For many professional service providers, easily 70% or more of their business comes from referrals. This is particularly true for lawyers. I know a number of people who never advertise and really don’t do any kind of active marketing.
They rely on word of mouth. A good word from a satisfied client is the best advertising there is.
That’s great, except for one thing. Your clients may be delighted with the service you’ve provided, but unless somebody asks them to recommend a provider in your field … or you get bold and ask them to introduce you to people they think you could help … they’re not talking about you.
So, how do you solve that problem?
You ask for testimonials, which you can post on your website and social media sites and include in any promotional materials.
They give your prospective clients a way to see that you get results and make people happy. The endorsement comes from a third party, so it’s not you tooting your own horn. You have satisfied clients saying nice things about you, and that’s powerfully persuasive.
Gives you instant credibility, and if someone doesn’t already know someone they like and trust in your field, the testimony of others can serve to fill that knowledge void and give them the confidence they need to contact you.
But here’s the thing. Many of my clients are hesitant to ask for testimonials, much less referrals.
They feel as if they’re being presumptuous or pushy. They see it as an imposition. But in my experience, happy clients are almost always delighted to be asked and happy to oblige.
Look, asking for testimonials isn’t all that hard or scary, and it’s just good marketing.
To help get you better results:
Understand that most people don’t write testimonials simply because they don’t think to do it. It’s not that they weren’t happy.
The other issues are that they’re busy and it’s just another thing on their plate. They also may not be sure what to say or are afraid they may not say it well enough to suit you.
You address the first issue simply by asking. The best and most natural time to ask is at the conclusion of your work together, especially when the client is thanking you and expressing appreciation.
How easy is it to say at that point, “I’m delighted you’re happy with my services. Let me ask you … would you be willing to write a testimonial for me?” Pretty easy, and it’ll never be easier than right then.
And you can always ask in writing if that seems more appropriate. The worst thing they can do is say no.
Whether they’re busy or not, make it easy for them.
Personalize your request. Remind them of what they said was important to them or what impressed them during your work together.
If possible, ask them to write about something that speaks to the tangible results they achieved from working with you … settling a costly matter out of court, administering a painless dental procedure, providing personalized after-hours service, etc.
Understand that in some instances clients may not be willing to divulge specifics about their cases. Also, if you’re a lawyer, be sure you follow the ethics rules regarding giving the appearance of guaranteeing a specific outcome to clients.
If including specifics about their case isn’t possible, clients can write about the service they received while working with you and your firm.
Did you return all phone calls with 12 hours? Did you provide the client with your cell phone number? Did you staff treat the client like a VIP?
It’s highly preferable to give the client’s name and city, because people will suspect you’ve just made up the comments if they’re anonymous. Attaching pictures really cements the credibility.
It’s okay to ask for the testimonials by a certain date, and tell them not to worry if they’re unsure of how to write the thing. Ask them to just say it the best they can without stressing over it and you’ll be happy to edit it and submit it for their approval.
Asking for testimonials should be something every service provider does routinely. And if you haven’t been doing it, today’s a great day to start!