How To Ask For A Testimonial: My Simple, Repeatable Process

By Mark Brinker 
Updated: January 26, 2022

By Mark Brinker  /  Updated: January 26, 2022

How To Ask For A Testimonial: My Simple, Repeatable Process

Getting glowing client testimonials and rave reviews can be boiled down to a single word … asking.

Sure, you might get a few sporadic testimonials from satisfied clients without asking. But you get WAY more testimonials when you ask.

So how exactly should you approach a client about a testimonial?

Today I’m giving you my client testimonial process I’ve used/refined over the past 20 years. I still use it to this day. It’s tested and it works.

Here’s what you do …

Client Testimonial Process # 1: Asking Via Email

Contacting clients via email is the quickest and easiest method.

I’ve experimented with all sorts of subject lines and messages. Here’s what produces the best results (i.e. high response + quality testimonials) for me:

Subject: Can you help me out?

Message:

Hi FirstName,

I have a quick favor to ask.

Could you write a brief testimonial that I can add to my list of satisfied clients?

I’m not looking for a novel or anything. Just a few sentences describing your experience with me. Prospective clients don’t care so much about what I say about myself, but they do care what my clients have to say.

For an idea of what other clients have written, please click here

All you have to do is simply reply to this email with your testimonial. Also, if you are able to do this in the next day or two, that would be awesome.

Thanks so much, FirstName.

{Your Name}

Pretty simple, right? Don’t overthink it. This works.

If you don’t currently have a dedicated testimonials page on your website, obviously delete paragraph # 4.

Two key points:

  • Strike while the iron is hot. If you just completed a project and your client is happy with your work, ask for their testimonial ASAP because those good vibrations will dissipate quickly.
  • Be ready for the “accidental” testimonial. Sometimes while working on a project, your client will say something spontaneously in casual conversation that would be a great testimonial. When this happens, send them an email right away and ask if you may use their kind words as a customer testimonial on your website or other marketing material. If they say “sure”, your work is done.

Client Testimonial Process # 2: Asking Via Postal Mail

Even in today’s digital world, there might be times when you don’t have your client’s email address. Therefore, you’ll need to request their testimonial via regular postal mail. Yes, it’s a little more work than sending an email, but it’s not too bad if you have a step-by-step process.

Your postal mail “package” will include:

  • A cover letter (sample shown below)
  • A blank client testimonial form. (Get template here: MS Word | PDF)
  • A self-addressed, stamped envelope.
  • A page with sample testimonials.

Here’s what the cover letter (on your letterhead) looks like:

 

Can You Help Me Out?

{Today’s Date}

CLIENT NAME
STREET ADDRESS
CITY, STATE, ZIP

Re: Testimonial

Dear FirstName,

I have a quick favor to ask.

Could you write a brief testimonial that I can add to my list of satisfied clients?

I’m not looking for a novel or anything. Just a few sentences describing your experience with me. Prospective clients don’t care so much about what I say about myself, but they do care what my clients have to say.

On the following page is a blank form for you to jot a few words. When you’re done, you may send me your testimonial via …

Regular postal mail. A self-addressed, stamped envelope is enclosed.
Fax. Our fax # is {your fax #}.
Email. You can scan and email your testimonial to {your email}.

If you are able to do this in the next day or two, that would be awesome.

Thanks so much, FirstName.

{Your Name}

P.S. Enclosed are some testimonials from other clients to give you an idea of what others have written.

Providing a blank client testimonial form printed on paper works great for brick and mortar offices — like medical and dental offices.

For example, many times when patients are checking out at the front desk they’ll say how pleased they are with their experience. That’s when your receptionist can hand them a testimonial form and say, “Would you mind helping us out?” or “May I ask a favor?”

It’s all about being prepared and having a simple system in place.

NOTE: The postal mail template shown above references faxing. That’s because lots of businesses still use fax machines.

Where To Put Testimonials On Your Website

Now that you’ve gathered some client testimonials, where on your website should you put them?

The 3 best places are:

  • Your homepage. Usually the most visited page on any website is the homepage. So why not put testimonials where the most eyeballs will see them.
  • Sidebars. Most (but not all) websites have a sidebar on the right-hand side of the page. Placing testimonials in the sidebar keeps them visible as readers click around your site.
  • A dedicated client testimonial page. Once you start gathering a bunch of testimonials, it’s smart to create a dedicated testimonial page where they all reside. It serves as an important component in obtaining future testimonials (see Requesting Client Testimonials Via Email above). Plus you can direct prospective clients to this page and overwhelm them with praise from current and former clients.

If your website is built with WordPress, a good plugin for managing testimonials and making them look modern and stylish on your site is Thrive Ovation.

Important Things To Know About Getting Client Testimonials

  • You must be proactive. You’ve got to ask clients for testimonials. If you don’t, you’ll only receive a fraction of the testimonials you could otherwise obtain.
  • Always get it in writing. Avoid any legal or privacy issues by making sure you get your client’s written permission to publicly display their testimonial on your website or other marketing material.
  • Create some urgency. It’s human nature to procrastinate. That’s why the sample letters above says “If you are able to do this in the next day or two, that would be awesome.” Without this sentence, your response rate will decrease.
  • Provide examples. This biggest problem clients encounter when writing a testimonial for you is writer’s block. Providing them with examples from other clients helps tremendously.
  • Consider writing a sample testimonial. If you really want a testimonial from a particular client, but you sense they might procrastinate, consider writing a sample testimonial for them. Just tell them, “Here’s an example of what I envision you might say.” If they like it, all they have to do is sign their name to it and you’re done. Easy peasy.
  • Offer an incentive. Certainly it’s not ethical to bribe your clients for positive testimonials. But it’s perfectly acceptable to offer an incentive for taking action. For example, you could offer them a $10 gift card to Starbucks if they get their testimonial back to you by a certain date.
  • Use their first and last name. When appropriate, displaying your client’s first and last name greatly increases the perceived authenticity of their testimonial. However, when privacy is a concern, just use their first name and first letter of their last name.
  • Use a headshot. To boost the perceived authenticity of your client’s testimonial, include their headshot. You can easily snag a headshot from their website or one of their social media profiles.
  • Ask clients to talk about their *experience*. Usually the biggest fear a prospective client has is what it’s like working with you. Therefore, gently guide your clients to talk about their experience as one of your clients.
  • Minor editing is ok. Not every client testimonial will be a Hemingway masterpiece. So it’s ok to edit typos, grammar, run-on sentences, etc. Just keep the essence of your client’s testimonial intact.
  • Ask them to post their testimonial on Google. After your client provides you with their testimonial, ask them if they’d be kind enough to copy/paste their testimonial to your Google My Business profile so it shows up on Google. If you don’t have a Google My Business account set up or don’t know what that is, check out this guide.
  • Get a video testimonial, if possible. Video testimonials are usually more powerful than written testimonials. Most people won’t do video testimonials, but some are fine with it. You won’t know unless you ask. A video testimonial can be a simple 15-30 second video selfie.
  • Don’t pester your clients. Once you send out the testimonial request (either by email or postal mail) your job is done. Either they will or they won’t write you a testimonial. You can follow up with them if you want, but I don’t.
  • Put it on auto-pilot. Integrate this client testimonial process somewhere into your “client flow” checklist. Otherwise, if you have to think about it, it probably won’t get done.

Conclusion

A gaping hole on many websites is client testimonials.

None of us wants to make a bad buying decision, so we rely heavily on the brave souls that have gone before us. How often do you buy something on Amazon without reading reviews?

The secret to gathering client testimonials is (1) Asking, and (2) Having a simple, repeatable process to remove the guesswork and prevent procrastination.

Now go get your clients to brag about you.

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  1. Thanks for the helpful template. It’s exactly what I was looking for. I’ve never felt comfortable asking for client testimonials and your approach will make it much easier.

  2. Hey Mark, all I can say is wow! This is an awesome article and I look forward to clients responding feedback

    No matter if I get 25 or 1 response back, it is well-written and such a powerful way to get testimonials.

    Thank you again.

    – James

    1. Hi Michele. Even for a written testimonial you should somehow get it in writing from your customer/client that you have their permission to use their testimonial on your website and other marketing material. You could have them fill out a form like the one referenced in my article above. Or you could get their permission via a simple email message. But it’s always a good idea to get their permission in writing.

  3. I came across this article while searching unsuccessfully for an answer to a question it seems like you might have some feedback on: When a client gives you a testimonial related to a specific project you did for a company, and then moves on to a different company, do you change the way you refer to them? For example, when they are with the organization – “Jane Doe, CEO, Organization” vs. when they’ve moved on – “Jane Doe, former CEO, Organization”? Or do you leave it as the former, because she was the CEO of the organization when she said whatever is quoted about your project/firm? Thanks in advance for any insights!

    1. Hmmm, that’s a tricky one, Laura. If the testimonial is for work you did while Jane Doe was with her former company, I would probably refer to her as “Jane Doe, former CEO, Organization”. However, if Jane Doe was speaking about her experience in working with your company and her testimonial was not specifically referencing the work you did while she was at her previous company, then I think it would be acceptable to refer to her as “Jane Doe, CEO, Organization”. (Her current organization.)

  4. Hi Mark,
    I feel compelled to tell you I read your post on Sunday evening, emailed current and previous clients that night and, in less that 48 hours, have a 100% response rate from everyone I contacted. Will be (finally) adding client testimonials to my upcoming site redesign.
    Thanks so much for the insight and examples!

  5. What is your opinion on asking clients inside your establishment for video testimonials before previously asking them if this would be ok by phone or email?

    1. Hi Emma. Video testimonials are great if you can get them. Just like with written testimonials, you have to *ask*. The key thing, though, is make sure you get the person in the video to sign a *written release* giving you permission to use their video testimonial.

  6. This has been soooo helpful and right on time.
    …great tips I can use right now.
    I know I always look for reviews and testimonials.
    I will start collecting them from now on!!!

    1. Great! If you’ve been in business for a few years and already have some happy clients, you can use this process to gather a bunch of client testimonials pretty quickly. Just modify the template above and say something like, “Hi. I’m updating my website and I’d like to add a few testimonials from previous clients like yourself …”

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