Ever since Amazon seamlessly melded products with their consumer reviews, B2B and B2C businesses have been working to incorporate reviews and testimonials into their on- and off-line communications. It’s understandable since rave reviews go a long way towards shortening the typical sales cycle and converting at a higher rate. (“If “Frustrated Jane” love this service, then the likelihood I will too just went up considerably.”)

“I Forget to Ask for Testimonials”

Here’s a short list of obstacles to overcome in building your own catalog of great testimonials:

  1. Forgetting to ask
  2. Too nervous to ask, feeling like it’s too “sales-y”
  3. Not having a system to collect testimonials (on- or off-line)
  4. Technology challenges
  5. Lack of follow up

Forgetting to ask is a mind-set issue. First, you must train your brain to set off an internal bell when you need to ask for that testimonial. Second, you must gain comfort in asking for it. This isn’t unlike gaining comfort in asking for the sale.

Dealing with Your Internal Testimonial Blocks

If you’re forgetting to ask for testimonials, ask yourself (and answer!) these questions to see where you are being tripped up mindset-wise:

  1. Are you nervous about getting an objection or poor review?
  2. Are you conditioned to merely say, “Thank you,” when a client offers a compliment on your product or service without adding, “Since you’re so enthusiastic about XYZ, would you mind giving me a testimonial”?
  3. Are you putting off asking because you have a drawer full of miscellaneous testimonials but you haven’t put them on your website because it seems like a big project?
  4. Does it seem like asking for a testimonial will be burdensome to your clients?

Use the Byron Katie method to analyze your answers to these questions: Is it true? Are you afraid of a bad review? Does it feel like you’re asking a lot? These require mindset shifts. Remember, a great testimonial can be a mere sentence or two. Make sure you convey the request won’t take much time.

When Is the Right Time to Ask for Testimonials?

When the customer is most thrilled with your product or service, i.e. when the results show a great resolution of the problem for which the customer bought your product to solve. Depending upon your business, the right time may occur at several points in time after purchase:

  1. Restaurants – Immediately after eating/visiting
  2. Home Builder – The first month after owners move in
  3. Online Training Program – 1-2 weeks after completing the course—not immediately after downloading the program before it’s been taken.
  4. Product – After first use—not before it’s left the store!

All of these represent the time during which the customer is most likely to be happiest with the product or service—when they’ve just begun putting them to good use. Too often automated requests for “Feedback” or a review arrive before a product’s been put to use. The ill-timed request could potentially generate a negative feeling about the brand if you’ve not thought through allowing adequate time for excitement over the results to build up.

Next up: Now that you’ve reprogrammed your brain to approach asking for testimonials with enthusiasm instead of fear, we’ll next look at the variety of ways to collect them depending upon your business model.