Client Testimonials — we all know they make for amazing marketing, allowing you to prove that you do what you say on the tin and deliver.
Today, I want to take a deep dive into what makes a testimonial amazing. Whilst testimonials in general are great, I’ve found that testimonials that follow a set 3-step structure do the best, and you’ll see why.
Whilst some testimonials can happen on the fly, such as when you’re running a live client event, but in general you always want some control over the structure and content given.
Note, I’m not suggesting scripting the testimonial for the client — absolutely not! Just simply manoeuvre them down certain avenues by asking certain questions and phrasing them correctly.
Step 1 — Introduction
The first part of the testimonial should include talking about what their life was like before they discovered your business. What were their concerns? Their worries? Their pains? Was the future looking bleak? What were their goals? Did they want/need something, but didn’t know how to get it?
The key here is to frame the testimonial into a story — by starting before the client found your business, it’s then easier to show the impact your business has had on their life later.
Step 2 — Where they are now
Next, having met your business X months/years ago, what is their situation now? Do they have less concerns, worries and pains? Are their goals being met, and are they not setting new ones in their totally new bright life? Have you given them what they wanted/needed or are in the process of?
Step 3 — Future
Lastly, what does their future look like? Is it much brighter now thanks to you? What positive feelings do they now have compared to the negative before they discovered you? What precise results will they get/continue to get in the future.
For all 3 steps, they must talk more about the results they wanted and the results they got and less of the journey or the processes. Some of that is fine, but it’s all about the ultimate end goal and the ultimate return for the client. This will then make for a great testimonial as other prospects will want the same results!
The 3 steps work best for businesses that operate long term relationships with clients — where the work they do for the client never really stops. Hence the need for a part on where they are now, as well as where they will be when that journey is complete. And in some cases that journey never will complete, depending of course on the services/products you provide.
Using the 3 steps makes a story out of testimonials which allows prospects to relate to the thoughts/feelings of your clients and see the benefit of working with you to get the same help the clients did.
And it cuts out a lot of nonsense seen in testimonials. Lots of talk about the business and it’s team being friendly, helpful, supportive, always their for them. Sure, some businesses can’t even do that. But the key is to focus on the outcomes. Focus on the Afters — a concept I’ve recently come across from reading a book by Andy Bounds, one of the best sales trainers here in the UK.
And this focus on the ultimate results, thoughts & feelings is what should drive your marketing — not the journey, the service, support etc. It’s the end results prospects want and nothing more.
I’ll cover Afters in greater detail in a future post so stay tuned for that!