In the 21st century, there’s an online rating for everything: movies, apps, and even businesses. It’s one thing to spend 90 minutes watching a film you didn’t enjoy or delete an app that’s not what you expected. But no one wants to pay for a product or service only to find out it lacks quality.
Whether you’re a newbie in business or a seasoned coach, always ask past customers for a kind word to organically acquire clients. And gathering testimonials isn’t tricky (more on this in a bit).
Here’s how to get client testimonials and verify your business’ premium standards.
What is a client testimonial?
A client testimonial is a few sentences of praise from a satisfied customer highlighting their positive experience with a business. Unlike cut-and-dry, one-through-five-star ratings, testimonials provide context, ensuring your future clients to believe in you.
Testimonials often include unique and genuine anecdotes or detailed descriptions of results. Thanks to their personal nature, these blurbs have the power to convince others to consider investing in a product or service.
Here’s an example: “I had an excellent experience with Coach Jody. She helped me tap into my inner motivations behind wanting to start a new career, and we made a concrete plan to find a line of work that’d be an excellent fit. I am now in a role I adore. I’d recommend Coach Jody to anyone seeking career coaching. She’s empathetic, knowledgeable, and an excellent listener.”
Also, typically people confuse testimonials and reviews, using them interchangeably. However, they are different –– while testimonials are positive client stories companies use to market their products, reviews can be both positive and negative opinions clients share after using a product or service.
Here’s why you should start collecting testimonials
Coaching clients don’t pay for a product they can return. Instead, they invest in a mentor who can motivate individuals and help them achieve goals. And client testimonials are vital pieces of social proof for coaching businesses. Once people read your former clients’ success stories on your website or watch short videos on social media platforms, they feel persuaded to seek your services. Here are other benefits of testimonials that show why you should use this marketing tool:
- Increased credibility: Coaches often guide people who are at a crossroads in life. And anyone signing up for coaching services wants to know they’re in good hands, working with an intelligent, compassionate professional with positive results. So a description of a former client’s positive experience inspires confidence.
- Enhanced coaching reputation: Renowned coaches don’t become famous overnight. Their clout results from years of excellent word-of-mouth marketing turned into a solid client base, with significant opportunities like authoring books or giving TED talks. Start building an impeccable reputation for your business by gathering testimonials from your old and existing clients, asking them to spread the word.
- Higher conversion rates: With many customers reading reviews before buying a product, downloading an app, or seeking a service, painting your business in a positive light is essential. Convert cold leads who look up ratings and reviews on search engines into clients through powerful and convincing testimonials.
How to ask for testimonials: 5 different ways
There’s no denying it can feel uncomfortable to ask others to toot your horn — even if you’re confident you’ve done a top-notch job coaching a client. But asking for testimonials is a common practice, and there are several direct and indirect ways. Here are five:
- The direct, in-person route: At the end of your last coaching session, ask the client to jot down a few words or give a verbal testimonial. Remember to seek their consent before putting out their personal details, and let them know you’re grateful for the kind message.
- Sending a follow-up email: Email your client to thank them for using your coaching services and summarize the highlights of working together. At the end of the note, ask them to provide a testimonial and express your gratitude for their willingness. It’s essential to send this email at the right time, promptly after finishing your work with a client. Since you and the sessions are fresh in clients’ memory, recording a testimonial feels organic and natural — not like a chore.
- Asking for testimonials on social media: Occasionally post a social media story asking your audience to review your services. Provide a URL, like a Google Review link or one to a landing page, in the story or your account bio.
- Seek testimonials from your network: This option is excellent for newbies. Ask your friends, peers, and mentors for reviews. Even if you haven’t directly provided services to these people, they know your character and skills and can write a compelling testimonial. But remember, this isn’t a license to create false or misleading testimonials. Ensure people share their accurate experiences and don’t over-romanticize your services and character. New coaches can also give away free sessions to people in their networks and ask them to review the quality afterward.
- Surveys: Include a link to a survey in your final email exchange with a client or ask them to complete a physical copy during their last session. Ask pointed questions that require simple responses or ratings, and at the end of the questionnaire, leave a space for an optional testimonial. Remind your client how much their opinion means to you. Surveys are an excellent option for collecting testimonials because they’re simple to fill out, and the intention is clear.
How to handle a bad review
The more you invite others to rate your business and the more clients you take on, the greater your potential for negative feedback. Take a deep breath. Getting negative reviews is part of running a business. And answering a bad review is an opportunity to highlight your professionalism and rectify a client relationship.
If you receive a less-than-favorable client testimonial online (e.g., a Yelp or Google Review), respond promptly, publicly, and professionally. Reply to the message expressing your apologies for the poor experience, and offer to discuss the issue in detail but privately. Avoid getting defensive or hashing out particulars.
Grow your coaching business with Practice
Positive testimonials boost businesses’ social proof, helping them attract new clients and build trustworthy relationships. And coaching businesses, which often heavily rely on word-of-mouth referrals, benefit from a solid recommendation.
As testimonials turn into leads, store data on potential and new clients in a customer relationship management (CRM) platform, and continue fostering trust using a secure system to save personal information.