How to Request a Testimonial from a Client [+ Our 7-Step Email Template]

Source: https://www.autogrow.co/how-to-ask-for-a-review/

When I was in college a lifetime ago, I worked a slew of crappy jobs. 

Barista, pizza delivery driver, dishwasher, paperboy—even a field hand.

And you know what? As bad as those jobs were, I felt lucky by comparison.  

Because no matter how bored, tired, or frustrated I got, I wasn’t working in door-to-door sales like some of my other friends. 

In my mind, there was (and still is) nothing worse than walking up to a complete stranger’s home, ringing the doorbell, and trying to sell a set of knives to someone who wants nothing more than for me to get the hell off their porch. 

Now, despite just how terrible this job was, I had one friend in particular who was a natural

He would easily clear $800, $900 a week in just a few hours a day (more than enough drinking money for the week). 

And the secret, he told me, was that unlike everyone else, he wasn’t afraid to ask for the sale

“If you don’t ever ask,” he’d say, “then you won’t ever close the deal.” 

He was right. And for most things in life, the same rule applies. 

Want a raise? You’ve got to ask. Need a deadline extension? Asking is the first step. 

And if you want a testimonial from your client (which is what I’m talking about in this article), you’ve got to ask for it. 

But the question is, how do you ask for a testimonial?

That’s why today I’ll show you:

  • The high-converting power that a solid testimonial can have on your website’s visitors. 
  • The 7-step template for getting testimonials that you can outright copy—seriously, I don’t mind 😉
  • The only 3 tips you’ll ever need to follow when it comes to asking for your testimonials. 

Alrighty, let’s get to it! 💪

Do You Really Need Testimonials?

Nope! You don’t. 

Surprised, right? 

You do not need testimonials in order to sell the wares you’re hocking. And with enough hard work, silver-tongued salesmanship, and ironclad risk reversals, you can in fact still close the deal. 

But I’ll let you in on a little secret… it ain’t gonna be easy. 

And it sure as heck isn’t going to be as easy as if you were including testimonials on your pages. 

See, humans are social animals. We’re hardwired for it. And if we don’t get enough of it, it can even stunt our development. 

Because of our biological blueprint that favors socializing so much, we place enormous value on the opinions of others—especially when it comes to risk-laden transactions like buying a product or service. 

Using social proof is a time-tested technique of boosting conversions. 

In fact, the Law of Confidence, one of the 11 Laws of Sales Funnel Physics, speaks specifically to the role that social proof plays in your marketing. 

That role is huge. Don’t believe me?

Check out the statistics below to get some perspective.

  • 92% of consumers are more likely to trust non-paid recommendations than any other type of advertising (Newswire).
  • 2 out of 3 people say they’d be more likely to make a purchase after watching a testimonial video demonstrating how a business, product or service had helped another person like them (Wyzowl).
  • 72% of customers don’t take action until they have read reviews (Testimonial Engine). 

Case Studies Showing the Importance of Testimonials

While statistics are good and all, sometimes it helps to just see some real-life examples. So here are a few. 

One case study highlighted in our Proven Sales Conversion Pack found that adding a social proof widget to a watch product page increased sales by a whopping 58.29%. 

Before

After

Then there’s the case from Spectoos, another social proof widget. This case is a little bit different but still speaks to the same point. 

KeyScouts, one of Spectoos’ clients, was using the app on their pages but weren’t getting the monthly results they were expecting… 

  • 275 views
  • 6 clicks
  • 2.18% CTR

Not great, right? 

Well, then KeyScouts decided to run a little test. Instead of having the Spectoos widget appear near the bottom of the page, they tried moving it above the fold

As a result, user testimonials were front and center rather than being relegated to a few scrolls down. 

And how did their stats improve?

  • 359 views
  • 102 clicks
  • 28.4% CTR

That’s more than a 1000% CTR increase. And as a result, their conversions jumped by 20%.

Why? Because they leveraged the power of social proof

And when you learn how to do the same, you too can expect some pretty mind-blowing results. 

The 7-Step Ultimate Testimonial Request Template

Alright, now that we’ve determined that you absolutely positively unquestionably should be requesting testimonials from your clients regularly, let’s get to how we do it at AutoGrow and the exact template we use along the way. 

So here we go… presenting the 7-Step Ultimate Testimonial Request Template!

Hey [client name],

I wanted to reach out today to 1) say thanks for being such a loyal customer and 2) congratulate you on your [recent accomplishment using your services]! 

We’re in the process of updating our website’s client success story section over the next few days and we’d love it if we could feature you and your company’s experience working with us. 

If you’re interested, just follow this link today or tomorrow to leave a written or video testimonial—whichever you’re most comfortable with.

As a token of our appreciation, I’ll send you over [incentive], courtesy of [your company]. Sound good?

We’re looking to highlight specific problems and specific solutions in these. So if you could, try to point out what you were struggling with before we started working together and how we helped you solve it.

One more thing: if you have a headshot we could use, please send that over as well. 

Congratulations again on [recent accomplishment] [client name]! And thank you as always for being a loyal client of [your company]. Let me know if you have any questions at all about the testimonial. 

Let’s take just a minute to break down the sections in the template so you can better understand the desired outcome. 

Step #1: Congratulate Them On Their Progress / Recap

The very first “words” out of your “mouth” should be congratulatory. What success milestones have they accomplished since working with you? What particularly difficult projects have you helped them tackle? 

The opening is the time to call it out. 

Starting on a burst of positive energy is a great way to hook them in and keep them reading. 

If you can’t point to any specific success milestones, you can always fall back to recapping how long you’ve been working together or how many projects you’ve completed. 

The point is to bring up their spirits, get them feeling good, and then (and only then) asking for a small favor. 

Step #1 may look a little something like this: 

Hey Jeff,

I wanted to reach out today to 1) say thanks for being such a loyal customer and 2) congratulate you on your 65% conversion rate! With your sales team practically swimming in leads right now, we hope this year is going to be one of your most successful yet.

See? Nothing too crazy. Just a few nice congratulatory words to start off on the right foot.

Step #2: Ask for the Testimonial

Thanks to your opening, your client is now ready for the “ask” of the email: the testimonial. 

Now, since getting a testimonial basically is asking for a small favor, it helps to follow the W-W-E formula.

  • The “Why” – Let them know why you are asking for a testimonial. Is it to help better your service? Or is it to present to potential clients? Call it out here.
  • Strategic Word Choice – Choose your words wisely to make them want to give the testimonial instead of seeing it like a burden. For instance, ask if they’d like to be “featured” on your website. Call it a “customer success story” instead of a testimonial to drive their accomplishment home even further. 
  • Make It Easy – If you have the capability, offer them multiple ways of submitting their testimonial. You can ask them for either a written or video testimonial (whichever they’re most comfortable with) and you can even send them to a third-party testimonial app if they’d like. Ultimately, ease of use is key. Because if it’s just too annoying to do it, in all likelihood, they won’t.

Here’s a quick example of what a solid Step #2 should look like:

We’re in the process of updating our website’s client success story section and we’d love it if we could feature you and your company’s experience working with us. 

If you’re interested, just follow this link to leave a written or video testimonial—whichever you’re most comfortable with.

Step #3: Add Light Urgency

Step #3 is more of a touch than anything else. And while it’s subtle, it’s a powerful detail that can make getting that oh-so-precious testimonial all the more likely. 

Instead of leaving the timeline up to your client, add a bit of urgency by asking for the testimonial in the next few days. 

This can be admittedly uncomfortable. 

But asking for the desired action is a vital step towards getting results. 

Part of it comes down to the fact that we as humans are lazy. We procrastinate. And if we are given two paths, one of difficulty and one of ease, we’re 2657% more likely to choose the latter. 

So if you leave it entirely up to your clients to decide when and if they’re going to pass on a testimonial, most of the time you’re just going to end up disappointed. 

Here’s what a bit of light urgency might look like in your testimonial email:

We’re in the process of updating our website’s client success story section over the next few days and we’d love it if we could feature you and your company’s experience working with us. 

If you’re interested, just follow this link today or tomorrow to leave a written or video testimonial—whichever you’re most comfortable with.

Step #4: Offer an Incentive

This step is a bit more on the optional side than the others. And some companies may not be super enthusiastic about offering handouts (even though a great testimonial is one of the best sales tools you’ll ever have). 

Even so, you may want to consider adding a small incentive for clients who are willing to provide a testimonial. 

Nothing too crazy of course. Maybe a Starbucks gift card or 5% off their next order. 

Here’s what adding Step #4 into your copy might look like: 

As a token of our appreciation, I’ll send you over a gift card for a free cup of coffee and a bagel, courtesy of AutoGrow. Sound good?

Step #5: Tell Them What You’re Looking for

Now that they’re hooked in, it’s time to set some guidelines to get the best review possible. 

Let your client know that you’re looking for specific ways your company helped solve their problem. While general praises (“They’re great!”) are nice, they aren’t nearly as convincing and trust-building as when a testimonial gets down to the nitty-gritty. 

Why are we great? What specifically did we do for you that made you love our services? 

In most cases, the more detailed they are, the better the testimonial is going to be for building trust. 

Here’s what Step #5 might look like in your email: 

We’re looking to highlight specific problems and specific solutions in these. So if you could, try to highlight what you were struggling with before we started working together and how we helped you solve it.

Step #6: Get the Headshot

People love faces. 

Like really love them. And when you use them in your marketing, it can go a long way towards boosting your conversion rate.

It’s important, then, that you attach a headshot to the words of your reviewer. Doing so can do wonders for skyrocketing your credibility. 

So be sure to ask for a recent headshot of your client in the same email to help eliminate the need to ask them afterward. 

Here’s what that might look like in the email:

One more thing: if you have a headshot we could use, please send that over as well. 

Step #7: Re-Congratulate + Sign-Off

Last but not least, closeout with the bottom half of your “Congratulations Sandwich” before you sign off. 

Keep it simple here. Just reiterate the congrats you used above and express your appreciation of them continuing to be a loyal client. 

Easy as that!

Here’s what that might look like:

Congratulations again on that fantastic conversion rate Jeff! And thank you as always for being a loyal client of AutoGrow. Let me know if you have any questions at all about the testimonial. 

3 Tips for Getting the Best & Most Useful Testimonials from Clients

Now that you know how to ask for a testimonial, let’s go over just a few tips for making the testimonials you do get worth their weight in gold. 

1. Ask Them to Be Specific

There are glowing testimonials…

“This is hands down the best service I’ve ever used in my life! I just can’t say enough good things about them.”

The scathing testimonials…

“They stink. I didn’t like a single thing about working with them. Never using again.”

And then there are the golden testimonials. These testimonials are positive in nature but they also call out specific features that make you unique. 

That way, it has the dual effect of selling your service by pointing to specific, concrete beneficial features that solve a particular problem. And the more your prospects can relate to that problem, the more won-over they’ll be by that testimonial. 

Here’s an example of a great golden testimonial. 

Source: Aspire

See how the reviewer calls out the specific benefits here? 

Basecamp (a project management system) let his clients see the visual progress of their projects and gave them confidence that everything was going according to plan. 

Plus, he’s improved his time-management skills and the Basecamp team worked hard to make the development a success. 

Clear, concrete and definable benefits will always resonate more with your prospects. 

So when you do ask your clients for testimonials, ask them to be as specific as they can be.

2. Don’t Be Afraid to Edit Them Down

There is certainly something to be said about natural language, pacing, and getting the full context when it comes to testimonials. 

But the thing about people is most of us aren’t experienced and focused writers. 

As a result, the great testimonial you get from a client may hit on a lot of fantastic points—but it likely isn’t going to read as well as you want it to. It may even be so lengthy and full of non-sequiturs that your visitors won’t have the attention span to pick out the good points. 

So don’t be afraid to edit out a few sentences here or there. 

On that note, try to keep the grammatical editing to a minimum. The truth is, people actually respond to natural language. And (sadly) grammatical errors are a sign of someone actually being human.

3. Understand the Surprising Power of Negative Reviews

Okay, for this one, you’ll have to be a bit careful. Because while you’ll generally only want to draw attention to the reviews that are singing your praises, there are in fact places for negative reviews. 

And with the right steps on your part, you can actually turn a negative review into a win.

First off, negative—or at least partially negative—reviews add authenticity to your page. 

According to ratings and reviews site Reevoo:

Customers spend more than five times as long on-site when they interact with bad reviews, trust the reviews they see far more and convert nearly 85% more often.

And the key here is that negative reviews actually build trust. 

Think about: when you’re researching a product, what’s the first thing you think when you see 25,000 A+ five-star reviews? 

Bull%*@&. Right?

But when there are a few negative ones interspersed, it seems real. It seems true. And it’s doing a lot more to further your end goal when it comes to reviews: building trust.

Second, negative reviews can actually help… when you respond to them well. 

Check out the example below to see how you can turn a bad review into a great experience for prospects visiting your site. 

Source: Broadly

That being said, be careful here. And use your common sense. 

If you’re only using a handful of reviews on your site, it may not be in your best interest to make a negative review one of the few that you decide to highlight.

Conclusion

So there you have it!

You now have AutoGrow’s very own 7-Step Ultimate Testimonial Request Template!

Copy it. Tweak it. Send it to all your friends. Do whatever you want with it. 

As long as you follow the gist of each step, you’re bound to start bringing in more powerful testimonials that you can add to any of your marketing materials—from lead magnets and email campaigns to sales pages and checkout screens. 

And with it, you can start harnessing the awesome converting power of a compelling testimonial. 

Now, have you used this template to get testimonials from your own clients? How have they responded? And what other testimonial tips have you come by? 

Let me know in the comments section below. 

And as always…

Keep convertin’, stay focused.

Alex T.

tomas

Online enterprenuer. Lean leadership consultant.

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