Ep 50- How to Get Authentic and Useful Testimonials from Coaching Clients

This is a short episode with practical suggestions that work for how to get useful testimonials from clients.

After a 2 episode hiatus, I’m getting back to the Client Winning Coaching Website Series.

Not All Coaching Testimonials Are Useful

Think about what you like to read when you’re considering hiring a professional. A testimonial that reads like this is sweet, but not compelling:

Rhonda is such a great coach. She’s kind and gentle but also tells me the truth when I need to hear it. I always enjoy our sessions and feel energized afterwards. I’ve learned so many things from her. I think every coach should hire Rhonda.

Now, I just made that up but it’s the kind of testimonial I used to get and I stopped posting them because they aren’t helpful.

You want testimonials that have substance

not just ooey gooey praise for you.

People read testimonials to hear results. So good testimonials reveal the tangible and emotional outcomes your client experienced working with you. It’s the before and after picture in words that’s most affective.

Here’s a testimonial from a recent client of mine:

My Strategy Session with Rhonda was a game changer. I’d been overwhelmed by all the information out there for coaches and was essentially taking no action. My confidence was at a low. I had no clients, was earning no money, and had no idea who I was trying to serve. In our session, Rhonda helped me identify a target audience that I’m truly excited to work with and take ownership of what I bring to the table. It was so productive and confidence building that I invested in Rhonda’s private business coaching program to build a business around my new niche. I’ve accomplished more in 5 months with Rhonda’s help than I imagined possible. I now have a clear path forward!

– Kate Minogue, Basel, Switzerland

Thank you for that, Kate!

Can you hear the difference between those two testimonials? It’s not just than one was longer. There was a clear picture of transformation in it with specific results.

Super long testimonials aren’t as useful as short ones. A guideline is 75 – 100 words. But even a one sentence testimonial can be impactful.

Where Should You Put Testimonials from Coaching Clients?

Your coaching website of course. I recommend that once you have 3 great testimonials, put up a What Clients Say page on your website. Check out mine at prosperouscoachblog.com/what-clients-say

But there are other places where testimonials will help you.

  1. Put an excellent testimonial in the pre-Discovery Session email you send out inviting a prospect to have that free conversation with you.
  • If you have a blog, podcast or other type of steady-drip generosity, put a testimonial for it in the confirmation email after they opt-in. Yes, it’s good to have testimonials after prospects engage.
  • If you use multiple lead generation offers, also called freebies, make sure you have 1 – 3 in each of those.
  • If you have an online training program or webinar, add in a well placed testimonial or two, or ten.
  • If you’re using LinkedIn, they have an excellent process for getting testimonials — what they call Recommendations — on your profile. And those recommendations go a long way to helping you attract clients through LinkedIn. You can copy that recommendation into your website also.

The best thing to do is pepper testimonials all over the place.

In fact, I’m going to model that just now …

A shout out to Christy who recently wrote to me to share:

“Accolades for such a job well done on your podcast and your Facebook community. You take generosity marketing to the level that I hope to one day.”

Thank you, Christy!

Cultivate Social Proof in A Non-Salesy Way

Gently let people know that your services are valued. You don’t have to be salesy about it. Use appreciation as a way of connecting instead.

You’ve heard of social proof. Social networking brought us that in spades. When someone responds to your posts, you get social proof. And, if someone writes to thank you, put that out into world. It actually inspires more appreciation.

Gratitude is good for everyone.

Now, if you’ve got a new-ish coaching business you might not yet have testimonials. That’s okay.

Don’t put testimonials on your website until you have at least 3 to put up there. Include photos of your clients and their name & city if they’ll let you. If you have a sensitive niche, you may not be able to do this.

Build in Opportunities for Coaching Clients to Give You Feedback

The main point I encourage you to take away from this episode is be active about getting testimonials. Ask for them in several ways and not just at the end of your time with clients.

I’m embarrassed to say that in my first five years as a coach I was not good about asking for testimonials from my clients. I had the mistaken belief that if they appreciated our work together they would just naturally give me a testimonial.

But later I heard from more experienced coaches that that’s rarely the case.

People have so much on their minds. They may love you and your coaching but if you don’t ask them for their testimonial, it may never arrive.

These days my clients are continuously giving me testimonials. It’s not because I’m so great. It’s because I ask them to notice their accomplishments. They deserve the accolades.

I’ve built it into my Session Prep template and the sessions themselves by asking directly for feedback.

By the time a client is finished with my VIP program, I have captured how they feel about their accomplishments in their words many times over for all the phases of work we do together.

Their accomplishments are social proof. They are results.

When I’m close to finishing with a client, I let them know that I’d like a testimonial if they feel good about it. To make it easy for them I pull together all the previous statements that they wrote in the Session Preps and that they shared in our private sessions. I send them an email with my request and those statements.

What that does is makes the process easier for them. They can then use or not use the previous statements they’ve made. It might spark memories or feelings about their accomplishments too.

Now, what could YOU put in place right now that would help you seed and cultivate authentic and highly useable testimonials from your clients?