Select Page

The Art of the Testimonial

by | May 20, 2010

How to Use Customer Concerns to Build Your Business: The Art of the Testimonial

A few weeks ago I read a great article by Sean D’Sousa which distilled the process of collecting testimonials into 6 simple steps. That’s when I discovered the critical mistake everyone makes when asking for testimonials. We expect our customers to know what to say!

Have you ever asked a happy customer for a testimonial and then thought, “now how do I turn this one-line sugary endorsement into something people will believe?” The question is how do we ask our customers to provide a useful recommendation without so much coaching that we’re practically holding the pen?

As a designer, clients come to me for creative solutions to their problems. Sometimes I design the solution, such as a new logo or ad campaign, and sometimes I give creative direction or instructions which empowers them to find their own solutions. Either way there is guidance. So why did I expect my customers to give me glowing testimonials with no more guidance than a blank sheet of paper and polite request?

A testimonial is a work of art. Who makes art? Craftsmen. And every happy customer has the ability to craft an expert testimonial for you with a few simple instructions.

In his article, Six Questions to Ask for Powerful Testimonials, D’Sousa creates a basic road map any business can use to guide their clients toward creating useful, honest testimonials. These 6 questions are the perfect solution. And if you ask me, the first question is the most important of all. It’s the key that turns your customer’s concerns into your greatest strength.
6 Questions for Better Testimonials
  1. What was the obstacle that would have prevented you from buying this product?
  2. What did you find as a result of buying this product?
  3. What specific feature did you like most about this product?
  4. What would be three other benefits about this product?
  5. Would you recommend this product? If so, why?
  6. Is there anything you’d like to add?

Why start with a Negative comment to elicit a Positive response?

Because every potential customer has concerns about trying a new product or service. Whether it’s price, location, durability, or any number of nit-picky factors that were considered – at one time they stood on the tipping point weighing the options. So why do you want them to voice their concerns here, in the middle of your stellar testimonial? Because pointing out their biggest reservation connects this customer to your potential customer. And more importantly, they’re about to put those reservations aside and expose the golden truth. Your product is great!

The rest of the questions take turns drawing out the best features of your product through the eyes of your client. This basic structure allows them to craft a personal, honest testimonial that really works.

Testimonials can be a powerful tool in attracting new customers – when executed correctly. Try this new approach and see what a difference it makes. And then let me know in the comments.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

16 − 4 =

About the Author

Brandy Wheeler

Brandy Wheeler is the Creative Director and right-brained partner at Visitors Media. She’s a pysanky-making figure skater with a knack for finding Petoskey stones at the beach. Armed with an Albion College degree in visual art and 25 years of experience in graphic design and marketing she loves to share her expertise in writing. You can also find her on-camera as the founder and voice of the Traverse Traveler brand.

Here are a few related posts to check out for more information.