Think about the person who will win BIG if she hires you as her Life Coach. Let’s call this person your Ideal Client.
Now, do you suppose your Ideal Client has ever been hurt, burned, disappointed, or ripped off by another human being? Of course.
And do you suppose she enjoyed it? Of course not!
So she became careful. Cautious. She put up a psychological Wall so it wouldn’t happen again. The Wall protects her from being hurt by people she doesn’t know or trust.
… even people like you who sincerely want to help her.
So your messages crash into her Wall and set off alarms, followed by a set involuntary questions that start splashing through her mind:
The whole process takes just a few seconds, and it usually ends with a final “I don’t have time for this.”
Then she’s gone.
She didn’t even give you a chance to help her become the person she could — and should — become.
So you really have to deal with that Wall.
… maybe scamper around it.
… or pile stuff in front and climb over it.
… or somehow blast through it.
And that’s where testimonials come in.
Testimonials are like Sledge Hammers
Testimonials smash right through her psychological Wall by answering the questions romping through her mind. Here’s what I mean…
She asks, “Why should I believe you?”
Your testimonial answers, “Because someone else who’s a lot like you had the same problems you have, and this Life Coach helped her solve them!”
She asks, “What are you selling?”
Your testimonial answers, “Results. Proven solutions to your pesky problems.”
She asks, “What’s in it for me?”
Your testimonial answers, “Success. Freedom from your aggravating, frustrating circumstances. I mean, do you really want to be like this for the rest of your life?”
She asks, “What’s this going to cost me?”
Your testimonial answers, “Do you really care? Listen, I’m offering you a way out, and you know this is what you’ve been searching for. The cost of doing nothing is so much greater.”
And the Wall crumbles.
But here’s the beauty of it. You didn’t have to do any work to tear down that Wall!
See that guy in the picture at the top of this page? He’s driving his testimonial into your Ideal Client’s Wall, punching through it and ripping it apart. He and his testimonial are doing all the work!
All you have to do is find the right person with the right testimonial and put them in the right place at the right time. He — and his testimonial — do all the work for you.
We call this “social proof,” and there are two parts to it.
First, it means when other people behave in a certain way in an ambiguous situation, we infer their behavior to be acceptable.
And second, social proof leads us to copy their behavior so we remain socially acceptable in that situation.
In other words, when other people do something a certain way, social proof says it’s safe for us to do it the same way.
Social Proof in Action
You experience social proof for yourself when you read online reviews before buying a product.
In fact, a 2016 consumer survey from BrightLocal tells us these two stories:
- 74% of consumers say positive reviews make them trust a local business more.
- 84% of people trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation.
Wow. Let that sink in …
3 out of 4 people will trust you more because of the testimonial of a complete stranger!
17 out of 20 trust the word of your delighted client as much as they trust the word of their best friends!
Here, let me give you three examples of what testimonials have done for others:
- When Express Watches updated their website by replacing a “Why buy from Express Watches?” box with a box containing customer reviews, sales increased 58%.
- When WikiJobs added three simple testimonials to their website, conversions jumped 34%.
- When a consumer credit counseling service added one written testimonial to their sign-up page, conversions went up 25%. And when they changed the written testimonial to a video testimonial, conversions were 201% higher than the page with no testimonials.
Can you afford to miss out on the proven power of testimonials? They add credibility, build trust, and help overcome skepticism. They tear down Walls!
How to Get Testimonials
Okay, you’re convinced you need testimonials. Now how do you get them?
Ask for them!
It really is that simple. Make this a routine part of your coaching business.
Say to your client, “Tammy, could I send you some questions for feedback? Would you mind answering them for me?”
But notice, you’re not asking for a testimonial. You’re asking for feedback. There are two reasons for this.
First, as a professional Life Coach, you need this candid, thoughtful information from your best clients so you can learn what you’re doing right and what you can do better. Then you adjust your strategies and practices, and you’re a better coach.
And second, it’s easier for your clients to answer your simple feedback questions than to work at finding all the right words for an official, ready-for-the-world-to-see testimonial. This works best when it’s easy for your clients.
Anyway, after Tammy agrees to your request for feedback, send her a form that includes fill-in-the-blank prompts. The questions will help Tammy remember and articulate her experience with you. (If you’d like the feedback form I use, you can request it at the bottom of this post.)
Oh, and you’ll have better success if you do this while you’re still coaching Tammy. Try to ask at least 3 weeks before the end of your coaching relationship. Because at this point, you are top-of-mind for Tammy and she’s highly aware of the changes and the optimism she’s experiencing. If you wait until after you’re done coaching her, she’ll be busy with other things and may never get around to replying.
And here’s a second idea for getting testimonials. Review every email you’ve received from Tammy. Look for every statement that captures an aspect of your coaching you want to emphasize. Copy-paste those statements into a separate document.
Okay, so let’s say you’ve completed these two tasks and collected Tammy’s feedback and other thoughts from her emails. The next step is to cut and paste her comments into a testimonial … and this is by far the most important part of the process.
Because the content of your testimonials shapes the thoughts and impressions of your Ideal Client, telling her what she can expect when she hires you as her Life Coach.
So make sure you carefully choose the content of Tammy’s testimonial.
How to Craft the Best Testimonials
The best testimonials are not necessarily the most exciting, or the most entertaining, or even the most memorable.
They’re the best because they work … like a sledge hammer in the hands of our muscular and determined friend above.
In the end, both you and your Ideal Client win when your testimonials do these four things:
1. Connect with your Ideal Client
Remember, your Ideal Client doesn’t know you. So naturally, he’s suspicious. Guarded.
And yet at the same time, he’s hopeful. He’s looking for someone with answers to his tough questions, and he’s really hoping YOU are that someone.
Because he’s tired of being where he’s at, and he desperately wants to figure out how to get where he wants to be. And the sooner, the better.
So make sure your testimonial says, “I am EXACTLY the Life Coach you’re searching for. If you make a commitment to me, I’ll make a commitment to you. Together, we’ll get you out of this rut and into the life you’ve been hoping for.”
And to say all that, your testimonial must be from someone who is similar to the Ideal Client you’re trying to reach. Otherwise, why would he care?
For example, if your Ideal Client is a 20-something city dweller who wants to be a successful freelance photographer, you’ll lose him if your testimonial celebrates your ability to launch effective conflict resolution programs for corporate Human Resources departments. That’s not at all what he’s looking for in a coach.
So make sure the testimonial connects with him by invoking social proof that “someone just like me” succeeded under your coaching. This is where a credible, unbiased “someone else” answers his questions and tears down his Wall.
2. Prove your value through at least one specific benefit your Ideal Client seeks
It’s your job to know the various victories your Ideal Client is looking for. It’s your testimonial’s job to prove you can help your Ideal Client win those victories.
I wonder if you’ve heard this quote from Robert Collier, a copywriter and insightful marketer from the early-to-mid 1900s:
“Always enter the conversation already taking place in the customer’s mind.”
This is what your testimonial must do if it’s going to be effective. It must address some problem or frustration your Ideal Client is already thinking about.
But then it has to go a step further and convince your Ideal Client you can solve his problem and end his frustration.
Truth is, your best prospect is looking for proof that you can really help him. If he’s not looking for proof, he doesn’t know what he really wants. He’ll be a shallow, uncommitted client who frustrates you.
So make sure your testimonial proves something he’s looking for, like …
- WHY your client is happy with your coaching, or
- WHAT your client accomplished through your coaching, or
- HOW your coaching improved your client’s life
Also, I need to emphasize the word “specific.” Vague doesn’t inspire. It means nothing to us.
So avoid testimonials like:
“Wow, you are so great and I am so happy!!”
Instead, look for statements that give your Ideal Client at least one victory he’s searching for. Here’s a good example:
“For two years, I couldn’t get any traction with my startup, but after six weeks of Jamie’s coaching, I have a business plan, funding, and unstoppable momentum.”
3. Stir Emotions that Activate Imagination
Try to craft a testimonial that helps your Ideal Client see himself living in a better future. Remember, he knows where he is, and he knows for sure he does NOT want to stay there.
And that’s exactly the type of determination that will make him an eager, cooperative client.
So choose words and phrases and sentiments that provoke hope, gratification, and deep fulfillment.
Choose words and phrases that make it easy for him to imagine himself free from today’s annoying roadblocks and living the full life he knows, deep down, is awaiting him.
In short, craft a testimonial that inspires him.
4. Project Integrity
I’ll say it again. Your Ideal Client doesn’t know you, so he’s suspicious and guarded.
In fact, he’s fully aware of the hustlers and lying jerks among us. He doesn’t want to be taken.
He wants to trust you (because, again, he’s hoping YOU can help him solve his problems), but he’s on the lookout for signs of deception … like a fake testimonial
So build valuable trust right now by making sure your testimonial is above all suspicion.
- Do NOT change any of the words your client gave you. Your Ideal Client can tell the difference between the calculated words of a marketer and the real words of a customer.
- Provide details like your client’s:
- full name (Margaret Eastman, not Margaret E)
- job title, if relevant
- city and state
Let’s get back to Tammy now…
After you’ve crafted your best testimonial from her feedback and email comments, send her another email, thanking her for replying. Tell her you created a testimonial from her comments and suggestions, and that you’d like to post it on your website if it’s okay with her.
Invite her to edit it so she’s comfortable with the testimonial. Ask her for permission to use her full name, city and state. And ask her to send a photograph, because there’s plenty of evidence that photos add credibility to a testimonial.
What to do With Testimonials
Once you have testimonials, sprinkle them throughout your website. Put one or two on your Home page. Put one or two on your About page. Put one or two on your Contact page. If you’ve got 10 or more, create a “Testimonials” page on your site.
Put those testimonials to work for you and knock down that Wall!
And listen, would you consider sharing your experience below? If you’re aware of how a specific testimonial helped influence someone to work with you, please let me and your fellow-readers know about it. It’s always encouraging to hear a success story, yes?
I hope I’ve given you information and motivation to collect and share testimonials. If you’d like, I’ll be glad to send you the one-page Client Testimonial Form template from my book. Just fill out this simple form and I’ll send it to you right now:
Are you ready to take the next step? Our book, 7 Steps to a Potent, Profitable Web Presence for Your Life Coaching Business, gives you top tips and tools to create a profitable coaching business. Or you can contact us to start crafting your strategy for a more successful coaching business. We’re excited to help you help more people, starting today.