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Navigating the Waters of Client Testimonials

Word-of-mouth marketing has been a proven business generator since the beginning of time. In 2012, Nielsen put numbers behind this by finding in its Global Trust in Advertising report that 92 percent of consumers around the world say they trust recommendations from friends and family above all other forms of advertising. The report further found that online consumer reviews are the second most trusted source of brand information and messaging, with 70 percent of global consumers surveyed indicating they trust messages on this platform.

People want to hear about the experiences of others before shaking hands and signing contracts with vendor partners. With that in mind, why wait for your clients and customers to volunteer their experiences when a great client testimonial is just an ask away?

What makes a good client testimonial?

An obvious answer is that good client testimonials speak to the success of big projects or product launches that occurred because of their partnership with your company. However, you shouldn’t underestimate the power of a client who can testify to your reliability, quick turnaround and ongoing, consistent support in everyday tasks. In general, any time a client can attest to your value to them, that’s worth documenting.


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When should you ask a client for a testimonial?

Timing is an important factor for capturing a great client testimonial. Strike when the iron’s hot – after you’ve had a recent big success, completed an impactful project or when your client happens to express appreciation in an email or in-person meeting.

When clients are most energized by your partnership, they will not only be more willing to give the testimonial at that time, but their enthusiasm will shine through the testimonial even more than if you go back for the ask several months after that moment.

How do you ask for a testimonial?

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This is one of the most important steps in navigating the waters of the client testimonial. Yet, not knowing how to ask for a testimonial is often the reason most people don’t capitalize on the opportunity.

It’s important to always be prepared to ask a client to share positive experiences with your business, even if it’s only to encourage them to refer your business to anyone they know who could benefit from your services. And, for those clients who you think would offer a great testimonial for your business, tell them that.

Point out successes they’ve had while working with you or things they’ve noted as being helpful to them in their business. Then, ask if they would be willing to speak to that in a client testimonial. If you have collected other client testimonials, you can offer them as examples to show what others have said and how you are using these testimonials.

How can you use a client testimonial?

First and foremost, ensure that you have a dedicated spot on your website for client testimonials − call it “Client Praise” or “Hear from our Clients” – and make sure visitors can get to it from the home page, either by menu tab or graphic slider. A simple quote may be all you need, but if you have a dynamic client who expresses his or her passion well in person, capture a video to host on your website, as well.

Use testimonials in your prospecting efforts – include quotes from similar clients in proposals to prospective clients and follow up after the meeting with an email providing a link to a video testimonial on your website. If you’re active on social media, be sure to share testimonials there as well.

Always be on the lookout for your next great client testimonial opportunity, and don’t be afraid to ask for it. Additionally, strive to secure testimonials from a variety of clients who showcase an array of your services.

And finally, keep it up! Think of your client testimonial “library” as an opportunity to set up meetings between prospective clients and your best, most satisfied customers!

Kerri Guyton is a director of client services at Obsidian Public Relations in Memphis, Tennessee. She has 15 years of experience in public relations and marketing, touching a wide variety of industries from real estate, retail and tourism to nonprofit, health care and business services.

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Cision invites PR and marketing professionals to share their best practices and advice with the Cision Blog audience. To share your story, contact blog.us@cision.com

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