A good testimonial is very powerful, but so many so-called testimonials are more like therapy than feedback! You know the kind of thing – ‘It was lovely working with you, you were so helpful and we really enjoyed the experience.’ This kind of feedback is great to have personally, but it doesn’t help you to promote what you do.

The biggest challenge for most business owners is that, whilst people are usually happy to agree to write a testimonial, they don’t really know what to write. They want to tell you that it was a good experience for them, but forget to add that golden nugget that really makes others sit up and take notice – the results they got.

Some people will say ‘Yes, of course, you write something and I’ll sign it’. This is a really last resort for two reasons. Firstly, all your testimonials will end up with a similar style – yours! Secondly, most of us suffer from an overdose of modesty and write a less enthusiastic testimonial than our happy client would probably do left to themselves.

So what are we trying to achieve? A good testimonial identifies the product or service that was received and the outcomes that were delivered as result.

The challenges include people who haven’t measured the outcomes or use words like ‘better’, ‘more’, ‘increased’, or ‘improved’. When I’m in a grumpy mood I might ask ‘Better than what?’ If you don’t have a starting point then it’s difficult to track progress.

My favourite testimonials are the one that says ‘… the length of time people stay on the site has gone up (50% for one site, 130% for another)’; and the one that says ‘The new flyer pulled four times as many responses’, and ‘Our leads usually drop by about 50% at this time of year, but as a result of your letter they haven’t dropped at all’.

What you’re looking for is that gold nugget that will have other people saying ‘I want that!’

If your client doesn’t want to write it him or herself – ask them the question ‘What were the results you got from the service/product we provided?’ and write down the answer for them to approve.
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