When I moved to the area I live in now, people were over the moon about a small mom and pop donut shop near me. So what did I do? I loaded up my crew in the minivan and we high-tailed it to that donut shop. Guess what? Best chocolate cake donuts I’ve ever had in my life.
It’s the same way with your accounting business. How do you get those prospects high-tailing it to your firm doors?
We know in principle a prospect is more likely to become a client when they hear and read great things about you. Most of you rely on word of mouth and referrals to get prospects coming to you.
And you can enhance that with testimonials on your website and social media, which will do the referring for you alongside those who mention it in passing.
But how do you actually get those testimonials – good ones, quotes and stories which will help your prospective buyer make a decision faster?
Make a list of clients who are most likely to be responsive in providing a testimonial.
Remember, you can’t market who you aren’t. Your clients will market who you are and what you do better than you ever could. They’ve seen the proof in what you say is what you do and they are happy to share about it.
And just like you, your clients are busy people. However, if they have been over the moon about your accounting services, they are far more likely to take 3 minutes out of their day to provide a few kind words.
Based on your relationship with your clients, make a list of those who you know are likely to respond.
The ideal type of client for this would be one who:
- You’ve built a good connection with over time.
- Has expressed they are happy with what you’ve delivered.
Send a short email with 3 brief questions they can answer for the testimonial.
People are more likely to respond with a helpful testimonial if you guide them in what to do. If you simply “ask for a testimonial”, they’ll say things like “[Accountant] is so great. I really like [accountant]. They were super helpful.” That’s nice, but it’s hardly specific enough to inspire your future buyers.
Direct them in their response. Presume they don’t know exactly where to start, and offer several questions they can answer. We suggest a few questions from this list (not all of them, or they will get overwhelmed!):
- How did you feel before you started working with us?
- What would have been the result if you kept feeling & working like that?
- What specific success have you had from the work we’ve done with you?
- How do you feel now about your business? How do you feel about us?
- Would you suggest someone else work with us? What would you tell them, knowing what you know now?
After they’ve provided these answers, you can pick and choose which parts you’d like to use to form the quote you’ll be using for your social media, website etc. It’s best to use their exact words when possible. Real words from real people make really good testimonials.
If you get no email response, a good old fashioned phone call will do the trick.
Sometimes people can’t be bothered by ANOTHER email. Or they received your email, responded to it in their head, and didn’t actually respond to it in real life (I may or may not have done this).
Giving them a quick phone call to check in and say hello, followed by mentioning that you are working on some marketing items for your firm and you were wondering if they could help you out. If they’ve taken the time to answer their phone, they will most likely spend one more minute telling you what they think.
Also give them the option to respond off the call. Have your email ready with the three questions mentioned above and let your client know you’ll send them an email right after your call.
Always thank them for taking time out of their busy schedule to chat for a few minutes and let them know how much you appreciate what a great client they are. Giving them all the warm fuzzies will offer them no choice other than to quickly respond to your email.
Use direct quotes from words your clients have said in a meeting or call.
So often you’ll be chatting to someone on the phone or via Slack/email and they’ll mention how much you’ve helped them, how they are so thankful for how easy you’ve made their job, the list goes on and on.
Keep your ears perked and when they mention something to that effect, ask them right away if you can quote them.
Write the words down immediately and if you’ve already forgotten precisely what was said, ask them to repeat it again. Typically they’ll say even more when you ask them to repeat as well. Bonus points!
Ask your client to record a video to share their feelings and results.
On of our Accelerator graduates, Beth from MAP, had written an email raving about how wonderful the course was and said, “If there’s anything I can do to help tell people about it, let me know!” We said, “Absolutely- could you record us a video?”
We live in a world of doubters, which has unfortunately been formed by a world of schemers and quick fixers. How do we, as genuine people with a genuine message, combat that? Asking your client to submit a short video of their experience will show your prospects you are the real deal.
The best clients to ask for a video are those who:
- Are comfortable with video
- Have regular video meetings with you
- Find it easier to say things than to write them
When you’ve identified a client that fits that criteria, ask if they’d be willing to submit a short video.
Help your client to avoid rambling by giving them a brief outline of what you would like your client to cover in their video testimonial
Have your client write out their answers to these three questions.
- What problem did you have?
- How did (your accountancy firm) help solve that problem and how did that make you feel?
- What has changed since your problem was solved?
Once they’ve written out the answers they’ll be able to use it as an outline for their video. Encourage them not to “read from the script” but to use their answers as talking points as they go.
Also, have a specific place that’s easy for your client to upload the video once it’s complete. Google Drive or Dropbox are easy platforms for this.
You don’t need to reward clients for saying something nice, but you can thank them.
Offering an incentive might seem a bit desperate, like “Please please say something nice about me.” Remember that testimonial words could be what moves a business from a prospect to a client. Your clients’ words are marketing gold dust and should be treated as such.
Send them a nice thank you card with a branded swag item from your firm. Or even better, send them a small gift based on what you know about them. Do they love coffee? Send them a pound of your favorite whole-beans. Are they into comics? Send them a cool figurine. You get the picture. Clients love the personal touches you put on your care for them.
Ask for client testimonials on Facebook or Google.
Facebook and Google reviews are some of the best. It’s easy for the reader to see that it’s legitimate, that a real life person is writing it. You can’t write a Facebook or Google review for your own business- they simply don’t allow it- it can only come from someone else. These authentic reviews will give you street cred instantly.
Decide if you want to focus on Google or Facebook. Then follow the same process we’ve mentioned above and give your client the link to make their review.
Make testimonials a regular part of your client check-in process.
Presumably you have a way of checking in on your clients from time to time. You are ticking away at the numbers and reports and all is well. You are making sure everything is ironed out and running smoothly throughout the onboarding process and beyond.
Around the 6 month mark is a great time to do an extended check-in. Here’s what to do.
1. Create a landing page on your website specific for your clients.
2. Integrate a Gravity Form with questions regarding their experience. Keep it to 10 questions maximum. Here’s an example of the form we send to our clients.
3. Include a short video on the landing page mentioning that you’d like to check in, see how your client is doing and how you/your firm is performing and how you can improve.
4. Send an email to your client with the link to the landing page and ask them to fill out the form.
5. Once you’ve received their answers, make sure to read through everything and then book in a call to chat through anything you may have questions on, your plan for improving moving forward, etc. You can also ask them if they are okay with you using quotes from their answers in your marketing.
This level of customer experience will go a long way. Your clients will feel cared for, listened to, and happy to offer any help they can to improve your marketing message.
Getting client testimonials is a great way to get some great marketing done for your firm. Once you’ve gathered all the kind words, feel free to blast them about on your social media platforms and website (okay not like everyday, but do brag a little). Here’s a bit more on where you can use your testimonials in your marketing.
Have you had a great experience with getting testimonials from your clients? Or had anyone become a client because of the testimonials they found throughout your marketing? We love hearing success stories!