How to ask clients for testimonials
Just ask, right?
We all know how powerful a good client testimonial can be. This form of social proof is a great way to demonstrate that others know, like and trust you as an adviser.
But asking for client testimonials is often a stumbling block for Financial Planners.
Whether it’s because we’re embarrassed to ask or fear rejection, we don’t always like asking our happy clients to share their positive reviews.
And when we do ask, what form should client testimonials take to have the most significant impact?
Coming up in this video, how to ask clients for testimonials and what to do with them when they arrive.
In this video, a few thoughts about winning client testimonials – what works, what doesn’t, and how to use them when they come through.
But first, why ask for testimonials?
Regular viewers will know I’m fascinated by the psychology of persuasion, especially the work of Robert Cialdini and his 1984 book Influence. One of the areas covered in Influence is social proof, also known as informational social influence. It’s a psychological and social act where we like to copy the actions of others in an attempt to undertake behaviour in a given situation.
Social proof is especially crucial in ambiguous social situations. These are the times when we’re not sure about the appropriate action, so we look to others for guidance.
We assume that other people possess more information about the situation, so we look at their actions for guidance. You might have seen this described as herd behaviour, where we’re more likely to take the steps already taken by a large number of people.
Testimonials then are an element of social proof because they demonstrate others have already taken a particular course of action (working with you) and they were pleased with the outcome. Because working with a financial adviser or financial planner can seem like a scary step into the unknown, hearing from those who have already made this leap of faith, and survived, is very useful indeed.
Winning testimonials from clients comes down to this – just ask. If you don’t ask your clients to share their raving reviews of your service, you’re very unlikely to get them through. Sure, a handful of clients will furnish you with a testimonial without you asking first, but these rare individuals are few and far between.
Ways to ask
In nearly 20 years of doing this, my best reviews for obtaining testimonials have come from two methods.
The first is emailing to ask. Keep it simple, be humble, and get quickly to the point. Assuming you send these emails to happy, satisfied clients, it’s rare to be knocked back.
When emailing to ask for a testimonial, you can take one of three approaches.
You can ask the client to write something themselves. Suggest they keep it simple, a line or two; you’re not looking for War & Peace here, 50-100 words maximum.
Alternatively, you can write something for them. What you’re doing here is making it incredibly easy for the client to say yes, that’s exactly what I wanted to say about you! So draft the words on their behalf and seek their permission to put their name to the testimonial. Reserve this approach for your friendliest clients, those who are most likely to go with it.
Or another approach you can take is to listen out for something nice they say in a meeting or during a phone call and then repeat the words back to them, asking if it’s ok to write them up in a formal testimonial.
So you could email to ask for a client testimonial, and there are several ways of structuring that email to get results.
The second effective way to garner a client testimonial is to do it face-to-face. If you incorporate the asking during a review meeting or a social event, they tend to say yes and give you something on the spot.
There are a couple of tools you can use to capture client testimonials ‘live’, and both of them reside on your smartphone.
The first is a voice memo app; record the client talking, and then write up the testimonial for their sign-off when you get back to the office. Talking into a phone, like a microphone, isn’t too scary and won’t put off most clients.
If you want to take this testimonial capturing up a notch, to create something even more powerful you can use on your website and online, then use the video camera on your smartphone.
To make this less intimidating for the client, ask them to hold the phone and film themselves ‘selfie-style’. It’s far less scary to speak into the camera like this, rather than you pointing the camera at them.
Again, keep it simple, ask them to chat into the camera about their experience working with you and the problem you’ve solved for them. Film in a quiet room and have the client-facing a window with natural light if possible. And that’s it; you’ve got a video testimonial.
Once you’ve got some written, audio or video testimonials, what on earth can you do with them?
Clearly, you need to get them on your website. Testimonials should feature prominently on your homepage, but also on sidebars throughout your site, and on a dedicated client testimonial page.
For written testimonials, make sure you include a first and last name, and a photo of a client, if possible. Testimonials without a picture and with only the first name and maybe the letter of their surname, Martin B from Surrey said… , carry little weight, because let’s be honest, we immediately think they’ve been made up!
You can also share testimonials, especially video testimonials, across your social media channels. Don’t be afraid to repeat them occasionally, rather than posting once and then never sharing them again.