How to Gather Fabulous Testimonials About Your Work Without Feeling Uncomfortable
Doesn't it feel great to receive commendation for the work you do? There's nothing better than knowing you've truly made a difference in someone's life or business and have helped them reach a new level of success.
Even better than your personal feelings is the fact that receiving positive feedback from your clients creates social proof for prospective clients. This is one of the reasons websites like YELP are so popular. Like it or not, the folks who are considering hiring you are going to details about what it's like to work with you.
Most professionals I know don't feel comfortable flat out asking for feedback and a testimonial. Perhaps that is true of you. If so, you'll be happy to know you can easily circumvent any uncomfortable feelings by having a system in place to regularly collect testimonials from your clients.
Here's how you do it:
1. Do GREAT work - This may seem completely obvious, but it's definitely worth mentioning. To get happy, satisfied clients, you have to do what you promised, when you promised, to the best of your ability. Don't make excuses. Meet your deadlines and look for ways to add value. This will create a fabulous experience for your clients and build your confidence in your ability to deliver great service.
2. Determine when it's best to solicit feedback - When you ask your clients for their feedback often depends on what type of service you have and how you deliver your offerings. Perhaps it's best to ask after a particular milestone has been reached. Maybe it's mid-way through the engagement. Or you might get the most comprehensive response at the end of your project. Consider the results your clients are looking for when they first begin working with you. As soon as they start achieving their goals, you want to ask for their feedback.
3. Build the request into your process - This is how you circumvent any uneasy feelings about asking for feedback. Keep in mind, the only way you can improve your business is to truly listen to what people like and don't like about their interaction with you. So make asking for their feedback a part of your work together. You can easily solicit a testimonial (and/or constructive feedback) by asking, "How is this working for you?" "Is this what you expected?" Once you ask the question, LISTEN! Don't get defensive or nervous. Just listen. Try not to take any constructive criticism personally. Appreciate that the person was honest enough to tell you their true feelings. Celebrate what they enjoy and adjust what they don't.
4. Take it one step further - Once your client gives you their initial feedback, say thank you! Assuming their feedback is mostly positive, ask if you can take 5 minutes to ask them a few additional questions. You can either conduct this interview yourself or have someone on your team do it for you. (I've often found that clients feel more comfortable talking about me to someone else.) You want to ask them just three simple questions: 1) What prompted you to reach out for help in the first place? 2) How would you describe the experience in working with me? 3) What specific benefits and results have you enjoyed as a result of our work together? Ideally you want to record this interview so you can use their EXACT language.
5. Get their approval to use their comments - Thank them again for their feedback and ask if it's OK for you to use their comments in your marketing materials. 99.9% of the time they will say yes. As appropriate, ask for their permission to use their name and a photo of them along with their comments. Then compile your notes and voila! You have a fabulous new success story to showcase in all of your marketing materials.
The key to being successful with this is to do it consistently. Occasionally you may get a client who wasn't blown away by working with you. That happens to everyone, so don't take it personally. Use that experience as an opportunity to grow and improve your offerings. At the same time, take EVERY opportunity to solicit feedback from your clients and leverage that positive feedbac