top of page

How to Get Testimonials from Clients: Plus a Bonus of How to Get Referrals! (2024)

Last Updated: May 30, 2024

Social Proof is the Most Effective Marketing Tactic: Testimonials, Reviews, and Referrals

Testimonials, reviews, and referrals are the most significant forms of support your customers can provide. They show a degree of loyalty that advertises your business for you and at no financial benefit to them. Businesses do sometimes try to incentivize reviews and referrals with discounts, but regardless of what you give a customer, if they choose to support you outwardly towards others, that is fantastic!

Here's what this article covers:

happy customers give reviews and referrals

The benefits of referrals and reviews may be self-explanatory for you. We all know they provide us with additional business.

But they also provide credibility, authority, and social proof. The real questions are do you know how to get testimonials from clients? Do you know how to get high quality referrals from clients?

Why Testimonials, Reviews, and Referrals are Worth Your Time

All three forms of social proof provide more benefits than meets the eye. They provide a stamp of approval that is public with explanations for why.

How to Get Testimonials from Clients

They are proof. They show other people that people who have worked with you think you are so good that they are willing to publicly support you.

Reviews act as referrals for a larger audience, which can convince other people to engage with you and become your customers. Testimonials are a chance for your clients to go in-depth about the benefits you gave them. And referrals are the most effective form of advertising because someone goes directly to your target and tells them why they should work with you or buy from you. It is the greatest gift another person can give your business.

But there are even more benefits than that!

  • They improve your SEO: Learn more about SEO here.

  • They allow you to collect feedback.

  • They provide multiple locations and perspectives for extra info about your business.

  • They make your business more visible.

By this point, I hope you agree that testimonials, reviews, and referrals are important. So, let's dive into how to collect each of these vital pieces of social proof.

How to Get Testimonials from Clients

What is a Testimonial?

A testimonial is a powerful marketing tool from your existing customers. It is a persuasive statement that captures their firsthand experience with your business. It adds credibility, boosts your trust, and tells a story from your customer's perspective.

The most effective testimonials share specific reasons why your customer chose your business, why your offering worked for them, and how they benefitted from it. Readers look for specificity, authenticity, and a fresh perspective that can help them with their own decision. When done well, a strong testimonial will alleviate potential buyers' concerns and help them get to yes.

How to Request a Testimonial

how to get customer testimonials

"We miss 100% of the shots we do not take". Thank you, Wayne Gretsky! This statement should be ingrained into every business owner (or aspiring business owner). If you do not ask, you will not get what you want. Most of the time, when a customer is happy, they are focused on what you did for them and how they can use it. They are not focused on paying you more than the money they already spent with you.

That being said, people LOVE to give their opinions. So, make sure you give your most valued clients a chance to share their glowing opinions about your business. Here are some ideas:

  • I am going to repeat myself: Get comfortable asking! The most common reason we do not receive feedback is that we do not ask. Don’t limit yourself by not asking. Some customers may think to share a testimonial with you, but most will not. They are busy with their own lives!

  • The best time to ask for a testimonial is right after you have delivered a significant value for them. This could be the wrap up of a project or key interaction or after they experienced a desired result.

  • Components of a good ask:

    • Be sure you’ve completed your business and all the appropriate thank yous with them before asking them to do something for you.

    • When asking, provide reasons to help them understand why you’re asking and where the content will live.

    • Tell customers how and where they can leave the testimonial and provide easy links to those pages.

    • Provide the option of a template and thought starters for them in case they are unsure of how to write a review. (BONUS: we include one below for you!)

    • You can consider providing an incentive for the testimonial, although this is not always necessary. Many people are happy just to be asked for their opinion. Determine what is right for your business and your customers.

There's a bonus testimonial template included below that you can start using in your asks now. Click here to jump straight to it if you are not interested in collecting reviews and referrals too.

How to Get Reviews from Clients

What is a Review

how to get customer reviews

People share reviews to provide feedback to businesses and as a way for potential new customers to receive an unbiased perspective on the brand. They are usually left online on a public forum or site that is not controlled by the business. However, they can also be found on a business's website in some cases - ecommerce sites are usually focused on showing reviews for products after purchase (a great example of this is Amazon).

Reviews are considered a crucial element of social proof because they boost credibility and build trust. The most valuable reviews are on third-party sites because they are not controlled by the brand and those larger sites usually have a tremendous amount of authority on search engines. This means your business is more likely to appear on page one of Google (or any other search engine) if you are tapping into the vast SEO efforts of larger third-party sites. All it takes is creating your business's account and following the platform's guidelines.

Here's a list of highly visible third-party sites that offer an opportunity for customers to leave reviews:

  • Google

  • Yelp

  • Facebook

  • LinkedIn (on your personal page people can leave a review in the form of a recommendation)

  • TrustPilot

  • Add a review widget to the products and services pages on your own website

If your business is not using at least 3 of these, you are missing out and your 1 task today is to go setup your account and send out a request for 5 reviews.

How to Request a Review

For some, asking for reviews can feel weird at first. Get over this feeling quick because these are the lifeblood of your business. If you are unsure of where to start, here are some great ideas to start collecting those wonderful reviews:

  1. Verbal Asks:

    1. Ask them directly and include a link of where you want them to leave the review. If someone writes you a testimonial or sends you positive feedback, this is a good opportunity to thank them and ask for them to share those words in a review.

    2. If you have a podcast or an event, you can include an ask to listeners or attendees. We recommend making this ask after you have shared a particularly valuable thing so that the recipients are feeling positively about your business.

  2. Visual or Digital Asks:

    1. Place a QR code or link on their receipt. You can do this if the receipt is physical or digital. It is a great way to catch people right after they have made a purchase.

    2. Automatically send a separate email, text, or in app push notification post purchase that only focuses on asking about their experience and if they would like to leave a review.

    3. Include a review section on all product detail pages so that customers can leave one at their own convenience.

    4. Create point of sale signage if you have a physical location that prompts people to leave a review about their experience. Be sure to include a QR code so they can easily access where you want them to leave the review.

    5. There are more advanced ways to leverage location data and search history to solicit reviews about someone's overall experience, rather than a review of a single product. This is typically a paid marketing service and works best for businesses with high traffic.

    6. Running promotions that reward customers for leaving a review with a discount or coupon is a popular tactic when a business is trying to build up their reviews.

Give any one of these a try and start bringing in those reviews!

How to Get Referrals from Clients

how to get referrals from clients

What is a Referral?

A referral for any business is a powerful word of mouth marketing tactic. Existing customers will recommend you brand to people they know if they believe it is valuable enough. They are vouching for your business and putting their name behind what you offer. They are taking time out of their days to talk about your business and convince someone else to try it. Sometimes there can be an incentive for them involved, but even so, they are supporting your business.

Referrals are network expanders because they quickly reach potential customers, making them aware of your business and helping them consider it. Leverage every single referral that comes your way because you never know what that new customer could do for your business.

How to Request a Referral

Here's a quick list of ways to request referrals and reviews from your friends, family, and existing or past clients.

  • Give referrals to other businesses you work with and are close with.

  • Personalize your communication with clients so they feel special and know you are treating them as individuals. This builds a more intimate relationship and makes it more likely they will feel loyalty.

  • Get comfortable asking! The most common reason we do not receive referrals is that we do not ask. So don’t limit yourself by not trying and asking.

  • Include asks in all client/customer wrapups or thank yous.

  • Set up and then follow through on benefits for referrals.

  • Set up win-win situations.

    • Develop a loyalty program where customers receive something

    • Reciprocity with other businesses

    • Collaboration with other businesses who are natural partners within your value chain

  • Thank your referrers for their loyalty and their time, personally and beyond the incentive you give.

BONUS: Testimonial Template to Use for your Business

There are a few components to a good testimonial that will almost certainly attract new customers. The best thing you can do for your customers when you ask them for a testimonial is to provide them with specific questions to answer to help guide them. Check out these 3 primary buckets with 1 optional bucket and the corresponding questions to ask within each.

Part 1: Establish the customer’s need with the following questions for them to answer:

  • When you came to work with me/buy my product/etc., what did you want beyond what you already had?

  • What were you hoping to achieve by working with me/buying from me/etc.?

Part 2: Establish the tension/pain point/conflict your customer experienced with these questions:

  • What was standing in your way?

  • What was at risk? What were the consequences of doing nothing?

OPTIONAL Part 3: Let the customer talk about the process or journey if they would like and if it is relevant by prompting them with these questions:

  • What were the easiest parts? The most helpful?

  • What did our interactions/work/relationship look like?

Part 4: Ask the customer to talk about the result or outcome with these prompts:

  • What was the outcome? How do you feel about it?

  • What did you gain?

  • What would you say to anybody considering working with me/buying my product/etc.?

And just like that you now have the understanding, the outreach strategy, and a template to gain amazing testimonials, helpful reviews, and more referrals for your business!

What to do with the Testimonials and Reviews Your Collect

We've talked about how get customer testimonials and how to get reviews from your clients, but what do you do once you have them?

Here's what we suggest:

  • Thank every single person who leaves a review, always. There is no excuse for not responding to everyone who took the time to write something for your business. If it is a good review, they deserve a thank you. If it is a bad review, reach out to see how you can fix it. People love to see that a business is willing to repair a relationship with an unhappy customer.

  • No matter where those reviews live, you should pull the best ones on to your website for all of your traffic to see.

  • Create content using those reviews and post it to your social media platforms.

  • Include them in emails or texts as examples of satisfied customers.

  • Use them in your sell stories to potential new customers.

  • Highlight them on your product or service page to encourage trial.

  • Aggregate them to show the average review of your business, products, or services (if it is a good score).

  • Highlight reviews in your content pieces across blogs and landing pages.

  • Use reviews in your advertisements to increase credibility and reach.

  • Collect feedback, both good and bad, to improve your offer and actually improve your offer.

The goal is to create compounding effects of the reviews because each review is a free ad for your business.

How to Keep Getting High Quality Referrals

This is simple. Keep providing incredible value and keep asking for referrals. Make it clear you value those referrals by how you treat both the referrer and the referee. Here are a few key points to consider:

  • Some businesses will create and publish a specific Referral program. There are entire messaging campaigns designed to push these programs. If that is not the right approach for your business, do not force it.

  • The best thing you can do is thank your referrer so that they feel valued and hopefully keep referring clients. It is also a good idea to talk up the referrer to the referee in an authentic way because oftentimes, the referee is only in front of you because they respect the opinion of the referrer.

    • Sending a personalized thank you note is always a nice touch.

  • Act quickly when you receive a referral. Do not let it linger. This will come across as if you do not value the referral.

  • Follow up with the referrer when the referee gets in touch with or purchases.

  • Keep in mind, referrals can come from people who are not your clients. However, the most valuable referrals are from people who have personally experienced your offering. Their opinions are considered more highly in the eyes of potential customers.

Now that we have talked about the most valuable types of social proof, you should be ready to apply the best ones for your business.

Collecting testimonials, reviews, and referrals is step 5 of free 6 step Marketing Guide that you can read here. Each step is important, but this one is one of the most valuable forms of marketing you can have for your brand.


Julianna Francesca, Author of How to Get Testimonials from Clients

Author: Julianna Francesca, Founder of The Business of Marketing

"Thank you for reading this post and for choosing to learn a more about how marketing can strengthen your business! We need more savvy marketers and business owners out there and you're taking steps to be part of that elite group. If you are hungry for more information, check out the rest of the free articles we wrote for you and pick up one of the self-guided materials to aid your work. If you are curious about what else we can do for you, head to our About page or our Brand Management Services page."


bottom of page