As a consultant — whether you’re solo or an agency owner — so much of your business feels very personal. It just feels awkward to ask for a testimonial. It might feel like you’re asking too much when we are essentially asking “please take some time to say nice things about me.”
So, other than providing a structure for your clients through asking targeted questions, how can you make it easier to ask your client for a testimonial?
Make it part of your process
Having a systematic approach to asking for a testimonial means you have a trigger for when to ask for a testimonial (at the end of the engagement is typical, but you can also trigger the ask after a big win). Having the testimonial ask baked into your process removes the need to make a decision ad-hoc, which takes off some of the emotional/mental burden for you. The fewer decisions you need to make, the better.
Frame it as a request for feedback, not just kind words
Another tactic that helps make the ask less awkward is to frame it as a customer service opportunity. Ask the client for their feedback on what went well, what could have been improved, and their thoughts on the results achieved. Mention in the ask or after receiving their feedback that with their permission, you’d like to use their thoughts to create a testimonial. It shows you value their opinion and that you’re committed to offering top-notch service.
Set the expectation early in the engagement
This isn’t a must, but it certainly makes the ask easier when it comes time if you’ve already set the expectation with the client earlier in the engagement that the ask will come. You could put wording in your contract or welcome packet that each engagement will end with a feedback call or survey and if they are willing, that you would turn that feedback into a testimonial.
Document feedback you get throughout the engagement
There’s lots of opportunity to gather your clients thoughts and feedback throughout an engagement – from the qualification/onboarding process thorugh to your offboarding process (e.g. wrap-up call). If you’re diligent about asking some of the questions for getting a great testimonial and documenting feedback you receive throughout the engagement, you can likely put together a pretty solid testimonial from that material. Then you can simply send the testimonial to your client for their approval with a note saying you’ve put it together based on their comments and offer the opportunity for any changes they’d like to make.
If you’d prefer to just have someone else handle getting your testimonials or case studies for you, I have a done-for-you service available to help you get great social proof without the awkwardness.