Why We Struggle To Get Awesome Testimonials (And How To Overcome It)

Why We Struggle To Get Awesome Testimonials (And How To Overcome It)

It’s not like you haven’t tried getting testimonials before. You sure have.

You have at least some testimonials, but  somehow they don’t have that snap, crackle and pop!

There’s a reason why testimonials fall short of the mark

Mostly it has to do with the length. And yes, yes, the detail. Instead of a testimonial that’s between 1000-1800 words (no, I’m not kidding) you get a measly 20-50 word testimonial. Which is better than nothing, but the testimonial is so anorexic that you may as well not have asked for it in the first place.

There’s no richness, no details, no experience of what transpired, and how your product or service changed the client’s lives.

And this lack of detail is simply because you didn’t give the client an example

If you were to give the client an example of a testimonial that was 200 words long, you’re more than likely to get a testimonial that’s about 200 words long. If you don’t give an example at all, you could end up with a testimonial that’s just 40 words long or 800 words.

The only way to control this madness is to give an example. But how do you get that example in the first place?

You pick up the phone…

You then call some of your best clients. The ones who drool over your work. And ask them the six questions from The Brain Audit (see questions below) and record the conversation (yes, let them know you’re recording it). Then transcribe the conversation.

Now let’s assume you speak to the client for just 10 minutes, you’ll have a testimonial that’s about 1000-1800 words long. And that’s because we speak at about 3 words a second. So that’s about 180 words in a minute. And potentially about 1800 words in 10 minutes.

When you have two or three of those phone-testimonials transcribed, you can just create a PDF or put the testimonials online as an example. Your to-be testimonial clients will see the examples, and then try to emulate the same length. And yup, they may fail miserably, but even if they give you a testimonial that’s just 350 words long, that’s a heck of a testimonial.

Being lazy is not an option

You need to pick up the phone, do the transcription (yes, yes outsource the transcription. About three testimonials shouldn’t cost you more than about $40). Because the examples are the key to getting great testimonials in future. And yes, there’s still the odd chance that a client may—despite the example—potentially give you a short, anorexic testimonial.

So here’s what I do…

I make sure that I mention this sentence when asking for the testimonial. I say: “Please give as much detail as you can in the testimonial. Without adequate detail, the testimonial becomes too flimsy, and hence unusable.” In effect, I’m saying that I won’t use the testimonial, if it sounds half-hearted. I know this may sound a bit heavy-handed, but it works wonders.

A client who may have given skinny testimonials in the past, manages to whip out a massively detailed (and useful) testimonial. And it makes them happy to support you and of course you get better clients in future.

So if you want to get great testimonials, here’s what you do:

1) Make sure you use the six questions.

2) Call your best clients first, so you can get good examples of long, detailed testimonials.

3) Post these testimonials in a PDF or online, so that future clients can see it as well.

4) Make sure you nudge your clients into adding detail. You don’t want yucky, skinny testimonials.

At Psychotactics, no matter whether you look at the cartooning course, or the headlines course or any of the products, you’ll find amazingly detailed testimonials. Sure we do a great job teaching skills, but that’s not enough. You still need to get awesome testimonials. Once you get testimonials of an extremely high calibre, you in turn attract clients that are similar in nature.

Testimonials are the key to your future success. You know that, I know that. And now you have the key to amazing testimonials. So go out there and get a truckload of them right away.

Oh, and about the six questions:

The six questions you need to ask to get a powerful testimonial are:

What was the obstacle that would have prevented you from buying this product?
What did you find as a result of buying this product?
What specific feature did you like most about this product?
What would be three other benefits about this product?
Would you recommend this product? If so, why?
Is there anything you’d like to add?

P.S. Do you have a question or comment? Write it here and I will respond.

Why You Need The Brain Audit

“I wasn’t sure the Brain Audit would be worth the money, but it has completely changed how we approach our advertising and web content.”


I found a link to Sean’s website on a site I trust (Before & After Magazine), and I signed up for the free document “Why Headlines Fail”.  I began to look forward to the weekly emails because they were short, interesting and helpful.

I wasn’t sure the Brain Audit would be worth the money, but it has completely changed how we approach our advertising and web content.

The Brain Audit is deceptively simple — it’s easy to read, and easy to comprehend — the cartoons help get across the ideas, and each chapter logically builds on the other.

And each time I pick it up, I’m struck by something I missed the last time.

Susan Nayak,
 Marketing Communications, Austin, TX USA

Judge for yourself—How The Brain Audit can help your marketing

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  1. says

    Yes, if you notice, our testimonials are a mile long. Some have more than 1000 or 2000 words. If you haven’t (and this is a plug for a book) also read ‘The secret life of testimonials’. It’s here on the Psychotactics site in the products.

    • says

      Thank you, Mr D’Souza.

      I’ll most certainly consider your suggestion. Meanwhile I would also say that when I did get a decently long testimonial it was one full of complaints!

      Still, it came in useful – I turned it into 3 blog posts that – hopefully – demonstrated I listen and act on feedback that is constructive. It ‘earned’ me a lot of respect from sites that would ordinarily charge to advertise for me – the fees were waived.

      There’s a silver lining in every cloud if you only know where to look for it 😉
      Kind regards,

  2. says

    Good morning, Sir.

    What absolutely excellent help and advice this post is. I’m on it!
    I’ve forewarned potential guests to my chalet that I’m taking lessons on how to grill them for information… my testimonials to date have been far too anorexic!

    Kind regards,

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