How-To Get Clients To Do Testimonials

Want to set yourself apart from your competitors? Produce high-quality video testimonials. They’re effective and not many businesses create them.

Why not? What clients tell me is it’s awkward asking people to brag about them. Well, I think I can help make that conversation a little easier.

Ask the right people

It starts with who you ask. It should go without saying, but the only people you want to ask are people you have a great relationship with. The clients who love you and what you do.

It doesn’t matter to me whether it’s a one-time client or someone you do ongoing business with. Every client is valued, but we all know who our special clients are.

The person you email or call about doing a video testimonial should be someone… well… someone who won’t hesitate at all to do it.

The reason you’re asking this specific person is because of the comfort level you share with them. They’ll be happy to do it because they like you.

That said, keep the relationship comfortable and respectful by offering them an out. Ask if they’d like to participate, but also let them know you’ll understand… and it won’t damage the relationship… if they can’t.

Chances are they’ll be flattered you trust them enough to include them in your marketing effort.

Why give them an out? There’s always a possibility they won’t do it because it’s their company’s policy not to endorse another business. If that’s the case, oh well. There’s nothing either of you can do about that.

There could be other reasons they don’t want to do it, but you might be able to head them off at the pass by minimizing their concerns during the initial ask.

Selling testimonials to the client

Make it clear their business will benefit from the testimonial. You can do this by centering the video around their business and not yours.

Explain it this way… you’ll produce a short video featuring their company, then about two-thirds of the way through you’ll have them highlight what it is exactly you do to help them. It’s two-thirds them… one-third you.

We’re big believers in this technique, and if you want more details please check out our post on how-to to produce better testimonial videos.

Next, make sure they understand who will be getting the video. How many people are being targeted and how you will share it.

Remind them while it’s an endorsement for you, it’s also a free commercial for their business. You’re putting their company in front of all of your prospects.

Make it convenient for them

One of the tough parts about producing a testimonial video is simply scheduling the shoot. It’s one thing setting time aside at your business to shoot something, it’s a little more complicated dealing with another company’s calendar.

The trick to this one is simply managing your own expectations. You might want to shoot it next week, your client might not have time until next month.

Remember, you’re on their schedule. They’re the ones doing you a favor, so take what you can get, be flexible, and be gracious about it.

It’s probably not a bad idea to make sure they know how flexible you are, and your willingness to make it work for their schedule. Remove all roadblocks.

Communication is key

The more your contact knows and understands about what’s going to happen, the more willing he or she is to participate. If you have an idea of what the basic story will sound like, share it with the person or people who are going to star in the testimonial.

I don’t recommend giving them the questions that will be asked, but instead give them a general idea of what they’ll be asked about. Here’s what it might sound like…

We’re going to have someone there to interview you.  They’ll ask you about your business… who you are… what you do… what sets you apart from the competition… stuff like that. They’ll also ask about our company… the product/service we provide to you… how it’s working for you. Nothing complicated.

If your client wants to know more, get your video producer involved in this discussion. Loop them in on a conference call, or simply have your producer reach out to that client. The idea is to make them comfortable with the process.

Script and final editing approval

You also have the option of giving your client script and final editing approval. This depends on how much control you’re willing to give up over your video.

I will say in most cases I’ve run across, granting that client some form of approval is a good idea and it has never turned out poorly. As long as the video is truthful and you honor their participation, they’ll most likely love the video.

That said, you can offer script and/or final editing approval from the start, hold on to it unless they ask for it, or maybe it’s a deal-breaker and you rather not give-up that control at all. It’s up to you.

What not to do

All of these suggestions are good ideas. You know what isn’t… buying your video testimonials. I don’t mean hiring a production company to create a professional video. That’s a GREAT idea. No, what I mean is don’t hire one of these companies out there offering testimonials for cash.

You pick one of their actors… provide a script… and presto!… they send you your video testimonial.

It’s a BAD idea. HELLO… don’t lie to people! I suppose you could compile some real quotes and have the actors perform them, but it’s still misleading at best.

Wrapping-up

Video testimonials are awesome. You can make them in a way that’s marketing without sounding like marketing. Clients who do a testimonial for you get added publicity for themselves. And last but not least, real people telling viewers that they like you is simply a powerful message.

Can it be awkward or difficult asking a client to take part? Sure. Is it worth it? You bet.

–Tony Gnau

Tony Gnau - T60 ProductionsTony Gnau is a three-time Emmy-winning journalist. He is also the founder and chief storytelling officer at T60 Productions. T60 has won 15 Telly Awards for its work.

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