The fast and easy way to get testimonials

Updated to Business, Speaking on January 23, 2023.

We all know that a client testimonial always outweighs our own claims to fame. That independent review is taken as truth, whereas our self-promotions are seen as, well, just that: self promotions.

It the old days (when we used a thing called “the fax”) we begged clients for a letter of testimonial.

This artifact of bygone days was treasured, photocopied, and preserved in plastic covers like some ancient scroll.

“Do you have any client testimonials?” the person enquiring would ask.
“Yes!” you would proudly announce. “I have three of them. Should I send them all?”

Those days are long gone (as is the fax).

Clients simply don’t have the time to carefully word a letter. In fact, the last one I received was three years ago and that one took a month to get to me and only after a less-than-subtle email reminder to the client.

Instead we have to use stealth tactics. Most importantly, we have to plan ahead. This is how I get testimonials for my speaking, seminar training, and events.


It took me a long time to discover that a verbal testimonial is no different from a written one. Here’s how it works.

Let’s say you just finished coaching a client, or stepped off the stage after your speech. You client is glowing. They love what you did and are over the moon enthusiastic. Wonderful! Home run, you are thinking.

No! What you should be thinking is: get a testimonial.

When I hear a great sentence from my client about my work I simply ask if I can use that for “marketing purposes.” Of course, they say yes. Why wouldn’t they? In our shared computer folders I have one with all the video and written testimonials I have collected over the years. All the new ones are organized by the nature of the work (speeches, seminars, on-line course, etc.) and the year.


After a speech I typically have just ten minutes before the next speaker starts or everyone leaves because the event is over. In that time vid ex.I want to: talk with as many people as possible, sell my books, debrief with the client, and pack up and clear my stuff out of the room.

It’s too much, so I have a strategy.

First I sell books and talk with people. Next, I ask two to three people for a quick interview. Finally, I have a chat with the event planner or client about my presentation as I pack up my gear.

Here’s the trick to getting great video testimonials you can use for years to come.

The trick is to assume the people you pick want to give the interview – boldness goes a long way. I start by asking: “Can you do me a favour? I’m hoping I can ask you one question about my presentation to help me for marketing purposes.” See examples here.

The only times I’ve had anyone turn me down was because they had to run to meet someone. By saying the video is for “marketing purposes” I assume I have their permission to use the clip. Again, in ten years of using video testimonials I have never had anyone refuse or ask me to not use their clip (and if they did, I would simply delete it).

I now use my iphone, but before that I carried a simple Flip camera by Cisco (the Flip is no longer available).

I typically post these individual clips on the page promoting my speaking/seminar work. I have twice created a montage of clips (see one here) from single client events.


Here’s a neat hack. You get a glowing email from your client. They rave about your book, coaching, on-line course, whatever. Great, now ask to use that quote for “marketing purposes.” That’s it. Now you have a testimonial. I have snatched some great ones from VP’s, CEO’s and others exactly that way.


Often the testimonial is too long and wordy. So chop it. You aren’t changing the quote, just taking a part out. Here’s an example:

“You did a great job understanding our needs and delivering great content and helping us get to the next level in team effectiveness and success. Thank you!”

I would change this to:

“You did a great job…helping us get to the next level in team effectiveness and success. Thank you!”

It’s like the beginning of audience applause – someone has to start it. If you want lots of testimonials (and you should), start asking for them – it’s good for everyone.


Photo credits: Flickr: stickwithjosh