Women, Spirit & Money: Terrific Testimonials - Let Your Clients Celebrate Their Successes to Communicate Your Business Value


By Sherri L. McLendon


Yesterday, my friend Chris Simmons, who owns and operates a professional press release service, asked me for a testimonial. Of course, I said “yes.” Chris does great work. He makes certain my work – and my clients’ news – gets noticed. That makes me happy, and I don’t mind saying so.


Sherri L. McLendon

Sherri L. McLendon

Terrific testimonials add ease and grace to the sales process in just about any type of business. But the best testimonials aren’t about bragging rights. They’re in the words of the clients themselves, as they share their successes, celebrate accordingly, and sing your praises.


This positive feedback will help potential clients feel comfortable about their decision to work with you. Just as beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, so are testimonials in the words of those who have experienced results with your help. If you think your landing pages are lacking, or your sales efforts aren’t getting the job done, then testimonials may create the positive flow you seek.


Step 1: Ask good questions


At completion of work together, or the end of a phase (about three-four months) is a good time to send a brief set of questions to a client to ask for feedback. Use a cover letter to ask for their assistance, and list the questions below. That way, a simple “respond” to the email will return their feedback to you.


Though each person tailors the questions to his or her business, these usually include a before, during, and after scenario. The “before” explores the biggest problem the client experienced before working with you. The “during” is their account of what you did to change their experience and create a solution. The “after” explores benefits they’ve realized from working with you. Whenever possible, ask the clients to use numbers or give specific examples.


Step 2: Polish the Answers


Re-writing the answers in polished, edited form keeps the tone and excitement of the original, but allows the business owner to carve away the excess to let the true value and worth shine through. For best results, winnow the content to the best benefits and strongest statements.


The size of the answer may be dictated by the format in which you’ll use the testimonial. Long form sales letters, for instance, often carry paragraph-long accounts, while landing pages may use shorter, one sentence outtakes to highlight a particular point.


Step 3: Get Permission


Send a copy of the testimonial to the client, and ask for their permission to use it in the revised form along with their photo. Tell them you’ll add their photo, along with a back-link to their business website. They will love the extra exposure, and it’s a nice way to reciprocate the goodwill involved.


Step 4: Lay it Out


Use a basic desktop publishing program to frame and display testimonials attractively, and save the result as a jpg. Use bolding to highlight key points in the text. If you’re not a designer, you can simply use Microsoft Publisher.


Step 5: Share the Testimonial


Everyone loves a good success story. Share yours in your newsletter, on your website, on a sales or landing page, on your business Face Book page, or on Twitter. You can also add testimonials or pertinent excerpts to high-end program welcome letters. Basically, use testimonial almost any place you’d encounter a potential client. Simply remember to link the jpg of their testimonial to their website home page.


Step 6: Create a System


Your client care system isn’t complete without regularly asking for feedback in the form of testimonials. When you’re happy with your questions, create a standard letter and questions to send automatically at specific times. Fresh testimonials mean content feels current and dynamic to your ideal clients. Plus, fresh testimonials often translate to new leads.


Remember, documenting results reminds clients of the value and worth of the work they’ve done with you, and showcases their progress as well as your expertise. Unlike testimonials you write about the rave results you got for your clients, terrific testimonials in the client’s own words generate a higher degree of trust and relationship building all the way around.


And building trust through relationships is absolutely good for your business.



Sherri L. McLendon owns and operates Professional Moneta International, specializing in marketing public relations and content strategy through coaching and consulting for enlightened entrepreneurs and executives.


Saralyn Collins, along wtih WNC Woman, offer our Lunch & Learn Networking events again on March 20th. You'll have plenty of time to network with other local businesses, enjoy a meal together and get some great advice and information from Saralyn to help you Jump Start Your Biz Brain in 2014.
LOCATION: Four Points Sheraton Hotel (exit 240 and Merrimon) 22 Woodfin St (easy parking and access). Click here for details!

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