Many people struggle when asked to write a testimonial for a person. Here are some easy tips on how to write a great testimonial for an employee or business, no matter whether the person was brilliant or not so great!
Testimonials are vitally important for people as well as businesses and products. In part 1, we looked at strategies to help you get better testimonials for your business. In part 2, we look at the other side of the coin: how to write better testimonials for individuals and businesses.
In this two-part series, we take a deep dive into testimonials: How to get them and how to give them.
Giving & Getting Powerful Testimonials Series
Don't Have Time To Read the Whole Testimonial Guide Right Now?
Download a copy to-go! It only takes a few seconds. That way you can read it when you need.
* You will also join our free regular mailing list of useful business articles & tips. You are free to unsubscribe at any time.
You have Successfully Subscribed!
Writing a Testimonial: Does this Sound Familiar?
If you are asked to give someone a testimonial or write a testimonial for a business, your brain can go into paralysis mode.
You say “sure” and then sit and stare at your computer for a while, while your brain is spinning and not knowing where to start.
You type in some words and then delete them.
Your brain draws a blank, so you put off writing that testimonial for another day … and another day.
You mean to write it; you just don’t know how.
Here’s how to get over that testimonial writing paralysis.
4 Sure-Fire Ways to Write a Testimonial
1. Speak It
The easiest way to write a testimonial is to speak it.
Imagine a friend or colleague has asked you about the business or service: What would you say to them?
Either record your answer on your mobile or have someone scribble down your answer. Type it up and polish the grammar a little bit, and you are good to go.
2. Video It
The most powerful testimonials are ones that are made on film.
Just grab your camera phone or webcam and get someone to ask you some questions while you answer or simply talk about the product or service.
3. Jot It Down
The thought of “writing” can put some people into a cold sweat. The word “jotting” doesn’t have the same fear level.
So just “jot” a few points down about the person or business and then email it off.
4. Use a Testimonial Template
Many people find it easier to fill in the blanks of a testimonial template, using the words as writing prompts to help structure their thinking.
How to Write a LinkedIn or Other Testimonial About a Person
If a person asks you to write a LinkedIn recommendation for them, or you are asked by an employee (or past employee) to write a testimonial for them, there are a few things you need to cover.
Start by giving a bit of context: How did you know the person; What was your relationship with them.
For example, “I worked with Mary Jane as her Manager for 5 years from 2010 – 2015 in XYZ Creative Industries“.
Then move on to the standout skills and behaviours you observed while working with them. Everyone has great qualities – this is where you highlight the absolute best skills of a person.
For example, “In that time, I observed that meeting someone as organised and calm as Mary Jane was rare. She always knew exactly where every project and client file was and what needed to be done. Nothing seemed to faze her, no matter how frantic the rest of the office was. She was a sea of calm amongst the chaos, tackling each task with a smile.“
Next, share one or two success stories about the person: Something you observed about how they completed a project or task that shows their skills in operation.
For example, “I particularly remember one day when we had an impossible deadline to deliver a presentation. At a team meeting, Mary Jane came up with a left-field suggestion that not only helped us meet the deadline but also helped us win a multi-million dollar project. She can definitely think outside the box!“
If appropriate, share something endearing about the person you observed, as people love to know what it would be like to work with someone.
For example, “I still miss the cupcakes that Mary Jane would bring to the office to celebrate people’s birthdays or project milestones. Mary Jane was always a great team player.“
Finally, deliver your recommendation and why you believe the person is great to work with.
For example, “I happily recommend Mary Jane to work in any creative business that values being on top of projects and is looking for a highly competent administrative assistant with a caring and calm approach.“
You don’t need a copywriter to write the testimonial for you. Write it in your own words and from the heart.
Personal Testimonial Template
I worked with (name) as (your role) from (time & business).
In that time I observed (positive skills & behaviours).
I particularly remember (success story).
One thing that I miss is (endearing positive quality).
I recommend (name) to work in (type of business/role) that (what they will value most).
How to Write a Testimonial for a Person Who Wasn’t That Great
Now and again, you will be asked to write a testimonial for an employee or a person that you do not like.
If you genuinely can’t decline to write the testimonial, then stay with the facts and simply confirm employment details.
Include the dates you worked with them, their role, their employment status, and the date the person left the company.
Keep it professional and factual in these situations, and you can’t go wrong.
Employment Confirmation Template
I wish to confirm the employment of (name).
They worked in the role of (title) at (company name) on a (full-time/part-time/ casual) basis for the period from (date) to (date).
How to Write a Testimonial About a Business
If you are asked to write a testimonial for a business, and they have not given you any prompts or clues on what to write, then these questions may help you.
Start with what prompted you to choose the service or product. What problem were you trying to solve?
For example, “I needed a new website that was mobile responsive, that I could easily update, and that didn’t cost an arm and a leg.“
Then, anything that you were concerned about or afraid about.
For example, “I was worried about choosing XYZ as I had been burned by web developers in the past who charged huge fees to create a site that constantly broke, was slow to load and was hard to maintain.“
Then: What happened when you bought the product or service? What did they do?
For example, “What I found was that XYZ was brilliant. They were not only reasonably priced, but they also met every deadline, and my site is fast to load and looks great on all devices.“
What results did you get?
For example, “The results were fantastic! My traffic increased dramatically, with new clients phoning through orders almost as soon as the site was launched.“
What did you like most about the approach the product or service took?
For example, “I particularly liked that they took the time to explain all of the options to me in a way that I could understand. They also included many little touches that other web designers charged extra for, such as a favicon, a branded 404-error page, and built-in security to help keep my site safe from hackers.“
To whom would you recommend this product or service? Why?
For example, “I would recommend XYZ to other small businesses looking to have a website that not only looks good, it actually works in terms of converting sales.“
Business Testimonial Template
I needed help with (problem).
I was initially concerned about choosing (name) because (things that worried you).
What I found was (how they solved your issue).
The results that I got were (describe the results).
I particularly liked (specific feature).
I would recommend (name) to (whom you recommend them and why).
Why You Should Write a Social Media Testimonial for a Business
By leaving a positive review on Google, Facebook, Yelp, True Local, or other review sites, you help make that business more visible in search engines, which sends more business their way.
You also help more people to choose that business. People choose businesses based on what other people say. The more people that say nice things about a business, the more that potential clients are willing to trust that business and to use their services.
How much difference? One case study article looked at a local removalist company. They received 20 leads a month from Google when they had four reviews. When they had 83 reviews, they received 350 leads a month from Google.
A positive review also feels fantastic when you receive it. It is like winning Lotto each time one lands in your inbox. It is like you are enveloped by a deep, nurturing hug from someone who cares about you and wants to see you succeed.
It is like you have been seen and noticed. It is a validation and a vote of confidence in you and what you are doing. It refills your resilience tank and gives you a feeling that you are making a difference and that you do matter.
As an aside, it also feels darn good to leave warm, genuine, heartfelt words for someone, and it costs you nothing.
How To Write A Social Media Testimonial For A Business
Here are a few tips to get you started on leaving social media testimonials for a business.
Always start with Google
A review on Google significantly impacts local search engine results, which means more clients for your local business.
Type the business’s name into search, and then check out their Google My Business listing. Click on the “Leave a Review” tab (making sure you are signed in to your Google/Gmail account), and then leave your 5-star review with a few words about what makes the business effective and wonderful.
If you have left a Google review, then the next best place to leave a review is Facebook. If the business has a business page and has enabled reviews to be left, then repeat the process.
One tip to the wise, Facebook blocks you if you try to leave more than two reviews on different business Facebook pages in 5 minutes. They think you are misusing the system, so if you are going to leave several Facebook reviews for different businesses, leave time between each one.
What If You Only Know The Person As Part Of Your Networking Group Or As A Friend And Haven’t Bought A Service Or Product From Them?
Even if you have never bought a product or service, you can still leave a social media review.
You will have spoken with the business owner, asked for advice, seen what they do, are on their mailing list, or liked their Facebook page and watched what they share.
Never lie in a review and pretend to have bought something if you haven’t.
Comment on what you know. Comment on their advice, expertise and skill. Comment on their helpfulness. Comment on the results you have observed.
Should You Leave Less Than A 5-Star Social Media Review?
What if you think the business is only worth 4-stars and not 5-stars?
This is entirely up to you. However, remember that people who are having a bad day never hesitate to leave a 1-star review.
Most review sites average out the stars, so your 4-star review will be added to the 1-star and will not make as much difference to the overall rating.
Emotionally, when you get a 3 or 4-star review, it is a bit of a kick – as if you are not good enough. Is this really what you want to do?
If you are going to do a social media review for a small business, then seriously consider going all out and High Fiving the review.
How to Write a Testimonial About a Speaker
If you have had someone speak at an event, writing a letter of thanks/testimonial is the polite thing to do.
Start with context: Where they spoke, what topic they spoke on and a summary of the audience response.
For example, “Thank you for speaking at the XYZ Chamber of Commerce breakfast in May on “Fantastic name of speech.” You could have heard a pin drop throughout your presentation – you had the audience at the edge of their seats the whole time you were speaking.”
Next, move on to a few pieces of feedback you heard from the presentation attendees.
For example, “Here are just some of the comments we heard from our members after your speech, “Wow – that was the best speaker our Chamber has had in a long time,” Bob; “That tip about to-do lists was gold!” Susan; “So inspiring!” Greg“
Finally, close with another thank you and a recommendation.
For example, “Once again, thank you for sharing your story and tips with our members. We would heartily recommend you to other Chambers of Commerce looking for an inspiring business speaker who also gives practical tips on how to improve their small business.“
Speaker Testimonial Template
Thank you for speaking at (name) (date) (topic). (Summary of the audience feedback).
Here are just some of the comments we heard from our members after your speech (3 specific pieces of feedback).
Once again, thank you for (specific thanks).
We would recommend you to (whom you recommend them and why).
Basic Testimonial Writing Rules
Don’t worry about how long or short your testimonial is.
If you write a page length testimonial, they can always edit it and use the key points if they need a short testimonial, or use the whole thing for longer marketing pieces.
By writing until you are “done”, you give the company or person options.
Finally, where possible, give permission for your full name and company name to be used.
If you have a website, give permission for your website to be linked to your testimonial. This has the added benefit of giving your website more Google juice through gaining a link back to it and adding credibility to your words.
Writing a testimonial doesn’t have to be a chore – pick the approach that best works for you and give it a go.
You will feel great for sharing your experience with the product or service with people, and the company or person you are writing for will feel appreciated and valued.