My #1 Secret to Getting Amazing Client Testimonials
Before I share my secret, let me first point out how important it is to actually have testimonials in the first place. To have a real life client say how great it was to work with you and to be able to include this in your marketing materials, is absolute gold. Testimonials inspire trust in your services from the mouths of real people. They create credibility for you and your services. Plus let’s be real, it’s a nice ego boost. The majority of lawyers do not ask for them and as a result they are not used on law firm’s websites, social media or in their proposals.
If you are a lawyer in a law firm and your firm is not posting testimonials, keep reading. This applies to you too. You can use them on your LinkedIn profile (more details on that below). You can keep them on file so that if you are pitching for new work, you can use them in your proposal. And if you are seeking a new job, you can include them in your application package. It’s a great idea to get in the habit of asking for them.
It’s not enough to just ask a client “Will you write a testimonial for my services”. First, ask yourself, what can this client add to a testimonial about my services? What problem did they come to you with and how did you help solve it? Even things as simple as having a quick turnaround time or always being available to jump on a call can go a long way. And of course, if you got them out of a first degree murder charge, you may want to mention that in your materials (sarcasm noted here. Also more information on anonymous testimonials is set out below).
What specifically did you do for that particular client that they can attest to?
The Big Secret
So here it is. My secret to getting amazing client testimonials: make it as easy as possible for clients to write them for you. When you know what you would like a particular client to say about you in their testimonial, ask them. To make it even easier, write the first draft of the testimonial for them. That’s right, you write precisely what you want them to say. Then send them the draft language and ask if they would be comfortable with it.
I often would send clients a note like the following:
How are you? I hope that all is well!
I really enjoyed working with you on the ABC file. It was so great to get to know you and your team. I was wondering if you would mind writing a testimonial that I could use on [insert how you will use it, social media, website, marketing materials] about our work together. It would really go a long way to help support my practice.
I know that you are busy so I took the liberty of putting together an initial draft for your consideration. Feel free to edit it as you see fit.
[Insert draft testimonial exactly as you would like it written]
Thanks so much for your consideration and let me know if you have any questions”.
95% of the time that I send a message like this, they either accept the draft as is, or edit it to make it even better.
When drafting the testimonial, make sure that you are not being dishonest. You don’t want to pull this out of thin air or stretch the truth. If they have said certain things to you about how they have enjoyed working with you, summarize those in the draft testimonial.
And don’t forget to ask for their permission to use it everywhere you intend to use it. You could ask for blanket permission or name the specific places where it will be used. It’s not worth severing a client relationship by posting their name to something they haven’t agreed to.
When to Ask for the Testimonial
Hit them up when you know that they are happy with your work. Typically this is at the end of the file.
If the client sends you an unsolicited email saying how happy they are with your services, that is when you should reach out to them. A simple note saying “Thanks so much for your email. Would you mind if I used this as a testimonial that I could include on [insert how you will use it, social media, website, marketing materials]? If so, I suggest the following language (and feel free to edit it accordingly) [insert the language that may have to be tweaked from their email].”
Some lawyers include a link in their invoices where clients can leave their feedback on the services provided. If you do this and someone leaves positive feedback, that becomes the content of your testimonial.
What if the Client Wants to Remain Anonymous?
In certain practice areas, clients aren’t chomping at the bit to provide their name publicly. Think criminal law and family law. If I’m charged with a crime and my lawyer was able to drop all charges, you can bet I would be so grateful for their services. But I wouldn’t be so grateful that I would want everyone to know that I had been charged with burglary. So the next best thing for these types of testimonials is to include the person’s information anonymously. It could be something like “Amy from Ottawa, Ontario” or “A.G. from Ottawa, Ontario” Or “Amy from Ontario”. Something is better than nothing. When asking for testimonials from these type of clients, provide them with examples of how they could include their name but still remain anonymous.
After you send the request to the client requesting the testimonial, set a reminder to follow up with them in approximately one week. Just because you don’t hear from them does not mean the answer is no. They may be busy, forgot your email, haven’t had a chance to do it yet.
Don’t forget about LinkedIn
LinkedIn has a “Recommendations” feature where you can give and receive recommendations. The great thing about this feature is that it is tied to the client’s LinkedIn profile. So when someone provides a recommendation, you can see exactly who it is from.
To request someone leave you a recommendation on LinkedIn, head to the bottom of your profile. Simply click on the link that says “Ask for a recommendation”.
Instead of using LinkedIn’s suggested wording of “Could you write me a recommendation”, personalize this request. If you already have the testimonial language finalized with your client you could say something like this:
“Hi [Client name],
Thanks so much for providing your testimonial. Would you mind recommending me on LinkedIn as well? I have pasted the language that we finalized below so that all you have to do is accept it. Thanks so much!
[Insert final language of testimonial].”
Just by asking for testimonials, you are setting yourself apart from other lawyers. Make sure to use them when you get them. They are free marketing that are arguably more valuable than paid marketing.
Do you ask for testimonials in your practice? Let me know in the comments what works for you!
I was trained on Bay Street and worked in Big Law for nearly a decade before going solo. I now help other solo/small firm lawyers launch and build their practices, through 1:1 consulting. I help lawyers implement a marketing strategy, hire help, overcome mindset blocks and build a profitable firm that suits their lifestyle. Interested in learning more? Check out my services page.