Unhappy Face © by Ryan Stavely

Most customer testimonials are a waste of space.

It’s not that I don’t like testimonials. It’s just that your testimonials probably aren’t very good. Oh sure, most testimonials virtually glow with all kinds of praise about a product or service. But that’s precisely the problem.

We expect you to have glowing testimonials. So most of us (read: most of your customers) don’t pay all that much attention to them. We’re skeptics at heart, and we can smell BS a mile away. So most of your customers automatically discount any testimonial you might use, because your testimonials are too nice.

Unless you know the right way to ask for testimonials from your customers.

If you ask your customers the right questions, great testimonials are a piece of cake. You’ll be able to craft killer statements that are compelling, incredibly persuasive and have no problem skipping right through the BS filter.

Even better, it’s amazingly easy. There are only 3 simple questions you need to ask. I’ve listed them below, and I’ve explained why these questions are so powerful.

To get the strongest testimonials from your customers, here are the 3 questions to ask (tailored to your business):

 

1. Before you started working with my firm/my product/my services, what concerns might have prevented you from buying this product?

2. After you started working my product, did anything surprise you? What has pleased you the most about my product?

3. Would you recommend my product, and if so, why?

 

Here’s why these particular questions make such a difference.

 

What concerns might have prevented you from buying this product?

This question serves two purposes. First, it gets your customer talking about the real issues going on in his or her mind before the purchase. And second, it builds trust in the rest of the testimonial.

To the first point, this is incredibly important for you to know. In fact, this question might uncover potential issues you hadn’t even considered. You need to know this!

To the second point, everyone is skeptical before making a purchase, on at least some level. By recognizing that skepticism and embracing that doubt, the reader can identify with the testimonial. He or she reads how someone else was concerned about the very same thing they’re concerned about, and now they’re interested in finding out what made that person overcome those concerns. Powerful stuff!

 

Did anything surprise you? What has pleased you the most?

Yeah, okay, this is really two questions. In a sense, it’s asking the same question two different ways. And this is important, because this lets you defuse the concerns you identified with the first question.

The question also gets the customer thinking about their results and the impact your product or service has made. Like the first question, you might be surprised by the answers – or you might be tickled pink by the richness of detail that your customers provide. It’s always fascinating to get into the minds of your customers and find out what makes them tick!

 

Would you recommend my product, and why?

This one is almost too simple. In fact, it’s easy to overlook. But it’s incredibly important. And that one little word – “why” – is the most important part of all.

If a customer likes you, it’s fairly easy to recommend you. They’re probably expecting you to ask for the recommendation, and they probably won’t think twice about it … which is why so many testimonials blandly end with, “I highly recommend this product.” Boooring!

It’s a whole different ball game if the customer has to explain why they’d recommend you. Now they’re putting their own integrity on the line, and they’re forced to reevaluate and clarify their recommendation. The end result is a testimonial that’s more specific, more believable, and more effective, too.

One caveat, when asking for testimonials: You might need to edit the responses, either for brevity or clarity. This is not unethical, as long as you honor the original intent behind the words. In fact, most customers will appreciate light editing that makes them sound more polished. If you’re unsure, feel free to run the final version of the testimonial past the client for approval.

So with that, have fun with these questions and start building up powerful testimonials that drive new customers to your door in droves!