THE BLOG
11/10/2010 03:14 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

The Importance of Testimonials and How to Get Them

For the most part people think of testimonials as icing on the cake of a good client experience. But don't underestimate their ability to demonstrate your credibility and expertise. Let's face it unless someone refers your services, potential clients need to trust you in order to part with their money. That trust comes from being able to see that you have a good track record with others and that you have tangible results from previous accomplishments.

You may not have a long list of high profile clients to post on your website, but what you do have is experience, even if it does not completely match your current focus or endeavor. Your skill set is transferable over different industries, so concentrate on getting testimonials based on your skills, not your job title. For instance, you may have just launched an internet marketing business, a life coaching career or a professional speaking enterprise. Chances are you don't have many people who can attest to specific results they have attained from being your client, but they can speak to your ability to create results or motivate others.

Use these endorsements on your website, in promotional collateral and on a landing page (sales page). Insert them into your email signature. For instance, after your contact information you could have a line that reads, "What our clients are saying...," or "Read what others' are saying about my product or service..."

Take Action:
  1. Make a list of colleagues, clients, co-workers, etc. who have seen you in action. Think of anyone who has benefited from your guidance or expertise. (Stay away from people with your same last night - Mom's glowing praise does not carry a lot of weight!)
  2. What tangible results do you think they could attest to? What successful end result or smooth process happened as a result of your help?
  3. Reach out to those people and request an endorsement or testimonial. If they are not sure what to say, tell them what type of clients you are interested in attracting.
  4. If you want a specific skill mentioned, guide them in that direction. The best endorsements are those that are benefits oriented: They reveal the results the person achieved after using your product or service. You may even suggest that your customer explain (briefly) what her problem was before you and she worked together, and how you came to a solution.
  5. Better yet, offer to create a couple of sample endorsements for them to approve.

Key Tip: Make sure all of your endorsements include your full name and/or the name of your company. If you just started your company, use your full name. Here's why...

A colleague of mine posted client testimonials on each page of her site and saved one for her home page. As it turned out, when you Google her name, her new website appears with high search results because the search engines picked up her full name in the testimonial that appears on her home page. Needless to say she went back to every testimonial on her site and made sure that either her full name or her company name showed up in each quote.

Don't underestimate the power of a solid testimonial!