December 7, 2018

Getting testimonials from current clients

Testimonials are an important part of your marketing and can be instrumental in helping you increase your fees, but lots of folks aren’t in the habit of asking for them.

When someone joins my coaching program, one of the things we usually do early in the engagement is to reach out to past clients and ask for testimonials.

But what if you’re new to client services and don’t have many (or any!) past clients... can you ask your current clients for testimonials?

It usually feels awkward to ask for a testimonial before you’re done with a project, especially if the desired outcome hasn’t been reached yet. That said, there are sometimes opportunities to ask for a testimonial while an engagement is ongoing.

Here are two:

1) Ideally, any longish project you’re working on will have clear progress metrics because without metrics, there’s no way to tell if you’re getting closer to your project goal.

Assuming you do have metrics in place and they are clearly improving, you could take your client contact aside at some point (e.g., after a status meeting where key client stakeholders expressed delight with the progress) and say/email something like:

“Hey Bob, I know we’ve still got a way to go, but it seems clear that management is delighted with the progress. I’m updating my website and wonder... would you be comfortable providing some feedback on your experience so far in the form of a testimonial?”

2) Let’s say you don’t have progress metrics, so there’s nothing obvious to point to as an indicator of the eventual/inevitable success of the project. In this case, I would keep my ears open for any unsolicited praise and then jump on the opportunity to ask to share their kind words.

This needs to be done tactfully and probably only makes sense in situations where you have a pretty strong relationship with the client contact.

For example:

Let’s say your client contact Bob send you an email asking for a progress update. You email it to him and he replies with something like:

“Thanks! BTW - I am SO glad we have you working with us on this.”

You might reply with something like:

“Thanks for saying so! That’s super nice to hear. Is there anything specific that makes you feel that way? I’d love to know what I’m doing right so I can do more of it ;-)”

Assuming Bob replies with details, you could then say something like:

“WOW! Thanks so much for the kind words! That’s super valuable. If fact... is there any chance that I could post that on my website? It’s totally cool if you’d rather I didn’t, but... a testimonial from you would be worth its weight in gold. Either way, I really appreciate you taking the time to share your feedback.”

Of course, you’d want to modify the tone of your communications to suit your personality and match the nature of the business relationship (e.g., more casual vs more professional).

In any case, tactfully taking the opportunity to ask a current client a testimonial is a good habit to get into. Even if they say no, it can set you up for an ask once the project is completed, for example:

“Hey Bob! Remember back in May when you said you wanted to wait until the project was finished to provide a testimonial? Now that we’ve declared victory, I’d love to send over a few questions to get your feedback and potentially post on my site. Would that be okay?”

What do you think... can you do it?