15 Tips Small-Business Entrepreneurs Should Keep in Mind When Asking for Testimonials

video testimonial

The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

1. Ask Upfront 

Krish ChopraI ask many of our customers during an initial conversation for a testimonial if we do a great job. Everyone will always say “yes,” so when the time comes you have a reference point of a soft commitment. Additionally, it reaffirms our commitment to put our customers first so they have a great experience. – Krish ChopraNurse Practitioner Clinical Rotations 

2. Be Concise 

JaredBrownWhen asking for a testimonial, no need to ramble on and on before getting to the point. Keep in mind that time is valuable, and you don’t want to annoy people with a drawn-out request. Keep things short and to the point, let them know that you value their opinion, and direct them to where they should go to write a short review, plain and simple. – Jared BrownHubstaff Talent 

3. Come From a Place of Gratitude, Not Pressure 

Rachel BeiderWhen we ask clients for a testimonial, we let them know how much it means to us. Every review has the ability to really help our small business grow and is so impactful to the company. “Your review would really mean a lot to us, we are so thankful that you’re considering it” goes a long way. – Rachel BeiderMassage Greenpoint, Massage Williamsburg 

4. Find Your Quantifier 

Kenny NguyenExplain metrics. When it comes to testimonials, you need to find a way to quantify what you did for a business to justify their spending. We live in a world where people have more information at their fingertips more than ever, and finding ways to prove we do what we do will only help our cause. – Kenny NguyenBig Fish Presentations 

5. Show Your Appreciation 

Cynthia JohnsonTell them “thank you” for taking the time to do the testimonial and give them something after they have done it, like a discount or other promotion. Wait until after so it doesn’t seem like you are buying that testimonial.- Cynthia JohnsonIpseity Media 

6. Offer Past Testimonials to Motivate and Guide 

Piyush JainIt’s not always easy to get a testimonial, even from a happy client. We show them our past testimonials to motivate, as well as to make it easier on how to word the testimonials. We show them both the video and text testimonials. A video testimonial is always better. Sometimes we have to follow up several times to get it, but the client will provide it as long as you pursue it. – Piyush JainSIMpalm 

7. Make It Easy for Yourself 

Zev HermanFrom my experience, I think the best way to ask for testimonials is to use what people are already saying, like when your team finishes a project and the client can’t stop raving about how wonderful your team and their work is. That’s the ideal time to ask, “Would you mind if we write this down?” Obtaining outstanding testimonials is only as tough as you make it.  – Zev HermanSuperior Lighting 

8. Request a Video Testimonial 

Shawn PoratNot everyone is comfortable giving a video testimonial, but the immense value makes it worthwhile to ask. Let them know that it doesn’t have to be long: It usually only takes a couple of minutes to give a summary of their experience. When people can see a satisfied customer talking into the camera, it’s much more persuasive than text. Let them know a written testimonial is fine as well, of course.- Shawn PoratScorely 

9. Make the Request Personal 

Mark KrassnerWhen reaching out to users for testimonials, we’ve had big success when the request comes directly from me or from our community guide and has a personal touch. Perhaps you mention their state, number of logins or some unique piece of data they’ve shared when they signed up. Aside from being more likely to get a testimonial, your customer will feel more connected with your brand. – Mark KrassnerExpectful 

10. Look for Honesty 

Blair ThomasMany times, business owners view testimonials as a free review of their product or service, and so they tend to approach negative testimonials as detractors. The reality is, the more honest the insight from your consumer, the more constructive and helpful the testimonial is for you and your company. Testimonials should be honest, candid and help your company learn and grow. – Blair ThomaseMerchantBroker

11. Know When and Where to Ask 

Dan GoldenKnow when and where to ask for a testimonial. Use a data-driven method with a platform like CLIENTpulse to know where your best and happiest customers are. Asking for a testimonial at the wrong time could sound tone deaf and hurt your relationship. Then, once you receive a testimonial, send a thank you card or do something out of the ordinary to show your appreciation. – Dan GoldenBFO (Be Found Online)

12. Have the Right Group Make the Request 

Roger LeeWhoever communicated with the customer last or most frequently, such as an account manager or customer support employee, should be the one requesting the testimonial. When a CEO or marketing person emails out of the blue, it seems very one-sided: You’ve never talked to them before, and the first thing you ask for is a favor. There’s no need to dilute the goodwill they’ve already naturally built with someone else. – Roger LeeCaptain401 

13. Offer Incentives for Photos 

Diego OrjuelaWhen a testimonial is accompanied by a photo of the person who sent it, the text will have a much higher conversion rate than one without a photo. Offer incentives to people to send in testimonials along with a photograph. We offer $20 gift cards to customers who include a photo along with their testimonial and make it easy asking if we can use their Facebook profile pic.- Diego OrjuelaCables & Sensors 

14. Use One of Their Online Reviews 

Jared AtchisonAsk your customer if you could publish their online review of your product on your site. Paste the review in the email to make it easy for them to remember and mention their business in the signature of the testimonial. – Jared AtchisonWPForms

15. Offer Pre-Written Testimonials for Them to Edit or Approve 

Christopher SwenorThe best way to get a few testimonials is to make it easy by offering to prepare them for your customers. Reach out to a few power users or loyal customers and ask if they would be willing to provide a testimonial or approve a pre-written one. If it’s easy, they will be more inclined to help. – Christopher SwenorEast Coast Product 

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The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.