This is the fourth installment of Christine and my monthly Peer-to-Peer Mentoring series. On her blog, I answered her question:
“Social optimization is at the heart of all my business endeavors. For this reason, any pitch I offer to a potential client is always authentic – I aim to reveal how working together will mutually accentuate their product, service and relationships with their potential customers and clients. Unlike many businesses that wait for clients to come to them, I approach clients to help them see the need for my specialized services.
My Question to My Mentor:
“I’ve never collected testimonials and I’m examining why? that is. Can you tell me how you received the testimonials you have collected, and how it felt to get them?”
Beginning to collect testimonials was a purely organic experience. A business development client of mine bestowed a very complimentary, but objective email upon me after we achieved a few really cool milestones within his business. At the end of the email he said, “hint, hint, hint… hope this will serve as the start to your new testimonial section on your website.” Of course, this felt amazing because I had not yet asked for my clients or patients to acknowledge their experiences of working with me. I was flattered and inspired to ask clients and patients to reflect after receiving this first one though!
I have always thought the word testimonial sounds cheesy. Most of the ones I would read on websites seemed quite contrived and lacking in objective feedback. I can clearly see the purpose they are meant to serve, but was never thrilled with the ones I came across. This definitely deterred me from including a testimonial section on my site.
I decided to take some of my own advice-if you don’t like it, fix it, re-frame it, make it more fun, create something more fitting or tangible for your own personal niche or personality. At the same time I decided I would create a space for feedback, I began jotting down different ideas of a fun title that would catch people’s eyes and get them to click away on the website. I came up with “Patient Raves” and “Client Raves” to avoid using that cheesy sounding word, testimonial.
Testimonials-They Go Both Ways
Conveniently, I had begun forging a solid cross-section of connections via LinkedIn. LinkedIn, for anyone who is on the fence-go for it-it is one of the most powerful tools to both provide and receive testimonials. I love LinkedIn because the platform offers a user friendly interface to politely request that a connection provide a recommendation of your experience working together. Once completed these recommendations appear on your profile for all of LinkedIn to see-another excellent way to create connections based on other professional evaluation.
Ask For What You Want Others To Understand And You Shall Receive… Over And Over Again
I knew feedback would triple as an invaluable tool for patients, clients and me! I also understood the key to creating a section of tangible feedback meant clearly asking respondents for particular objective information. Simply asking somebody to submit a testimonial without guidelines is likely what results in completely subjective feedback. While you of course hope they’ll sing your praises and say nice things about your personality, including the what, where, when, why and hows will create the most vivid picture to capture a new, potential client.
Make yourself a list of what you’d like others to understand about your work. What you offer, how you deliver it, if time lines are important-anything that makes you the one and only person who can create and deliver what the client needs. Then try developing a little script you can copy and paste as a request-just add the personal touches each time you make a request. I like to show my gratitude with personal feedback and an offer to provide a similar request if applicable.
And, how does it feel to ask? Empowering, humbling, inspirational… You’ll love doing this, your clients and potential clients will love you for doing it! Have fun! Can’t wait to see what amazing things folks have to say about you!