In fact, 86 percent of consumers read reviews for a local business, and 57 percent of consumers will only use a business if it has 4+ stars.
When I first started out as a mortgage broker, I thought that if I was patient and delivered exceptional customer service, the reviews would roll in.
It didn’t happen. And honestly, I’m not surprised.
I’ve worked with the same accountant for the past 17 years, but I’ve never written him a review. Why? Because he never asked.
Like anything valuable, if you want it, you need to ask for it.
If you’re a local business owner delivering high-value services, here’s my three-step process you can use to (politely) ask your clients for testimonials.
But before telling you how to get testimonials, let’s discuss how not to get them.
Don’t buy reviews.
Besides being unethical, it’s risky. Best case scenario, it’s against the terms of service of whatever platform you’re using, be it Google, Facebook, or Yelp. Worst case, it’s illegal in your country.
How to Get Testimonials: A 3-Step Process
Step 1: Deliver Awesome Customer Service
Every client should receive the same exceptional customer service. It makes your life easier, and it sets the stage for more referrals.
Here are a few rules I personally follow:
- Respond Fast: If a client calls, emails or text messages me during business hours, I try to respond within 30 minutes.
- Be Knowledgeable: You don’t need to know all the answers. But if they ask something you don’t know, be honest about it and go find them the answer right away.
- Don’t Sell: I’ve heard some people proudly say they can ‘sell ice to an Eskimo,’ but those people are (in my opinion) the worst kind of salesperson. Your job is to be an advocate for your client. Learn what they need and help them get it. Don’t convince them they need something they don’t.
Step 2: Give Them a Gift
If somebody gives you something, even if you don’t ask for it, you feel inclined to return the favor. That’s the principle of reciprocity, and it’s really powerful.
I stumbled on it entirely by accident.
Here’s how it started: at the end of every mortgage transaction I’d call my client to congratulate and thank them for their business. But that felt a little anti-climactic. So, a few months ago I started doing things a bit different.
About a week before the mortgage was scheduled to complete, I’d send my client a handwritten thank you note with a $25 Starbucks gift card.
The response was overwhelmingly positive.
Clients that were icy during the entire application were suddenly friendly. Clients that were previously friendly are now over-the-moon happy. On one of my calls, they asked how they could thank me, so I suggested they leave me a review.
I’m not entirely sure if it’s just the money or the extra personalized touch of a hand-written card, but whatever it was, it worked.
The ethical standard I’ve set for myself is to send this to absolutely every single client I work with, no matter what. I don’t just send it to clients that I think will leave me a review, and I definitely don’t send it in exchange for a review.
Not only is that in a grey area, but I also don’t want to cheapen the experience for the client.
Step 2: The Request
After they meet up with the lawyer, I call them like usual.
At this point, I’ve tried two different approaches. They both work really well, so it’s really just a matter of personal preference.
Approach 1: Ask them on the phone.
- It’s simple, fluid, and reduces the chance that a client will just ignore the request, so I like this approach.
- To start, I call them and chat a bit, thanking them for their business.
- If there’s a good moment in the conversation, I say something like “While I have you on the phone, I was wondering if you would leave a review for me on [review site]?”
- If they say yes, tell them you’ll send an email with instructions.
Approach 2: Send them an email
- This is a much ‘easier’ ask than broaching the topic on the phone.
- But you also run the risk that the client will either not see your email, or will see it but procrastinate and never do it.
Template: I’m still making tweaks to my template, but here’s what I currently use. Feel free to use it or modify it for your own business!
Subject: Can you leave me a testimonial?
Hi [client name],
[personalized nicety to break the ice]
It an absolute pleasure working with you on your mortgage. Thanks again for your business!
I have a small request to ask…
Would you take 60 seconds to leave a review on Google?
Testimonials/reviews from (fantastic) clients like you can help others to feel confident about choosing me as their mortgage broker and will really help to grow my business.
[Link to Google]
Thanks in advance for your help!
Well, there you have it! My step-by-step process for how to get testimonials from clients. So far it’s worked almost every time with zero negative feedback.
What do you currently do in your business? Do you ask for reviews? If yes, leave a comment below! I’d love to hear about what you’ve tried.
About the author: Jennifer Harder is a mortgage broker and recreational blogger based out of Victoria, BC. In her free time, she likes to hike and travel.