“Last week, my fiancΓ©e and I decided to try a new Mexican restaurant Dos Toros and immediately went back to Chipotle to ask for forgiveness.”

While short, this is the structure for an effective testimonial. I’ll break down its components in a second.

Before I continue, let me clarify that all testimonials are effective. However, it can get numbing if they’re all glowing reviews, making it seem as though everyone’s drinking the Kool-Aid.

This is a tangent, but I don’t like Kool-Aid. Therefore, I’d gladly drink coffee in lieu of it. πŸ™‚

la colombe latte art

There are two parts to a very effective testimonial.

  1. Story
  2. Change of Heart

Stories are 22% more memorable.

Not only are we trained to listen to stories, but stories also have a distinct beginning, middle, and end. This allows recipients to grasp important concepts easily because stories are linear.

A Change of Heart is effective because it means that the subject(s) had doubts, but was convinced otherwise. I’ll give you a few examples.

  • “Frankly, I was a little afraid because Sarah was such a young photographer. How much experience could she really have? … but when I saw my wedding pictures, I was overwhelmed with warm emotions that I cried. Sarah was …”
  • “My friends all told me that I’m too stressed. How can I not be? I live a busy life in NYC. So, when they suggested yoga, I was like, ‘yoga schamoga.’ My friends forced me to attend one class … after ‘namaste,’ I signed up for a year’s membership. It gave me back my ‘me time.'”

What’s one thing these transitions have in common? Overcoming of fear. As I mentioned before, fear is the most powerful emotion.

With that said, if a prospect shares that same fear — Sarah being inexperienced or not having enough time for yoga — and saw the change of heart, it’s far more convincing.


How to Record Testimonials

Do not try to ask about your clients’ thoughts over the phone. You wouldn’t be able to record that as easily. Plus, you want to allow them to have time to collect their thoughts.

Send out a questionnaire. Make sure to have, at minimum, these two question:

  1. What were some doubts you might have had before choosing to work with me?
  2. Did I deliver on your expectations?

That should be pretty painless. Afterwards, piece the parts you want together with an ellipsis “…” and call it a day. If it wasn’t a good testimonial, don’t use it. Done! πŸ™‚

Comment below one thing that changed your heart!


Lawrence Chan

P.S. I will be speaking at CreativeLive on June 19-20, 2014 about social media, SEO, and marketing in general! I’d be honored if you joined me. And it’s free!