Hands down, one of the most compelling forms of marketing you can use in your business is a testimonial. However, if you’ve never asked for or written a testimonial, you’re likely unsure where to start or are struggling to figure out the essential questions to ask for a testimonial.
The uncertainty can often lead to avoiding asking for testimonials — which isn’t a trap you want to fall into. Your testimonials show potential customers exactly what your business can do for them and the results they could get from your product or service.
While there are many different ways you can use your testimonials once they’re completed, ensuring they’re written in a way that makes an impact all comes down to asking great questions.
The truth is, not all questions will get the answers you’re looking for from your customers, so you need to have a series of questions you can use to get the best possible testimonial. To help you do that, we’ve put together our list of 21 essential questions to ask for a testimonial.
Why Your Business Needs Testimonials
Testimonials are a way to make your business feel relatable because potential customers can read your testimonials, and it helps bring your product or service to life.
When someone’s on the fence and trying to decide whether or not to do business with you, having the opportunity to hear about the successes others have had can quickly move them from a “maybe” to a solid “yes.”
Potential clients want to know that your business is trustworthy, so seeing other people vouching for your products or services provides a level of comfort and reinforces credibility.
With more and more customers looking for social proof online, being proactive and putting your testimonials front and center where people can easily see them shows a level of transparency that consumers now expect.
Who to Ask for a Testimonial
One of the biggest objections people often have about asking their customers for a testimonial is that they don’t want to impose.
You’re asking your customer for a favor, so showing them how providing a testimonial can potentially be a win for them is key. Sharing how past customers who’ve provided a testimonial have used them to raise their own profile or establish authority is one way you can do this.
When deciding who to ask for a testimonial, you want to start with your best clients. These are the people you have a great relationship with and know they have been highly satisfied with the work you’ve done together.
Typically, happy customers are willing to share their story. If you don’t know who these people are, check in with your sales team to see if they have anyone they would recommend or someone they have used as a reference when closing the deal with potential clients.
Also, if you gather NPS data or do any type of customer satisfaction surveys, these results can be used to identify your most delighted customers.
Once potential testimonial candidates are identified, you want to take some time and ensure that there haven’t been any recent issues with that client. You want to avoid a potentially awkward situation asking a customer for a testimonial when they’re not 100% happy at that moment.
Most importantly, you have to make it easy for them to participate. Be clear and upfront by sharing what’s involved if they say yes, including what kinds of questions they will need to answer, how long it will take, and how the testimonial will be used once it’s written.
Conducting a Great Interview
Once you’ve identified the right candidates and gotten a yes, now you need to prep for the interview. Depending on what works best for your customers, interviews can be done in person, over the phone, or using an online survey. Often, it’s best to present multiple options as different customers will have their own preferences.
To get the best results during the interview, you’ll want to use leading questions. Remember, you’re trying to tell a story, so your phrasing is key to finding the answers you’re looking for.
An example of this difference would be asking: “Tell me about what it was like to work with us” versus “What were some of the benefits of working with us and what has that meant for your business?” The first question could easily bring about a one or two-word answer, whereas the second gives you the option to prompt them to expand on each point they raise.
While you certainly want to have questions planned out in advance, a great interview is always going to be flexible. Sometimes you need to chase the story, and that means going off the script and asking some follow-up questions to draw out more information. Other times, it may mean guiding the conversation back to a specific point to get the customer to tell you more.
By treating the interview as a friendly chat and allowing the conversation to flow organically, you are going to get the best results possible. Don’t be afraid to rephrase questions or redirect the conversation as needed so you can get all the key details needed to craft a high-impact testimonial.
Now that we’ve laid the groundwork for you to find the right people, and prepare for the testimonial process, let’s look at the 21 essential questions to ask for a testimonial.
The Essential Questions
The best testimonials are a story, so we like to approach our questions in a format that encourages the interviewee to share their story from start to finish. To do that, we divide our questions up into categories that progressively move their story from the starting point of where their business was when they came to us to where they ended up once our work together was complete.
⇒ What prompted you to consider purchasing our product or service?
⇒ Why did you take action on this now?
⇒ What were some of the challenges your business was facing?
⇒ What did things in your business look like before you began working with us?
⇒ What was your #1 challenge before working with us?
⇒ What made you choose our product or service?
⇒ Walk me through your thought process before you said yes?
⇒ What were some of the must-haves on your list prior to deciding to work with us?
⇒ What factors led you to choose us?
⇒ What’s your favorite part of the product or service you chose?
⇒ How have you saved time or money from working with us?
⇒ What results have you experienced in your business?
⇒ How has working with us helped you meet a specific goal?
⇒ How has this enhanced your business or life?
⇒ Did you experience any unexpected results? What were they?
⇒ What did you like most about working with us?
⇒ What surprised you or was unexpected?
⇒ Would you recommend our business to a friend?
⇒ What’s one thing people should know about working with us?
⇒ Would you do business with us in the future?
⇒ Are there any final thoughts you’d like to share regarding your experience with us?
Now that the interviews are done, you’re ready to write your testimonial. Once you’ve got your testimonials finalized, there are a variety of options for how they can be used, so get creative and start putting those testimonials to work!
Looking for more ideas on how to use your testimonials? Check out this post to get inspired.
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