The Most Essential Element of a Great Testimonial
While we are grateful for any client affirmation of our work, what makes for a great testimonial, one which is most effective? One word: pain. Specifically, the client’s pain and dysfunction before our intervention.
John Ray: [00:00:00] Hello. I’m John Ray on the Price and Value Journey. What’s the one essential element of a great testimonial? Every great testimonial involves pain. It’s the pain that you, as the professional services provider, freed your client from. I was reminded of this recently when I received a note from one of my North Fulton Business Radio guests, that’s one of the shows that I host. The note said, “I was so nervous wondering what I was going to say that I almost canceled. You made me forget I was on the show. We were just having a conversation, and it was so easy. Thank you so much for making my appearance so enjoyable.”
Now, imagine if the note had simply said, instead of what I just read, imagine if it had said the following, “You made me forget I was on the show. We were just having a conversation, and it was so easy. Thank you so much for making my appearance so enjoyable.” Now, the powerful testimonial that I read to begin with has been neutered somewhat. It’s now a nice compliment, nice to have, and these words feel good, but there’s something missing in the words that I read without referencing the pain. It’s the pain.
Let me read those original comments again. “I was so nervous wondering what I was going to say that I almost canceled. You made me forget I was on the show. We were just having a conversation, and it was so easy. Thank you so much for making my appearance so enjoyable.”
Stage fright is agonizing, and the nervousness of wondering whether you’ll say the right thing about your business involves a lot of angst and personal second guessing before that interview, speech or elevator pitch, whatever you’re delivering. This person lit up a fear many can identify with, and that gives that note a much greater impact.
Great testimonials are client-centered. They’re not centered on us as the services professional. Comments that I might receive about my show like, “John, you’re such a great host,” or “You’re so wonderful or a great guy,” well, they’re the skim milk, I’d call it, of testimonials. The skim milk version of testimonials. They might make me feel good, but the point of getting testimonials isn’t about me, unless the principal concern in my business is buffing up my own self-image instead of building the bottom line.
The reason you want testimonials is to help prospective clients who read them understand the pain you can deliver them from. You want others to read that testimonial and self-identify. Bottom line, it’s about them. Any endorsement you receive from a client is a precious gift you should be grateful for. And sometimes, it’s impossible to control what’s said when you are privileged to get a testimonial that’s unsolicited.
When you’re able to ask for an endorsement, though, ask your client to recall the pain they were in before you fix their problem and how their business and life has changed because of your involvement. The more specific the problem, ‘My sales were down 25%,” let’s say. And then the results, “My sales are now at an all time high and I’m not working 12-hour days,” the more those results are stated, the better.
The best testimonials are mostly about the client’s journey to a better business and life, and, yes, the role you played in that journey. But the emphasis is on the client. They’re the hero. It’s about them. And it starts with their pain. That’s the one essential element of a great testimonial.
I’m John Ray on the Price and Value Journey. Our show series can be found at PriceValueJourney.com or on your favorite podcast app. And we would be honored if you’d subscribe to the show and give us feedback along the way. You can email me at John@JohnRay.co. Thank you for joining me.
About The Price and Value Journey
The title of this show describes the journey all professional services providers are on: building a services practice by seeking to convince the world of the value we offer, helping clients achieve the outcomes they desire and trying to do all that at pricing which reflects the value we deliver.
If you feel like you’re working too hard for too little money in your solo or small firm practice, this show is for you. Even if you’re reasonably happy with your practice, you’ll hear ways to improve both your bottom line as well as the mindset you bring to your business.
John Ray, Host of The Price and Value Journey
John Ray is the host of The Price and Value Journey.
John owns Ray Business Advisors, a business advisory practice. John’s services include advising solopreneur and small professional services firms on their pricing. John is passionate about the power of pricing for business owners, as changing pricing is the fastest way to change the profitability of a business. His clients are professionals who are selling their “grey matter,” such as attorneys, CPAs, accountants and bookkeepers, consultants, marketing professionals, and other professional services practitioners.
In his other business, John is a Studio Owner, Producer, and Show Host with Business RadioX®, and works with business owners who want to do their own podcast. As a veteran B2B services provider, John’s special sauce is coaching B2B professionals to use a podcast to build relationships in a non-salesy way which translate into revenue.
John is the host of North Fulton Business Radio, Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Radio, Alpharetta Tech Talk, and Business Leaders Radio. house shows which feature a wide range of business leaders and companies. John has hosted and/or produced over 1,300 podcast episodes.