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5 Pro Tips for Transforming a Lockdown into Killer Testimonials

Your consulting firm’s prospects and clients are settling into the video call format. Other than the relationship-building advantages of video, has this newly-accepted communication medium ushered in any valuable opportunities for your consulting firm?

You betcha.

Video testimonials are where it’s at.

Any testimonial from a happy client builds credibility for your consulting firm.

However, since most people trust what they see more than what they read, videos of people earnestly extolling your consulting firm’s virtues pack a particularly powerful punch.

Also, clients who record testimonials for you are more likely to hire you again and recommend you.

Five Pro Tips for Video Testimonials

Pro Tip: Set the Stage

Some clients feel awkward or uptight when you ask for a testimonial, or they overthink it.

Therefore, instead of asking for a testimonial, couch the discussion as part of a learning and feedback exercise your consulting firm is conducting. (Fortunately, this process will help you improve your client experience, so your claim isn’t disingenuous.)

After the interview, you can thank your client for offering useful feedback, then ask whether they’d be okay if you used excerpts of the interview as a testimonial.

Most will agree. For those who are reluctant, find out why and offer the Dramatic Reenactment (see below).

Pro Tip: Add an Imagined Colleague

Interviews can sometimes produce shallow responses and language that doesn’t play well in a testimonial.

To improve the quality of your content, ask your client to present his responses as if he were talking to a colleague rather than to you.

Utilize the following format: “If a colleague asked you… what would you say?“

This formulation encourages more natural, thoughtful and honest feedback.

Also your client will talk about your consulting firm in the third person, which creates a more credible testimonial than a video with second person “you” language.

Pro Tip: Ask the Fence-Sitter Question

The first three questions you’ll ask your client during your video call interview are common. The fourth question is the money maker.

Question 1: If a colleague asked you what went well during our project, what would you say?

Question 2: If a colleague asked you what could have gone better or what you would have liked to have seen, what would you say?

Question 3: If a colleague asked you what was the most valuable outcome from the project, what would you say?

Question 4: If a colleague were on the fence about using us for their project, what would you say to encourage them to engage us?

Pro Tip: Make it Camera Friendly

Your client may not be as familiar with video call basics as you are. Therefore, ask him (and remind him) to look into the camera when he answers, rather than looking at the image of you.

Also, if you notice your client swaying back and forth or bobbing and weaving in his chair, gently interrupt him.

Pro Tip: Dramatic Reenactment

With a testimonial about your consulting firm in the can (that’s fancy, video lingo… or anachronistic), consider reshooting it using a professional actor. **

An actor can use your client’s exact words and deliver them more fluidly. (And without crumbs jiggling in his mustache.)

Many actors have good video equipment in their homes. Plus, in the current economic environment you can hire seasoned actors for low fees.

This approach also protects your consulting client’s identity, and is particularly handy if your client is uncomfortable about being identified in public. You can anonymize the testimonial, if necessary with an overlay such as “Michael R, CEO, chocolate manufacturer.”

(You could also identify your video as an actor portrayal.)

Do you have other Pro Tips for obtaining excellent, video testimonials?

  1. Tom Borg
    May 13, 2020 at 9:48 am Reply

    Excellent strategies. Thanks David.

    • David A. Fields
      May 13, 2020 at 10:01 am Reply

      You’re welcome, Tom. Thanks for posting your feedback.

  2. Roger Herod
    May 13, 2020 at 10:23 am Reply

    Great ideas, David. I’ve also found it very valuable if you can persuade a client to do a joint presentation with you at a conference on a project that you’ve worked on together. I’ve done this three or four times and it definitely seems to provide a great deal of credibility to your work.

    • David A. Fields
      May 13, 2020 at 10:31 am Reply

      You’re absolutely right, Roger. Co-presenting a case study can be a terrific credibility and awareness builder. Often, your firm’s only path into a no-vendors-allowed conference is via a joint presentation.

      Thanks for raising that additional post-project technique!

  3. Jeff Cohen
    May 13, 2020 at 3:09 pm Reply

    Is hiring an actor duplicitous? First, the clients, I assume, indicated that they don’t want to be videoed. Second, the audience could believe you’ve made this up. Otherwise, they’d see the client speaking — not an actor you paid.

    • David A. Fields
      May 13, 2020 at 4:13 pm Reply

      Great question, Jeff. Not remotely duplicitous. Who are you deceiving? Your clients know they’re on a video call and know you’re recording it, because you established that up front.

      A separate question is whether a testimonial is credible if it has an overlay that says something like, “Actor reenactment of actual testimonial.” Generally speaking, if a consulting firm has established so little credibility with a prospect that the veracity of their testimonials is questioned, they have no chance of winning a project from that prospect anyway.

      Testimonials are rarely the source of credibility. They support, buttress and reinforce the credibility you’ve established through other means.

      I’m very glad you raised that concern, Jeff!

  4. Robyn Bolton
    May 13, 2020 at 6:13 pm Reply

    Absolutely LOVE the 4 questions! Even the best projects are never 100% perfect. When I ask for feedback, I can always tell that people are editing themselves because they want to be nice because we’ve developed a great relationship over the course of our work together. Reframing the questions to focus on what they would tell a colleague is a genius shift that should help the client feel more comfortable and elicit more honest and constructive feedback

    • David A. Fields
      May 13, 2020 at 6:49 pm Reply

      Ironically, client’s often struggle to give you straight, unvarnished feedback even though they paid your consulting firm to help! As you said, setting the context as a conversation with a colleague and specifically asking what they would have liked to have seen help you elicit deeper, more honest feedback.

      I appreciate your feedback and you highlighting that aspect of the article, Robyn.

  5. Laurie D. Foster
    May 13, 2020 at 11:35 pm Reply

    Thank you for another set of tools in the endless Arsenal you provide us. This popped up today right after I had listened to a Podcast of yours on Unleashed.
    I’m so grateful for the moment I stumbled on your work a few years ago. Thank you yet again!

    • David A. Fields
      May 14, 2020 at 8:49 am Reply

      You’re making me blush, Laurie! Seriously, we have a broad community of smart consultants contributing their experience and wisdom, and I’m grateful to be part of it.

      Thank you for the feedback and for adding your voice to the conversation.

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