10 questions you should be asking your clients when creating testimonials

So many businesses get testimonials terribly wrong. Yep I said it, terribly wrong. Most small business owners think that just having testimonials on your website is enough, when really they’ll likely not actually achieving anything for them.

Let’s explore this a moment. Many websites have a page dedicated to either testimonials or case studies, and that’s fine, except that the big mistake they’re making is that this testimonials page is really just a list of short, one or two sentence comments from a bunch of clients.

Now sure, having a list of 25 people singing your praises has some merit, but if you put yourself in a prospective clients shoes, someone who’s in the market for your services, do these comments actually help them build a picture of what you do, how you help and what you’re likely to achieve? Do these testimonials help them to buy?

What value does the following phrase give to a prospect? “I was really impressed with Sally and her team, they did a really great job and I will certainly be recommending them”. Now yes it’s very positive, however what does it tell me about the service being provided?

I believe that in order to create testimonials that will actually drive business results and growth, you need to focus on context. You need to tell a story that someone looking at your company can relate to, a story that they can see some of their own challenges within, and where they can hear about the solution you provided.

Many of your clients are likely fairly similar in some respects, perhaps they’re in the same industry, work within the same area, or are trying to attract the same types of people. If they have similarities then they likely have similar challenges.

So why do some many businesses end up with these rubbish testimonials? It’s because they are simply looking to collect testimonials, rather than create one. The biggest mistake you can make is leaving it to your client to write one for you.

I personally think that video testimonials are a lot more powerful than written ones because they’re usually more engaging to consume, and you can really get a sense of just how pleased the client is with the service they received. However when you’re filming a video testimonial or creating a written statement, they are a number of great questions you should be asking your clients that will provide you with actual context around how you helped them, that is of the utmost importance to any new prospects and leads considering your business.

Over the years we’ve developed and enhanced our list of testimonial questions and are really excited to share our top 10 questions that are guaranteed to get what you need.

1. Can you describe what challenges you were having?

This is key for setting the scene. Solutions and results are more impressive when they are related to a specific problem that they addressed and solved. It’s highly likely that other prospects have similar challenges to your existing clients, so by talking about specific challenges they will be able to see themselves in the story, which will make their decision a lot easier to make.

2. What were you looking for in a provider?

This gives prospects insight into what other businesses similar to themselves were looking for when they went looking for someone to help them with their challenges, and allows them to understand in more depth how you fit within those specialist needs.

3. What was it about us that made you feel comfortable choosing us?

This helps build credibility. It’s not just a matter of providing the right solution, it’s about finding the right fit. You may well be the best on paper, but there are so many reasons why a business will or won’t choose you as their partner. This will help put future prospects at ease.

4. Did you have any reservations about working with us? How did we overcome them?

Some will argue why on earth would you want to talk about reservations. The truth is that many prospects will have reservations or objections about you, your product or your pricing. And do you know what, that’s fine, they’re allowed to have those fears. This is all about being transparent, by being brave and comfortable being transparent about any flaws you may have, makes you more trustworthy and authentic, a value that will be important to any future prospect.

5. Can you describe the process of working with us?

This is an opportunity to go into detail about the way you work, your processes and the steps you take to help your clients solve their challenges. Alongside the more emotional and likeable aspects, tangible actions and processes are important to any prospect looking to understand what they can expect from you.

6. How would you describe what it was like working with us?

This is a follow on from question 5, they are arguably the same question however this is a good opportunity for prospects to learn more about what you’re like to work with as people. Prospects buy solutions, but the person providing the solution is equally important. They want to know that they are going to enjoy the process of working with you and feel like they are going to be looked after.


7. What impact have you seen as a result of working with us?

This is the icing on the cake. By this point we’ve set the scene and highlighted what key challenges other similar businesses were having and how we went about solving them. We’ve gone into detail about our solution and the process of working with us and what we’re like as people. Now we just need to sign off by showing how everything comes together and briefly highlight the impact we’ve had on that client’s business. We have to show that everything we’ve said up to this point isn’t just waffle.

8. What’s next for your company? What plans do you have?

When someone has a success and something works, they will naturally look to the future, they’ll see a bright light, an endless sea of possibilities. Succeeding with you will get them thinking about future plans for their business and how you fit into them. This is an encouraging and inspiring thought for any prospect who is also looking for ways to succeed.

9. If you could describe us in three words or phrases, what would they be?

I love this question. It doesn’t always work in a video or a written testimonial, but it is useful and insightful feedback to receive from a client. It can help highlight any areas where you might need to improve, and equally highlight key things that you excel in. If you are making a video testimonial then these are nice buzzwords to include at the end.

10. Is there anything else we haven’t talked about?

It’s always good to ask your clients if there is anything else they’d like to say. We’re all humans, and people naturally go off on tangents or say things that we didn’t anticipate, so it’s always a good idea to let them explore other ideas.

HERE’S A BONUS ONE FOR YOU...

11. Make sure you listen

As I mentioned above, people naturally say things we hadn’t thought about. So make sure you listen out for prompts in their answers that could lead you down other lines of questions. They will likely dig up some really interesting comments and conversations that will add another level to the testimonial they you may have never realised.


James Quayle