Who cringes at writing a testimonial?
In my regular job I wrote references for employees around ten times a year. Some of them were relief staff, some were long termers and all are looking forward to a new adventure with a healthy mix of trepidation and anticipation.
Testimonials and reviews are the references of the small business world and are absolutely important to the health and growth of a business. Did you know that a potential client or customer will read up to five reviews of your product or service before hitting that contact button for the first time? Word of mouth is such an important part of small business development and there is such power in someone else’s personal experience. As the owner or manager of a company, you will understand that your recommendation is a powerful thing. But when it comes down to it, when you sit down at the laptop to begin, do you find yourself suddenly in need to clean out the rabbit cage or double check your monthly billing? Maybe I can help. (If at this point you want to skip straight to the creative thought provoking questions – they’re at the bottom of this blog. It’s OK, I won’t tell).
When I write a reference or testimonial I try to think of where the person will end up next. What does the new place need to know about them? If I was their new prospective employer or their next client, what would make me think they were the right person for the job?
I also try to add something in that they may not list on the top of their strengths. Something that I see they do without noticing, or with compassion and with a level of excellence that they themselves may take for granted. I try to let the prospective employer see what is exceptional about them. You can use the same strategy to write your next testimonial.
For those of you who are time poor… well, let’s face it, that’s every small business owner this side of reality, testimonials do not need to be an essay. Two paragraphs, honestly and simply written, will do the job.
It is always an honour and a pleasure to write a reference for someone I have worked with. It may not be a pleasure for you, if writing isn’t your preferred mode of communication, but maybe it could feel like an honour. Because what is being asked of you is to put your stamp on that person’s value to you or your organisation and that’s important to the next employer or client. And it’s really important to the person you’re writing about. That’s not so cringe-worthy, is it?
That’s a pretty privileged place to be.
Try these questions to get the testimonial juices flowing. Start in dot points and then flesh it out using the template below:
- Why did you hire the person in the first place? What problem did you need assistance with?
- How did they resolve your problem?
- How was their resolution to your problem distinctive?
- What qualities about their work did you particularly like?
- What, in one sentence, summarises your experience with them as a whole?
- Would you recommend them to another business?
Then pop your ideas into this template:
My business needed **** because of ****.
**** solved my problem by ****. This was particularly important to my business because of **** and resulted in ****.
I especially appreciated the way **** performed by ****.
Overall, I would recommend **** to anyone in the **** sector/business and found the experience ****
You can snazzy this up with anything specific and particular you’d like to mention about your experience.
Keep in mind the T.E.A.S.E guidelines for testimonial writing – Tactful, Emphasise, Authentic, Short and Engaging.
If you are really stuck, pop onto the business website and see what other clients have written about them. There is no need to reinvent the wheel and a solid testimonial is more worthwhile to your provider than none at all. (Some of mine are here).
REMEMBER! Writing a testimonial isn’t the only way to give a good recommendation. If you’d prefer, do a video review! Turn your phone sideways and video yourself and Hey Presto! – one very Facebook, website and blog friendly testimonial that will really stand out from the others! (Not for the faint hearted).
Now, go give some love…
Jay Crisp Crow
Yep, really my name