Want great marketing for your consulting services?
The most powerful, believable marketing comes from testimonials from someone in our “tribe.”
When you need to buy a solution you want to make the right decision. So what do you do? You research alternatives and then look for confirmation with testimonials.
How to Promote Your Consulting Services with Testimonials
Testimonials have been around as long as people have sat around campfires telling stories about their exploits.
Before hunters went on a dangerous hunt, they wanted to hear stories about the skills of their teammates and who was best at different skills. We do the same today with testimonials and referrals.
We see testimonials every day on television and the internet showing how “people just like us” solve their problem. If we feel part of their tribe and they seem believable, then we use those testimonials to weight our decisions.
You can use written testimonials everywhere. Use them in,
- white papers to validate facts and authority
- case studies to authenticate results
- your website alongside features and benefits to show they work
Testimonials even make it easier to get referrals. A referral is much easier to get when there is social proof from other testimonials.
Why is It So Hard to Get Testimonials?
Asking for a testimonial is hard.
For me it feels like I’m stepping into a private space and asking someone for a judgement they might want to keep private. In the worst case my ego might take a hit.
There is a way to make to make it easier to get testimonials.
First, you need empathy with your clients. Ask at the right time. Don’t ask when you’ve just missed a deadline or report an issue. Don’t ask during a tedious day. Wait for the moment when your client is complimenting you and happy about results. Ask near the end of an assignment. No one wants to give a testimonial when you still have critical objectives still ahead.
Second, time your request when energy is high. For example, many video testimonials are made at conferences. Speakers get video testimonials endorsing their work right after they’ve energized their “tribe” with fast music and lots of stand-up, sit-down, hand-clapping.
Often speakers do a simple Smartphone video off to one side at a conference. In some instances, I’ve seen large software companies reserve hotel suites and have a professional camera crews do the recording. As consultants we don’t need to go to that extreme, but it is important to watch your client’s energy and engagement level.
Third, and this is important. You want to make “The Ask” just right and make the process easy for your client.
A Proven Method for Writing Testimonials with Your Clients
Judy Dang, an accountability coach in the San Francisco Bay Area, uses a method of capturing testimonials that produces great results.
You can see some of Judy’s testimonials from her method on her website, AvidAtWork.
Writing Fast, Powerful Testimonials
Testimonials are difficult for most people to write. But, there is a process that makes it quicker and easier.
In this process the consultant interviews the client and writes a draft testimonial sticking to the client’s main points. The consultant drafts the testimonial so it targets the concerns of future consulting prospects. The client then reviews and edits the draft before the consultant uses it.
Here’s an edited version of Judy’s 7-point article on how to gather testimonials,
- Create a Comfortable Conversation
Make this easy and comfortable, no surveys or questionnaires. Meet for lunch, drinks, or on a quick Zoom call. Let them know you’d like to talk about the results and if it is Ok to record the discussion.
One testimonial I received came from an After Action Review on a Zoom call with a client. (The client knew the recorder was on). The feedback was great. I asked, “Could I write up a paragraph or two about what you just said and pass it by you for review. I’d love the testimonial.” It was the right time, right enthusiasm, and perfect wording. It was easy for both of us and valuable for me.
- Ask Questions
Let your client know what types of questions you’ll ask. In the following list I've made slight edits to Judy’s questions to fit a wider range of consulting,
What was the situation you faced?
At what point did you know the engagement was working?
Was there a signal the engagement was meeting your goals?
Did I meet your objectives?
What is the situation now that the engagement is coming to a close?
If someone asked you what I did for you, what would you say?
- Write Highlights
Write three or four short paragraphs using the recording to capture key points. Use detailed words and specific situations rather than generalized wording.
If you are familiar with long-tail keywords, use keywords in paragraphs where they come naturally. (The Starting and Building a Thriving Consulting Business course teaches how to find long tail keywords that improve your Google ranking.)
- Rewrite for a Natural Voice
Rewrite the testimonial for a natural voice. Keep your prospect's voice and words in mind, but also write to address your reader's (the prospect's) pains. Think what would give a prospect confidence in you.
- Add Data and Details
Don’t write generic, bland sentences. Use specifics like
“She saved us 8% on manufacturing costs in the first quarter.”
“Our new hire retention rate more than doubled after we started using Jon’s system.”
- Get Approval
Send your three or four paragraphs to your client for review.
In most cases I also try to pull out a single sentence for use as a keynote or caption. Single sentences like this are great eye-catchers in your marketing material. They are far more likely to be read.
Never use a logo without permission from the client’s legal department. Most larger companies are extremely protective of their logo use.
- Say Thank You
Testimonials are the most powerful combination of social proof and marketing. Thank your client for the treasure they have given you.
Judy said it in her posts, and I’ll add my voice - Send a handwritten Thank You note. I’ve had clients comment years later on a handwritten Thank You note I sent them. Few do it anymore. You will be remembered with pleasure.
One year I sent home made berry jam from my mom’s berry farm to product managers I worked with at Microsoft. I heard about that, with grins, for years.
To read Judy’s original posts, click here for Women in Consulting and here for her LinkedIn Article. To contact Judy about how she can help you be more accountable and meet your objectives you can contact her at Judy@AvidAtWork.com.
Referral and testimonial systems and scripts are part of the Starting and Building a Thriving Consulting Business course.
To learn more about effectively promoting your consulting services click here.