Client relationships

About to ask your client for a testimonial? Read this first…

Photo of wall with "we like you too :)" - Client testimonials - Alison Hadley Marketing & PR

It can be tricky to get a client testimonial – not because your client doesn’t want to help but people are busy and presenting a blank piece of paper is never an easy starting point.

So how can you make it easy for a client to give you a glowing reference?

And one that banishes the bland so that your client’s quote not only stands out but sounds believable?

How can you adapt the way you ask your client for a testimonial in line with your client’s working style or preference to stand the best chance of getting the feedback in the first place?

Read on…


For clients who prefer to send something in writing, especially if they’re short on time or aren’t detail oriented

In the book “Confessions of a Misfit Entrepreneur: How to succeed in business despite yourself”, author Kate Toon shares how she gives a bit of structure for clients when requesting testimonials via a little template that is quick to fill in. Here it is:

“Kate is an <TBC> copywriter. We chose her because <REASON>. We found the best thing about working with Kate was <SOMETHING>.”

To go one step further, I recommend adding in a couple of extra points to better establish the before and after scenario of working with your client. This will help to give context and show the unique value that your services bring. The testimonial might include the client’s business challenge or pain point before working with you. It should also include how they felt after working with you and/or include results (hard stats are always best) of something you helped the client with. Something like this:

“Ali is a <TBC> freelancer. I chose to work with her because <REASON>. Before working with Ali, the business was facing <CHALLENGE> and I was <FEELING>. She helped with <SOMETHING> which has resulted in <THING> and/or <FEELING>. The best thing about working with Ali is <SOMETHING>.”


For clients who like giving detailed responses in writing

Alternatively, you may like to turn the above template in to a short set of questions, as follows:

  1. What was the obstacle that would have prevented you from working with me?
  2. What challenges/issues was your business facing at the time? (Even if you know this, it would be helpful to hear it in the client’s own words in case you can glean any additional insights.)
  3. Why did you choose to work with me?
  4. How did I help?
  5. What results were achieved? (Try to get actual facts and figures here such as the amount of money and time saved.)
  6. What did you most like about working with me?
  7. In which areas can I improve my service?
  8. What’s happening next for you? (For example, have they got additional customers or launched a new service as a result of the success of the help you provided. Perhaps you might also find out about an additional project that you might be able to assist with…)

You can then offer to draft a testimonial using the client’s feedback, which you’ll run past them for the green light before publishing on your website, your LinkedIn profile and perhaps additional marketing materials.

Don’t forget: Request headshot photos from clients to accompany their quotes. Photos don’t have to be on every testimonial but help to build on the social proof and bring the words to life.


For clients who prefer the spoken word

Next time you’re on a phone call with a client, ask them if they have an additional 5 minutes to ask them for some feedback. You might like to use the questions above as a basis for your script.

Alternatively, if you are running an event and your client is coming along, Miranda Birch Media recommends that you invite your client to share their views on you and their sector as part of a relaxed interview, “tapping into their expertise” and “when they’re already thinking positively about your organisation”. Similarly, this approach could work if you’re attending a business meeting or conference with your client.

Record your client’s if possible so that you can write up the testimonial in your client’s own words. It will sound conversational and the grammar may not be spot on (which you can correct to an extent) but it will certainly sound more natural, authentic and therefore believable.

Nice extra: Any additional insights given around your client’s business challenges and pain points, as well as industry insights are likely to provide valuable nuggets for your own marketing materials and content efforts.