It is standard business practice to ask for feedback on service or products and we’ll look at practical ways of doing this in the next blog. But what if you find that icky, or uncomfortable or feel like you are just fishing for compliments?
Well let’s think about what we are asking them to do. If they have benefited from working with you and are feeling grateful and appreciative, then they will probably be happy to be given a structure and a platform for sharing that.
If you don’t feel they have benefited from working with you, or it hasn’t gone as well as you’d hoped it is still worth asking as you will learn from their answer (a) what went wrong so you can do differently next time – no such thing as failure, only learning (b) you might be pleasantly surprised that it was not as bad as you thought.
So ask with an open mind and an open heart to hear what it is they have to say about working with you. Here are some ways you might find easier than what you’ve tried before.
Give to receive
If you are feeling uncomfortable asking for testimonials, how do you feel about giving testimonials? You may be a lot more comfortable with that, in which case start with that. Offer or post a testimonial of a client unsolicited. See how that feels. If it feels good, that’s the feeling you could give someone else by asking them to recommend you.
(Doing it the other way round, i.e. offering to give a testimonial only if they give you one first will feel uncomfortable because it is not ethical, it is not giving and it is putting conditions on an otherwise generous act and that will create a weird tension.)
Turn it into a compliment
Getting the context right for asking for testimonials is also important. If it is true, saying things like “I feel like I have had some of my best results working with you, and I’d be really grateful if you could share our experience of working together on LinkedIn. How do you feel about that?”
Or “Your opinion means a lot to me – would you be open to describing what we have done together in a testimonial I could use on my website?”
Offer to include a link to their website next to their name as that helps with the ranking of both of your websites, so there is a benefit for them too.
I have a lot of clients who say they have asked clients for testimonials or sent lots of requests via Linkedin or email and they don’t hear back from the client or it takes them weeks or months to get back to them.
Don’t take it personally. There could be lots of reasons – business, not a priority for them, fear that it will take too long, fer that they will write the wrong thing, not knowing what to write etc etc
Make it easy for them:
- Ask them on the phone or face to face what benefits they have got from working with you.
- Take notes on their reply.
- Send the written version of what they have said to you back to them and say “This is what you told me on the phone today. Would you be happy for me to put this on my website attributed to you or is there anything you would like to change?”
It’s a lot easier and quicker for them to say “yes” than sit in front of a blank piece of paper wondering what to write. This method has helped me build up over 70 testimonials on LinkedIN.
It is standard practice to want feedback on how well you are doing so asking clients about that only really becomes awkward if you make it so. Make it standard practice that at certain stages of your working with people – after the first meeting, after the last meeting or after their first purchase – you have a set of questions you ask your clients all in the name of improving the service to them.
Another great way to collect testimonials is to periodically get in touch with past clients just to see how they are doing, see whether the work you did with them has had a lasting effect, has had repercussions on other things they have done since. It will be natural then to ask if you can share their story as it may help others.
Let me know how you get on and share your stories in Nicci’s Trusted Sales Club