial based on your client’s input.

Piece together a testimonial from your client’s feedback. Paint an accurate picture of that client’s experience with you while being sure to keep the words true to what your client wrote.

Step 4: Send the testimonial to your client for approval.

Once you’ve compiled the testimonial, send it to your client for approval. Let them know that they are welcome to edit what you wrote.

Ask permission to use the testimonial on your website, along with their full name, title, location, and website. Also, ask for their picture; adding your client’s photo next to their words on your website makes the testimonial even more impactful.

Step 5: Post it on your website.

This is pretty straightforward. Once you have your client’s approval, put their glowing words on your website. Let your client’s words speak for how great you are at what you do.

Step 6: Ask your client to add their endorsement to LinkedIn.

Once your client has given you approval to use their testimonial on your site, head over to LinkedIn and send your client a request for a recommendation. Tell your client they can simply copy-and-paste the testimonial you’ve already compiled right into LinkedIn. It will take them less than 1 minute to complete.

Why systematize this?

As business owners, we have lots to do every day. For every task you do on a regular or semi-regular basis, you’ll save yourself tons of time to streamlining and systemizing.

Streamlining your system for collecting testimonials is smart for several reasons: it helps you put a clear end to the engagement with your client, collect essential feedback, and put some well-earned praise on your website.

Finally, putting testimonial-generation into a system saves you time. And who couldn’t use a little praise and a little more time?

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About Jenny Shih

Jenny Shih of jennyshih.com is a coach and consultant for small business owners. Her clients are “idea factories” with growing businesses who need help planning, strategizing, streamlining and systematizing. She helps new entrepreneurs define their niche, learn the basics of marketing, and start making money. And she helps experienced entrepreneurs set up systems so they can get out of the daily grind and spend more time doing what they love.

Jenny is the author of The System Flight Kit, everything you need to create effective systems in your business, and The Idea Flight Kit, a step-by-step guide for turning your ideas into something real. Download your copies right here. They’re FREE!

Comments

  1. Great tips, Jenny! I use similar questions and send them through a Wufoo form. Clients can select of they trust me to doctor the copy, if they want to approve it first, or if they’d like their comments to remain confidential. Cuts down on the back and forth!

    • Jenny Shih says:

      Always love techy tips, Laura! Thanks for sharing that one. I love Wufoo forms, too.

      For me, I love the email exchange and it feels less formal (which scares some people), but there definitely is a huge upside to using a techy system like Wufoo or even Google forms–it certainly saves time and simplifies things!

    • Well said, you “stole” my comment! You can cut down on the “scaryness” of the formal form by making sure the form lives on your site, on your pages…embedding it or using Gravity Forms on your website … this is a super smart process to setup so it’s just always “there” no generating of thought required. You can even put an upload button for their picture so there’s less technical hurdle for the user. I think I’ll go run and do this now so I have a page on my site I can send people to.

      Another tactic I’ve found that works because of how authentic it looks…is screenshots of your e-mail program. If you provide quality service, people are adding how thankful they are, how you helped them, and other testimonial-ish stuff, grab a quick screenshot right out of Outlook, Apple Mail, Gmail … and use that in your display…it’s a simple image upload, and looks familiar to people checking out your review content!

  2. Great advice on testimonials. And, awesome questions. Thanks Jenny.

  3. This is excellent stuff. I will be using it!

  4. @Jenny interesting article and I am wondering how can I take your idea and systematize it so that my clients instead of text send me videos answering the questions you shared in this blog post?

    • Jenny Shih says:

      Can you describe a little bit more about how you collect testimonials with text and videos? I’d be happy to help see how you can systematize it.

      • @Jenny thanks for your response. Right now I only collect video testimonials and it is a manual process wherein I send emails to my clients and sett up appointments to interview them for about 15mins via Skype so that they can answer the questions hence the video testimonial.

        I am just trying to figure out how to automate it so that they can take the list of questions and create the videos on their own.

      • Jenny Shih says:

        Gotcha, Owen. The benefit to you doing the interview with your clients is that you can help shape the conversation to highlight what’s really great about working with you. If you have your clients do it on their own, then you may not know what you’re going to get. Sort of like in the written testimonials how I suggest that you shape the testimonial from their words–you get to make it pack the punch you know it can. I’m not sure you want to automate that fully, unless you think your clients could really nail in on their own. What do you think?

  5. Thank you for the advice. I will try to ask the same questions from my clients. This blog even helped me to get familiar with your own website: jennyshih.com
    The reason I have found this post was ppl having shared it more than your other posts.
    This post comes from your system creation that you have introduced in your website. (I think so), so ppl like to follow systematic steps.

    • Jenny Shih says:

      I’m so glad you found this post and my website, Nader. Good luck using them with your clients to get some great testimonials!

  6. I love your systems approach. You must save tons
    of hours of quality time…life. awesome! Pura vida, Luz

    • Jenny Shih says:

      Haha! Systems does help save a lot of time so I can have more fun… and do things to grow my business :-)

  7. @Jenny for some reason I cannot reply to my previous thread.

    To continue our discussion, I actually love interviewing my clients to
    collect the testimonial from them. I think I am trying to figure out
    how to automate the process even better.

    For instance two weeks after they become paying clients is when I send
    them the email requesting a testimonial from them.

    I am wondering if I can get more automation out of this process of collecting
    the video testimonials so that all I do is just show up when they are ready
    to give the testimonial via the interview.

    • Jenny Shih says:

      Excellent! I think that since you enjoy the process that you should definitely stay a part of it.

      Two ideas come to mind for systemizing.
      1. Use an online scheduler (if you don’t already) so that they can schedule the appointments with you easily.
      2. Have a “video interview cheat sheet” or something that helps them prepare, know how it will go, get set up, etc. That way you can hop on and dive right into the interview.

      Would those work for you?

      • I currently using VCita for my online appointment scheduling and I do send my clients a list of questions in advance to prepare them for the interview. I guess by automation I might just have to use either OfficeAutoPilot or InfusionSoft to send triggered emails to them so that based on their response, action or inaction when I send them the request for the testimonial it send them the appropriate message.

        Thanks

  8. Testimonial should also comes from loyal customer. Visitors knows the real testimony
    to prove the product. That is an awesome post. You have really layed out your points in great detail.