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Wendy Buckingham / Creator, Life Coaching Professionally
It's not what you say about yourself that often matters. It's what other people (in this case your coaching clients) say about your coaching that may convince prospective clients that you are the coach for them.
Prospective clients will see your life coaching client testimonials as proof that you do, actually, get results and are not all spin.
So read on for help on how to get testimonials and use them effectively in your marketing.
To get you going, this short video from niche marketing specialist, Cindy Schulson, summarises the value of testimonials to your successful life coaching marketing strategy.
It looks like you are using a mobile and so you may not be able to see the in-video linking. You can also join Cindy's webinar "3 Steps to Create an Authentic Message" and take advantage of her free coaching testimonial template, by clicking here.
Here are a couple of things that may get in the way of getting testimonials from your clients:
Having a page of testimonials on your website or relevantly scattering among your content is a great way to back up your coaching services offered to prospective clients.
However one thing I would advise against is letting your website person talk you into having them as a moving graphic in the header of your site, whether video or text, that changes after a just a couple of seconds.
Personally I find it most annoying if I am trying to read a testimonial and the screen moves on to the next one before I have time to even take in the first couple of sentences. Either keep them short enough to be read in a second or two or pause long enough to at least get the full essence of the testimonial.
After they have agreed you can put something together from your notes, send what you have written to the client saying how much you have enjoyed working with them and “This is what I have put together from my notes on our sessions. Do feel free to correct or edit it in any way”. Rarely have I found the client makes any alterations. They are just pleased to have you do it for them.
The client may have a business website and, with permission, that should be included. If the client is an employee or executive coach a company name is wonderful but the client may balk at that for privacy reasons.
At least get some initials and a location to identify the source of the testimonial. A testimonial without any identification at all useless and has no credibility (it can even look as if you have written it yourself).
Yes, I've had some of these and they are wonderful. Pick a sentence or two of the most relevant bits and then have a link “to read this full testimonial” on your website or say “the full testimonial is available on request”.
Make sure you get permission from that client. Even though the past client has provided a testimonial, it is not OK to pass on their contact details to the prospective client without permission and preferably a little information about who is likely to contact them.
How often do you see video testimonials recorded with a phone? The quality is good, the coaching testimonial is good but - oh! what are those black lines? It's because the phone has been held vertically instead of on its side. Videos shown on YouTube, Facebook and many more will look a whole lot better for you if the camera position is sideways. This is also called Landscape or 16:9. And when you post it on your website it will also look better!
I have noticed a trend among some new coaches to offer free coaching, either a single session or a series, in exchange for a testimonial. Even to offer to play swapsies on this basis with other new coaches. It's called quid pro quo which literally translated means something given in exchange for something else.
This is NOT the way to get a testimonial and in my view is actually out of integrity in a profession that is about integrity. Someone who is offered a session for free with this condition is not going to give a completely honest or negative review. Much better to wait until they show their appreciation for your good work and then ask.
Video testimonials are comparatively new but, believe me, properly done, they can be very powerful. Here are four vital things to be aware of if you go down video testimonial path.
Around a minute is plenty – and the words from your client should be energetic and to the point. The best way to do this is to ask questions and then be prepared to do some editing so it all flows together.
Your client's voice shouldn't sound as if it had been recorded in the bathroom. Also check out general background noise.
Watch out for things like plants looking as if they are growing out of your subjects head.
No shadows on your client's face and no reflections from glasses.
As you can see, mastering how to get life coaching client testimonials needn't be a drama.
are a few examples from my files and a short description on the process of getting them. Read each one and you will get the picture on how you can help your clients to help you.
This was a spontaneous testimonial in answer to a question on the coaching evaluation form. I could have shortened it easily if necessary.
Coaching with Wendy has been one of the most powerful experiences of my life. It is not often, in fact sometimes ever, that you can sit down and get completely present with yourself, and have someone be there to LISTEN to everything your thinking and feeling. And then in addition to just listening, help to equip you with the tools that you need to deal with the challenges life throws your way and work out what you really want and need from a situation. Wendy coached me through two of the biggest decisions I have made in my life so far, and it was because of her guidance and support that I felt I had the confidence to make these decisions. I am now living a bold life that I love and will continue to use what I have learned from my coaching for years to come.
Kyla Raby, Team Leader, World Youth International
I wrote this one for the client to who was willing but needed hep in writing a testimonial. He then edited minimally. As I said, don’t be shy, be willing to own how well you have coached.
When I started working with Wendy my life was pretty out of control both personally and financially. I was in overwhelm! With Wendy’s help and support I cleaned up my act and set some specific goals. As a result I am now managing my finances more effectively, feel in control of my work and home environment and even my dating techniques have improved. Coaching with Wendy has definitely been a worthwhile investment.
Alex Smith, Actuary
This one was extracted from a longer testimonial letter:
Originally I approached Wendy for help with goal setting. As I worked with her and got to know her strengths better, Wendy's role broadened to one of a business coach and mentor, a role she fills very well. I have found Wendy professional, perceptive, practical and a real asset to my business direction. Catherine Saxelby Consultant Nutritionist and Food Writer.
So you see even if your clients are not that articulate in expressing their appreciation for your coaching, there are lots of ways to help them along.
I hope this has helped you learn how to get testimonials. And finally let me tell you again - credible testimonials are the most powerful, fabulous and free marketing tool.