7 questions that get better client testimonials

One thing all business owners want?

More and better client testimonials.

And with good reason…

88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.

68% of buyers read reviews as they’re building their short-list of purchase options.

71% of people agree that consumer reviews make them more comfortable that they’re buying the right product/service.

Human beings are social animals who are naturally curious about the experience of others. We also want to get the most reward with the least risk. Combine that with the connective power of the internet and BOOM. It’s like a feeding frenzy, online review style.

So it’s in our best interest to show positive reviews on our website. But how do you get those powerful client testimonials…especially if your clients aren’t so verbally inclined?

By zeroing in on 7 key questions.

Want to get better client testimonials? Ask these 7 questions.

I first learned about this approach to getting client testimonials through the genius Jenny Shih. (Check out her post on this simple system to get killer testimonials.)

The key concept is this:

Instead of asking for a “testimonial” — because testimonial-writing is heavy, tedious, intimidating business — ask for “feedback”, “thoughts”, “opinions”, etc.

Ask pointed, specific questions that are easy for clients to answer.

And combine those answers to write your own testimonial…then ask the client to approve.

I use this system myself to get testimonials from my copywriting clients and also to get sales page testimonials for my launch clients.

I’ve tested out plenty of questions and phrasing. Here are the 7 that work wonders for me:

1. What specific results did you experience from working with me?

I like to start with the objective results first…

1. Because it’s generally an easy question for people to answer, and

2. Because specificity SELLS!

Who would you rather hire as a copywriter? Someone who “created copy I loved” or “created copy that tripled my retreat signups”? I rest my case.

2. What doubts did you have before hiring me?

The key to writing persuasive copy (which is what work-with-me pages and sales calls alike are filled with) is understanding the mindset of your prospective clients. You need to know what holds them back…so you can use your copy to overcome those objections.

It’s also a relatively easy question for clients to answer, again, to grease the feedback wheels before we get into some trickier territory later on in the questioning.

3. What did you like best about the experience of working with me?

This one digs into the subjective experience of y-o-u. I could write you website copy that converts at 75%…but if I’m a rude jerk that blows off our calls, you’re probably not going to want to work with me again. Personal fit matters big time.

This question allows a client to tell you what they liked best about YOU. And this? Is your superpower.

It’s what sets you apart from allllllll the other people offering very similar services and programs. Your unique YOU factor is your best selling tool and way to stand out in an online marketplace that feels very same-y.

4. What is important for others to know about my service?

This is a ninja way to find out the MOST valuable parts of your service…because that’s what “others” would most need to know.

What’s important for others to know about Whole Foods?

Well, if you’re asking me, it’s that it always has all the weird ingredients I use in my cooking. Or that I’m confident that the food they sell is actually, well, food.

If you’re asking someone else, they might say the animal welfare rating system they use for their meats. Or the iced bliss brew coffee that fits perfectly in the cart’s cupholder, so they have a caffeinated companion to stroll the aisles with.

It’s always helpful to know the selling points that appeal most to your clients. This helps you position your offer in exactly the right way to sell.

5. How is XX different now, compared to when we started working together?

Whatever you’re selling, whoever you’re selling it to, you’re ultimately selling one thing: transformation.

In order for people to buy from you, they need to want the transformation you’re offering and they need to believe you can provide it for them.

Tweak this question to fit the work you do:

How is your love life now, compared to before we worked together?

How productive is your average day now? What was it like this time last year?

How satisfied are you with your closet now, compared to before you hired a personal shopper?

The answer to this question paints an uber-compelling before/after picture and shows the transformation that’s possible.

6. What part of the process was most difficult for you, and how could I have helped to make it easier?

I LOVE including this question into the mix. As service providers, we can’t always see holes in our offers. This gives clients ample opportunity to show us.

Plus, it’s important to hear the bad and the ugly, in addition to the good. Asking for a client’s challenges and suggestions to improve helps you do that in a productive way.

7. Were you pleasantly surprised by any aspect of working together?

I always like to end the client on a positive note and this question is a fun one! You can tap into any unexpected elements that really delighted your client.

It’s golden insight to know what parts of your service added that little bit of *extra* to take the experience from “what I expected” to “more than I expected”. That slight distinction makes all the difference.


The key behind this whole strategy…

Once your client responds with answers, it’s go-time.

…By which, I mean, it’s time for you to bust out the glue and safety scissors to snip, rearrange, and paste.

Slice and dice up the testimonial. Move sections around. Delete sections altogether. Add in a word or two, if an idea needs clarifying. Take your client’s feedback and use it to create the type of testimonial you want to have on your website.

A couple quick pointers:

– Rearrange the feedback into a form that flows. You want the testimonial to feel like a mini-story.
– Cut out anything that doesn’t sizzle. You want your client testimonials to be punchy so don’t be afraid to lose non-essential words.
– Bring the most compelling sentence or phrase to the top and use as a subhead of sorts. This way, scanners can still see the juiciest bits. (Check out my testimonials page to see this in action.)

When you’re happy with your edited testimonial, send it back to your client and ask if it’s okay to display on your website in this edited form. Make sure you tell them they’re free to make any additional changes. After all, it’s their testimonial!

One more tip to get better client testimonials…

I have a devoted “testimonials” google doc that I start every time I sign on a new client. Any time they share positive feedback during our project together (whether over the phone or through email) I jot it into the google doc.

That way, I’ve got my own tankard of testimonial juice ready to go at the end of the project. Because some clients don’t like to write. And some are just plain busy.

I’ve used it to pad out feedback if it’s missing the gusto I’m looking for. I’ve also used it to write entire testimonials, when clients ask me to create one myself for them to sign off on. Being able to dip my quill into a well of client love has helped me on numerous occasions…so I highly recommend keeping track of feedback during your projects, too.

Just make sure, whatever you do, that you get the client’s final stamp of approval before posting. It isn’t kosher to post unless you explicitly get them to sign off.
There are lots of ways to persuade your clients to share their feedback with you. These 7 questions are what work for me. I’d love to hear how you get better client testimonials in the comments below!

join the convo

How else do you motivate your clients to share their feedback on working together?

What other questions would you add to this list?

When in the process do you ask for feedback — only at the end or during a project, too?

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© Whitney Ryan LLC

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