No Ad-Libbing Allowed - Get the Info You Need for an Effective Testimonial

By Colleen Francis

I'm willing to bet that we've all done it. We have a customer who is a great fan, having had a great experience, and agrees to provide a testimonial. So we say, Great! Send it in!

And what we end up getting is vague or focuses on an aspect of our product or service that is not going to influence another prospect to buy:

  • I really liked Colleen's presentation - I laughed and had a great time…
  • The meeting facility was beautiful and the food was excellent…

Why does this happen? Because we're not providing our customers any help in giving us the type of information we need for effective testimonials. Instead, we need to explicitly state what type of feedback we need to help others make a decision.

And be very clear - we are not doing our customers any favours by not being specific. You may feel awkward asking for specific information but put yourself in their shoes: if you're a happy customer, you want to provide feedback that is useful and that can genuinely help - why else would you invest the effort? Imagine a customer's frustration, taking the time to provide feedback only to have it sit on a shelf and never see the light of day.

To get specific feedback you need to create an effective testimonial, think of the process as an interview. By asking specific questions, you can ensure you get the information you need to construct a testimonial that will be compelling: things like understanding the pain the customer was experiencing, why they chose you and the outcome they experienced.

Here is the list of questions we ask of our customers when seeking feedback:

  • Complete the following sentence: "When we called you, we were looking to...": 
  • Complete the following sentence: "We choose you because...": 
  • Complete the following sentence: "We were really pleased with the results, especially...": 
  • Complete the following sentence: "As a direct result of using working with you, we found that...": 
  • Complete the following sentence: " We recommend you to anyone who...":

Using these questions doesn't have feel like an interview. One strategy is to call a customer on the phone and simply have a conversation. Make sure you hit the points above and at the end, simply state that you would love to share their experience with others. Ask if you can write up the conversation and provide it to them for approval. You do all the hard work - they just have to say yes!

We also recommend these questions when setting up your web-based feedback form using Testimonial Director. It ensures you get the information you need to construct the quotes to use in your marketing material and on your web site.

And here is a special Bonus strategy: if a customer has had a great experience, add one more question:

  • Is there anyone else like you who would benefit from working with us?

When a customer is thinking about all the value they've gotten from your relationship, it is the perfect time to ask for a referral.

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Colleen Francis, Sales Expert, is Founder and President of Engage Selling Solutions ( Armed with skills developed from years of experience, Colleen helps clients realize immediate results, achieve lasting success and permanently raise their bottom line.

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