Client testimonials come second in importance in the world of sales and growing your accounting firm, surpassed only by direct referrals.
Many of the accounting professionals that I work with claim that they get quite a few of their new clients through personal recommendations, but yet, those same accountants struggle to ask those clients for a testimonial.
It’s clear that their clients love their work or they wouldn’t be referring them, but accounting professionals still tell me frequently that they’re uncomfortable asking for testimonials from their happy clients.
So, today we’re going to spend some time discussing the HOW and the WHEN to ask for testimonials.
When Is It Appropriate to Ask for the Testimonial from your Happy Clients?
The answer is simple! You want to ask your client once you know you’ve solved the problem they originally came to you for help with and you have completed your part of what they hired you for.
However, I can just hear some of you asking, “But how do I know if I’ve solved their problem? And, heck, how do I even identify what their TRUE problem really is?”
Well, I’m glad that you asked!
I’ve said time and again that sales is all about listening. I actually love to put numbers around it and say that when you’re talking with a prospect you should be listening 80% of the time and talking only 20% of the time.
I know that sounds crazy, but it’s really true! When you listen intently, people will tell you everything you need to know.
If you get someone talking enough, you could get them to share what their past accountant did that they didn’t like. Or, they might mention what they want their future accountant to be like.
The prospect could mention things like their last accountant never called them back, or they charged too much money and never saved them anything in taxes.
If they share from the future standpoint of who they’re looking to work with, they might tell you they want an accounting professional that will take a proactive role.
The point is that you absolutely MUST listen for those KEYWORDS that will invite you to begin focusing on servicing them better or in those ways they’re looking for.
Once you’ve done that, provided them the solution to their problems and finished the work, that is the KEY time to ask for the testimonial.
Let me give you another example. In my last 8-week sales class I worked with a CPA named Kate. Kate is amazing!
Right off the bat, Kate shared with me that she wanted to get confident in her sales conversations. Now all I had to do was ensure that by the end of our 8-week course, her confidence had gone from a 1 to an 11 (over 10 – we set high goals around here!).
Kate showed up to every sales class. She did ALL of the homework every week and was literally the perfect student. And, you know what? She started to see the financial results of her efforts.
More importantly, Kate’s confidence soared from 1 to the 11 we were aiming for.
Once I knew she’d hit her goals, I asked her for the client testimonial. I knew Kate hit her goal when it came time to set a price with one of her potential clients. The gentleman stated he only wanted to pay a certain amount for her services and wanted to negotiate. With Kate’s new found confidence, she was able to stay firm to her price and get the rate she had set out for, which was $1K more than the guy said he was willing to pay. I knew right then that it was the right time to ask Kate for a testimonial.
You never want to ask for a testimonial UNTIL you’ve actually delivered on the result that your client is looking for.
Asking for the Testimonial
Alright, so you’ve identified the needs of your client, you’ve provided a service and found a solution for those problems. NOW is the time to ask for that testimonial.
Just like in sales, you must ask for the testimonial. Rarely will you find a client that will just provide you a written or video testimonial, so don’t be afraid to ask! I ask every single happy client.
There are a few different ways that I like to get testimonials, but my favorite is to do video reviews.
But let’s baby step it. If you’re not comfortable with asking for a video review, you can create a Google form or use a tool called Survey Monkey that allows you to ask a series of questions about the services you and your firm provided.
I place all of my testimonials right on my website so that anybody can see them, and I know exactly what my clients are saying about working with me and building their sales confidence and sales processes within their accounting firms.
Recently, I was speaking with a woman named Carmen. Carmen was underselling herself and struggling to charge what she was worth because she was pricing based on what she thought her clients could afford.
Carmen had heard about me from a fellow CPA friend, but wanted to check me out. She told me that when she visited my client review page she saw a friendly face. She knew a gentleman that had taken my course and had loved learning from me.
Carmen seeing this guy’s face and knowing he found success working with me helped her also feel comfortable working with me.
Now I’m going to be able to help her start charging what she’s worth!
Every time you ask for a testimonial and feedback, you want to ensure you get permission to use it in all of your marketing or advertising.
If you don’t get permission, having the testimonial is wonderful, but it can’t be used anywhere to help you promote the amazing services you’re providing.
I love to go through my emails and find those testimonials that have gotten buried over time. I bet if you go through your email you’ll probably find some too.
If you don’t have any in your inbox, try checking out all of your social media, Google reviews, or even your Yelp reviews. Look at the things people have messaged you or commented on your posts. You’re bound to find something good there!
ALL of these can be turned into a form of a testimonial, as long as you have the person’s permission to use it.
Once I’ve gotten their permission, I love to pull all of these into what I like to call an “Acknowledgement Folder.” I take the lovely things that people say and put them in a word document, convert it into a PDF, and add it to my folder.
Now anytime I’m working with a client and they want to see the work that I’ve done for others in addition to what is on my website, I can pull up this folder and share it with them.
Here’s a little tip: If you receive an email that is not structured in a testimonial format, just ask the individual if you can tweak it a little bit. Most people will gladly tell you YES and be grateful you are willing to fix it for them.
Client reviews are a way to pay it forward.
I know there are a lot of accounting professionals that hate this part of growing a business. But if you’re in a specific niche, having these testimonials is literally gold. It will bring you more clients that you want to work with!
I worked with a client, Luke. Luke is an accounting professional that specializes in working with dentists.
I knew that Luke HAD to get some testimonials from some of his dental clients to put on his website. Even if you have testimonials on Yelp or Google, you still want those on your website, simply because that’s usually the first place a prospect is going to look.
These testimonials bring credibility. It also helps to eliminate the objection of, “Oh, I don’t really want to work with you until I’ve spoken to someone you’ve already worked with.”
I’m sure MANY of you have heard that before, so nip it in the bud before it becomes a problem!
My Process for Asking for Testimonials
Remember, asking for reviews is only awkward if you make it awkward.
1. Start out by providing your client a compliment.
Before you even mention the testimonial, give them a compliment.
For me, when it came to Kate, I was so impressed with what she did and the changes she made I made sure she knew that her efforts had been noticed.
Just giving this one compliment opened Kate up to be even more willing to provide the testimonial I was about to request.
2. Let your clients know their opinion matters.
Their opinion REALLY DOES matter, but you want to be sure they know that it does. Their review of your services – be it your monthly services, your tax resolution services, or tax planning – is invaluable. You WANT to know your client’s opinions so that you can share their experiences with other people who want to enroll with you.
Not only that, if they give you any critical feedback it could be a place for you to grow and make your firm even better. Trust me, their opinions matter!
3. Just ask for the testimonial!
Once I complimented Kate and let her know that her opinion mattered, I asked her if she’d be willing to provide me a testimonial. She happily said YES!
We took care of the testimonial in two ways. The first was to jump on Zoom, ask Kate a few questions, and record it on video. In addition, I asked her for a written testimonial. Nothing complicated, just three to four sentences with her photo so that I could post it on my website.
It doesn’t have to be awkward! Simply ask your clients for testimonials once you’ve successfully solved their problems.
My homework for you this week is to go through your email, social media, Yelp and Google reviews and find all of the wonderful things people have said to you. Start gathering those and then ask for permission to share these reviews on your website.
Once you’ve done that, you can start asking your current happy clients for video testimonials.
I’d love to know the one action you’re going to take this week to get the momentum going and have your testimonial page and acknowledgement folder! Share in the comments to let me know 🙂
P.S. Are you ready to FINALLY be paid your value and worth? Join my FREE Masterclass NOW and learn the 3 proven strategies my clients use to fill their accounting practice with premium clients who eagerly pay what you’re worth! Sign up NOW at abundantaccountant.com.