Blog Ramblings

What Questions Should I Ask in a Testimonial?

March 7, 2013 | by Dan Kraus

customer-testimonials.jpgIn teaching at our Marketing & Sales Academy last week, I was speaking about testimonials and how to capture them on video for multiple purposes.  We were talking about how to ask a client to participate in the process, but a more basic question came up - what should I ask them to say.

This will, I'm sure, become a series of related posts, but for starters...

What Questions should I ask in a testimonial?

Always ask:

  • What's your name, company and position?

Consider asking; in the following order: 

  • Why did you decide to do business with us?
  • What are our strengths?
  • What have we done for you that others don’t or haven’t in the past?
  • What have we done that made the biggest difference for you?
  • Did you have any concerns before going to do business with us?
  • How were those concerns put at ease for you?
  • What would you tell someone considering (your service/product)?

And always ask: 

  • Anything else you would like to add?

A couple of notes about these questions-

Should I send my client questions ahead of time?

No.  Don't.  You want their initial reaction and if needed, let them talk it through on camera.  You'll get more honest responses (and it shows that way in video). You can always clean it up through editing.

Do testimonial questions have to be done via video recording? 

Not always.  I could certainly see if your primary clients are vampires (which tend not to reflect well on camera) not using video.  Generally however, a video testimonial is far more believable as "authentic" than a audio testimonial, which is far more authentic than a written testimonial which is better than none at all-  Which indeed is better than a made up testimonial.   At this point, most of the population is rather cynical about most marketing, so we've gotten really good at sniffing out fake testimonials.  And that loss of trust is far more devastating than not having any testimonials at all.

What if my client is afraid on how they will look on camera? 

When I shoot a testimonial video, I always offer the following deal:  If you want me to take down the video for any reason, I'm happy to do that ASAP- just E-mail me and it will be down within 24 hours.  You'll see the video once it's edited before it even goes live- are you ok with that?

I've yet to hear someone tell me "no" with that offer.  I have had people ask to not use the video- that's ok- I still have the transcription and/or audio- with permission to use it.  And I've had a couple of people ask to edit the transcription- which is ok, because we edited it together and, in both cases, if I asked for a written testimonial I'm fairly sure I would have gotten it tomorrow.

One last thing, while you can use a smartphone for capturing video, consider getting a small single-purpose pocket video camera for this (they are under $100) that will accept a small tripod.  You'll get steadier video.  Put the camera and tripod in your briefcase/backpack/purse and keep it with you at all times.  You are more likely to get a client to participate in the testimonial processes when you ask them and capture the video in a the same session.

Read our related post - 7 Tips for Better Video

Duct Tape Marketing, content marketing, strategy, Customer Service

Dan Kraus
Written by Dan Kraus

With more than two decades of experience in sales, marketing, and go-to-market strategies, Dan Kraus has developed a deep portfolio of experiences that he now uses to help small businesses profitably grow their businesses. As an entrepreneur, Dan understands the challenges of growing a business with limited capital and human resources. As a line of business manager in larger companies such as SAP America and Great Plains Software (now part of Microsoft), his experience launching new business ventures inside reputable organizations established his reputation as a creative and effective executive that could both plan and execute within corporate confines.

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