5 Mistakes You're Making When Asking B2B Customers for a Testimonial
Testimonial mistakes will impact your business negatively.
Good testimonials can put you on track for a successful financial quarter.
Customers are likely to spend 31% more on a business with strong reviews.
This is because good testimonials drive trust. In fact, 72% of consumers say that testimonials make them trust a company more.
But a bad testimonial? Well, a bad testimonial is worse than no testimonial at all. A negative testimonial ruins your reputation. It makes customers view your business as untrustworthy, and your credibility plummets.
So how can you avoid bad testimonials?
In this guide, we're going to show you. We'll give you the top five B2B testimonial mistakes you may be making, and show you examples of how you can get the high-quality testimonials your business needs to generate social proof and drive sales.
Testimonial Mistake 1: You're Not Respecting Your Client's Time or Showing Appreciation
So you've provided a client with a good experience, and now you want to ask them for a testimonial. Well, the first step is to start from the right place, and that's one of the testimonial mistakes businesses make when asking for a customer testimonial.
You must approach your clients in the right way. If you operate in the B2B SaaS world, your customers know how impactful a testimonial is. They understand the value they're potentially providing to your business.
So don't make the mistake of failing to show your appreciation. Your B2B clients are busy. You have to be respectful. Don't go into this whole process on the wrong foot.
Here's an email template which will effectively elicit a high-quality testimonial from your clients:
Subject line: Thanks for being a loyal [COMPANY] customer Hi [Their First Name],
[First Name] here from [Company]. I wanted to reach out and introduce myself. I recognize you're busy. This won't take more than a few minutes of your time, I promise!
I was speaking with [Account Manager] earlier this week, and [He/She] mentioned you had met your [Specific Business Objective] this month, and I wanted to reach out and congratulate you on your success! [Account Manager] shared how much [He/She] enjoyed working with you.
We love sharing our client's success stories, and I was wondering if you'd be up for doing a testimonial for us? You can follow this link to submit a written or video testimonial now, and as a token of thanks, I'd love to send you a coffee gift card, on us!
Congratulations again on your success, and thanks for your partnership! Let me know if you have any questions about submitting a testimonial.
Why Is This Effective?
A few things to keep in mind about this email template:
There is a reference to the success that your customer has experienced thanks to your business. Mentioning that makes it more likely your customers will want to return the favor and help your business.
The customer is invited to submit a testimonial in two different formats — written or video. This shows the customer that you are trying to make the process as accommodating as possible, which they will appreciate.
The email gives the customer a reason to say yes by giving them an incentive (the coffee gift card).
If you're respecting your customer's time and showing appreciation by approaching at the best time and with the right message, then your response rates will improve.
Testimonial Mistake 2: You're Not Asking the Right Questions
So your client has agreed to provide your business with a testimonial. Nice work! Now you need to ensure that the testimonial they provide you with will actually help your business. How do you do that? By asking the right questions.
To understand what the right questions are, let's watch what a great customer testimonial looks like:
Now let's break down this testimonial into its individual parts, and figure out what questions would work to elicit those responses:
First section: "My name is Andy Husbands and I'm the chef and owner of [restaurant]."
Second section: "One of the problems is [that] there's so much information out there."
Third section: "What's great about Swipely is [specific benefit]."
Fourth section: "Detail about [specific benefit]."
Fifth section: "Switching or changing anything can be difficult and sometimes a little scary. Switching to Swipely was easy and painless."
Sixth section: "Swipely is perfect for any restaurant or bar. It's going to help your business guide where you want to go. It certainly helps us."
So how do you get responses like that? And avoid one the major testimonial mistakes? You have to ask the right questions and probe.
Break it Down
Here are the five questions you should be asking to get a great testimonial like the one above:
First section: Can you describe yourself and your business for us?
The value of a testimonial is in its believability and it's relatability. By asking the customer to give a little background, the whole testimonial feels a bit more real.
Second section: What pain point or issue were you having that drove you to work with us?
Whatever issue your customer was experiencing that led them to seek out your business, they're probably not alone. By having them explain their problem, hopefully a viewer with a similar issue can identify.
Third section: What specific feature or benefit did you like most about our product or service?
This question will make it clear to viewers the value proposition of your product or service. And because it's a customer saying so, prospects will be more likely to trust it.
Fourth section: Are there other benefits you like about us?
After the previous question, give the customer the opportunity to say anything else on their mind. This is important because the customer may have more good things to say about your business that your questions don't directly ask. By letting customers speak freely, you may gain some unique insight into your business that you hadn't realized before.
Fifth and sixth sections: Would you recommend this product? If so, why?
This question allows the customer to say why they would pick your product or service over competitors, which can be very helpful to prospects watching or reading your testimonial.
Also, encourage your testimonial-givers to actually say the words. Hearing "Yes, I would recommend this product," leaves nothing to the imagination.
Testimonial Mistake 3. You're Trying to Control the Testimonial
You want your clients to talk about the things you want them to talk about.
But there's a difference between asking the right questions and trying to control the testimonial. Sometimes, you have to let the client say what they want to say, lest they sour on the whole testimonial.
For example, say you have a client in mind for your newest product or features page. You want them to talk about how they used your service to reach 1,000 new prospective customers. But in the testimonial, they decide to focus on sharing their love for your customer service.
If, in the question-asking phase of getting a testimonial, your client starts talking about something you weren't initially planning on focusing on, let them talk. A true, genuine testimonial will be more effective than a canned one where you pigeonholed your client into a box they didn't want to be in.
Plus, it won't sound natural.
Here's an example of a high-quality B2B testimonial that comes across as genuine, likely because the interviewer didn't try to control the interview too much:
Mistake 4: Your Testimonials are Too Vague
By now you can see the balancing act you need to strike when crafting a successful testimonial. You want to ask the right questions, without being too controlling. If the customer does go off on a tangent about something you didn't anticipate, you should let them talk.
However, if what they're saying doesn't hone in on the specific benefits of your product or service, this is also a problem and is one of the biggest testimonial mistakes.
Customer testimonials are only powerful when they're believable.
And a generic testimonial ("This company is great. I enjoyed working with them very much and would recommend them to anyone!") is useless.
This is because the prospective customer isn't learning anything about your business. They don't learn about your specific products and features, and they don't understand how it can help their business.
When your clients are prompted to focus on the nitty gritty (numbers, small features you wouldn't otherwise talk about, the specifics of their business, etc.) your testimonials become more believable, and more informative.
The Details Are Important
For example, here's the testimonial on Hubspot's customer service product page:
And here's the testimonial from their sales tools product page:
Which one feels more impactful? The one that shares the generic benefits of customer support, or the one which shares three specific numeric benefits in a specific timeline?
You come away from the first one having learned nothing, and not really feeling any differently towards the business. The second testimonial makes your customer understand exactly what could happen if they use your product and service, which is what you want.
So if the conversation does start to veer towards the vague, ask your customer pointed questions that will make them focus on specifics. For example, you can ask them to explain what they mean, or ask them exactly what they've been able to achieve since working with your business.
Mistake 5: You're Not Using Video
Leaving video out of the mix one of the most popular testimonial mistakes. Don't be in that crowd.
Every business markets themselves as innovative and new. Every business prides itself on its customer support, dedication to its clients, and a high-quality product or service. All businesses are blogging. All businesses are using Google Ads.
Video testimonials are something different — something your competitors aren't doing (or aren't doing as well as you can). They are the verified reviews of the B2B SaaS industry. They point to your excellent track record with past customers, while clearly painting a picture of what problems can be solved by using your product.
Why are video testimonials so impactful?
Well, for starters, video boosts information retention. If your customers hear something only, they're likely to retain about 10% of that information in three days. By contrast, if what they hear is accompanied by relevant imagery, they'll retain an average 65% of that information in three days.
"Video has some really unique powers. One that I've discovered is the memorability of video and the ability for it to create a brand impression that lingers, and that sits with someone, is unmatched," says Rand Fiskin, founder of the marketing analytics startup Moz. "I think that's because we as human beings associate voice, tone, body language, a personality, a face... all of these things with a video that we can't do with these other forms of content. And so that creates this powerful memorability."
Create Testimonials the Right Way and Grow Your Business
Hopefully this article has given you a better understanding of how testimonials work, and the testimonial mistakes you need to avoid.
To recap, ensure you're following these B2B testimonial best practices:
Respect your client's time and show appreciation
Ask the right questions
Don't try to control the testimonial
Ask for specific information
As long as you use these guidelines, your testimonials will be one of the most impactful marketing tools you have at your disposal. They build trust, help communicate specific benefits, and put a friendly, real-world face on your business.
Or (if they're bad) they do none of those things, and you lose a shot at a sale.