One of the things my clients want help with the most is getting really great testimonials for the cool stuff they do. Or, really, at this point, getting any testimonials.

And they’re absolutely right to want help with it because yes, this is one of those “make or break it” things in business.

A couple of good, well-placed testimonials will totally [oh, I don’t know, insert exciting verb!] up the number of people who enthusiastically throw money at you, hire you, buy your stuff, tell other people about you, etc.

The two reasons you’re not getting testimonials.

1. Reason number one: you feel weird about asking.

Just to be clear: I’m so not criticizing you for not asking, if that’s what’s going on for you.

Of course you’re not asking. It’s completely legitimate to feel uncomfortable, weird and possibly extremely icky about asking people for testimonials.

It’s hard to get around that creepy feeling that you’re just begging people to say something nice about you. And that’s kind of awkward, yes.

So I’m definitely not going to tell you “just get over yourself” or “just start asking people already”, because that would just be stupid.

And guess what? The fact that you’re not asking is actually a good thing, because when you do ask, you often bump straight into Reason number two.

Reason number two: you asked and now you’re screwed.

People hate being asked for testimonials. Most people.*

*There’s pretty much only one exception to that rule and that’s the person who writes to someone like me saying “I wrote a testimonial for your thing that I don’t even own and you should put it on your website and then link to me!” This does happen. But not too often.

Here’s a little clip of what’s happening inside the average person’s head when you ask them for a testimonial:

Panic (stage one):

“Oh no. Crap. What do I say? I never know what to say. I mean, yeah, I love his stuff but what do I saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay?”

Avoidance (stage 2):
“Okay. Breathe. Breathe. I’ll deal with this later. I’ll think it over and maybe — eventually — I’ll come up with something that won’t make me sound like a total freaking idiot.”

Resentment and projection (stage 3):
“No, you know what? No matter what I come up with, I’ll sound stupid and it will take me forever and I don’t have time for this right now. Argh. Why won’t people leave me alone?”

Embarrassment and annoyance (stage 4):
“Is this still in my inbox? I can’t believe I haven’t done this yet. I hate this. I hate it. And now he probably thinks I’m the world’s biggest ass. And every time I go into my inbox I feel like dirt. I suck. And he’s the reason I’m feeling like this. It’s not fair.”

Awesome. Now they despise themselves and the situation they’re in AND they (unconsciously, yes?) resent you too. Even though they love you and your work.

True story. This is incredible.

A friend of mine owns a yoga studio. Beautiful place.

She bought some all-natural good-for-the-world candles to light during class. And she loved them. They were local and hand-made and they smelled good and the whole thing was in perfect alignment with her green studio philosophy.

She was planning on ordering another enormous batch of them. And then the guy who makes the candles asked her for a testimonial.

My friend is not in any way inarticulate. She’s a really good writer. An amazing teacher.

But she just kind of froze. She could not for the life of her come up with a single thing to say about the candles. Everything that came to mind seemed insipid and bland.

So she didn’t write back. And some time went by. So much time that she felt awkward even answering it at all. Okay, over a year. And it’s sitting in her inbox this whole time.

Meanwhile, she’s out of candles for the studio. Out of the candles that she loves — plus she’s too embarrassed to order more, because she’s afraid he’s going to ask her about the testimonial.

Meanwhile, he’s probably thinking that she didn’t even really like them in the first place. Disaster.

Here’s what happens when you ask for testimonials.

Admittedly, the story with my friend is a slightly extreme case. But not as extreme as you’d might think.

Typically, when you just ask for a testimonial there are two possible results.

  • Result #1: You don’t get one and the person you asked feels awkward and uncomfortable and now you’ve also lost future business and referrals. Great.
  • Result #2: You get a testimonial, but it sucks because they (understandably) put on their “I’m an authority” hat to write it so it’s blandified.**

**And it sounds like it was written by a robot: “As a trained coach of blabbity-blah, I find that So-And-So’s services are inspiring, insightful and individual. They will lead you to success. Call her today!”

Why I’ve stopped helping clients with this.

So yeah, I’ve taught a lot of people how to get really, really good testimonials without feeling gross about it or having the person they’ve asked start to resent them.

And I have a LOT to say about this topic, not to mention some seriously genius techniques. Much more than I could fit into a few blog posts.

At this point, though, you can’t hire me to help you with this, because I’ve stopped letting people hire me for anything that doesn’t use my superpower.

My superpower is zapping stucknesses. I’m really good at it. Really really good. Ridiculously good. So good that using me for other stuff is a waste of my time. And, of course, your time too.

So instead, apparently I’m going to have to teach a course on it. (And if this isn’t your thing, stop right here and come back tomorrow for regular Fluent Self-ified curriculum).

A course on how to get really really great testimonials and referrals.

Okay. You twisted my arm. And it’s called… uh

Stuff Havi thinks you should know about how to get really really great testimonials and referrals.

Yeah, I didn’t have time to come up with a title so Selma wrote it.

Anyway, here’s some of what my clients now know that I’ll be covering in the course:

  • EXACTLY what to say to people so that when you ask you don’t have to feel gross about it and they won’t resent you for asking.
  • Why I never give testimonials, but the one thing you could do to get a really good one from me anyway.
  • How to get referrals even when you can’t talk about what you do.
  • How to get referrals in a seamless, natural way where other people won’t feel weird about giving them.
  • How to ask for testimonials and/or referrals without making it seem like you’re asking.
  • Every step you need to cover in order to get the kind of testimonials that make people want to drop everything they’re doing and happily throw money at you.
  • How to approach famous people. I was astonished by how much my own sales went up once I got testimonials from people like Pam Slim and Naomi Dunford. I’ll tell you what to do.

All the details. The bonus. The price. The discount. Yes. That.

The details:
Two 90 minute teleclasses. And one 90 minute Q&A session where I’ll answer whatever you throw at me.

The bonus: Course tuition includes the digital version of the homestudy.
Which means that whether or not you come to any of the actual classes you’ll be able to listen to the recordings and read the notes.

You can also send your questions by email and I’ll answer them during the Q&A call.

The price (without the discount for blog readers)
The price of the class is $154.*
*Just, you know, a little perspective: my hourly rate is $485. You’re getting 4.5 hours for a fraction of one hour.

This is low.**
** So low you should write me letters complaining about it but then your chances of me letting you in the course are also low.

And the discount for blog readers. That might be you?
BUT I’m doing a way lower (like, a hundred dollars lower) price for those of you who hang out here and read my stuff all the time. because I like you.

The CATCH. Here it is.

» If you want the lower price, you have to be able to:

A. correctly answer the question “who is Selma?” or “who is Stu?” and
B. put that answer into the comments box in the shopping cart. The comments box is the box where it asks if you want to make a comment. I know, right?

Price for Havi fans

Regular price




This course will be available later in homestudy form – you can look for it in the Fluent Self store.

First class is Sunday, May 3rd at 1:00 p.m. Pacific (again, you don’t have to be at the actual class — you get the recordings and notes!). Registration will END before the course begins. Probably significantly before. If you’re thinking it over, sign up.


Now I don’t have to feel bad about refusing to help my clients with this anymore. 🙂

p.s. Don’t buy this if you are a current member of my Kitchen Table program!
p.p.s. First person to point out that there are no testimonials for this course gets mocked mercilessly. Oh, how I amuse myself.

The Fluent Self