How to get Kick-Ass Testimonials!
When people browse your website to see your portfolio, there are two things they want to know:
How you photograph families and what other people are saying about you.
Testimonials are a huge piece of booking a new client and the only way to get a great testimonial is to treat your clients well throughout the entire process. From the moment a client sends an inquiry on your website contact form, to the final email you send after you’ve delivered products and the gallery has expired, that is the entire experience a testimonial hinges on. Perform badly in one area and it can negatively impact the entire experience.
The first thing I have to say on this topic is that no matter what, kill your clients with kindness. Go the extra mile every time. Treat your returning clients VERY WELL– build the relationship by throwing in a few extra prints or images. Do the little things that make them want to tell everyone about their experience with you. Even if you have a ‘nightmare client’ that is going to tell everyone that asks about your session just how “horrible” their experience was…even though it wasn’t and they were being unreasonable and had ridiculous expectations (sound familiar? yes, I’ve dealt with a few of these in the past) swallow your pride and go the extra mile to fix the situation, whatever it may be. I’ve shelled out a few extra bucks to give them some complimentary items like a calendar (it’s the gift that keeps on giving all year!) or a handful of prints, etc. Going that extra mile makes ALL the difference.
So you’re going above and beyond, your clients are singing your praises to people they meet, but how does that help your written testimonials that you can use on your website, social media, etc? If they’re saying it to their friends and family, they can write it. However, they probably need you to help them in the right direction.
First, you need to ask. Yes, asking can be totally intimidating. I was totally scared to ask for testimonials without it sounds sales-y for years but I finally overcame my fear and have a simple TWO STEP process that works. That’s right. Two steps are all you need for amazing testimonials that make people want you to become their photographer.
1 – Ask SPECIFIC questions.
You can say “can you write me a testimonial about your experience?” OR you can say “Did you have any concerns before hiring me such as the kids not cooperating, or worry about the session in general? Did you have concerns about spending money on photography? How do you feel about the purchase now?”
Which question do you think gets you a better testimonial? The blanket statement question OR the one that specifically asks about hesitations and how the photographer eased them to create a great experience? We both know it’s the second. Write out a few specific questions and toss them into a canned email you can send out when you’re ready.
2 – Ask ASAP.
I ask for the testimonial the day RIGHT AFTER a client receives their gallery. I send out an email requesting a review the day after they receive their photos. Why? Because they are on a high from seeing their photos and emotions are coming back from that day! I have had clients email me asking if they can change their previous review because they were flooded with emotions from reviewing their session images over and over again. How perfect is that? Use time and emotions to your advantage.
It’s really just that simple.
As an example, here’s a review I received before implementing these two steps…
“A wonderful photographer with a creative eye for every photo session. She embraces her talent and the outcome is always amazing & inspiring.”
It’s not bad but let’s read this one!
“Our experience getting family photos done by Jayme was beyond wonderful. As a mother, bringing our two children (aged 1 and 3) had me feeling nervous: that they wouldn’t sit still, wouldn’t want to participate, etc. After Jayme took her first photo, my mind was at ease. She was just so relaxed and in her element and due to her peaceful nature, she rarely needed to give direction. She just let everyone interact naturally, and at most times we didn’t even notice she was taking pictures! Every moment was truly so enjoyable, stress-free, and fun! Thank you again, Jayme, for capturing our family’s love, silliness and happiness so perfectly.”
The second review addresses concerns of people looking to do a session, shares how the experience was and offers great information on how I am to work with. This second testimonial is the kick-ass testimonial that will help you book new clients. Just try upping your testimonial game and see what happens when you new clients come to you. Chances are they read the new testimonials and were totlly sold on you. That’s what you want.
Tell me about how you get testimonials from clients.