#32: Getting Great Client Testimonials

Are you collecting testimonials from your clients? To make sure you get the most useful testimonials possible, follow along with the tips in this week’s episode! Michelle also shares:

– How to manage a Facebook group for your online course.
– How to know whether your target market is TOO “niche” or not.
– What to do with a client who reaches their goals before the end of your 6 month program.
…and much more!

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Master Class: Turn Your Health Coaching Business Into a Full Time Salary

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Hello, there health coaches. Welcome to the health coach power community Q&A. I am Michelle Pfennighaus. Thanks so much for joining me today and here is what I need to know. Have you been collecting testimonials from your clients, yes or no? If not, it’s time to start and to make sure that you get the very best testimonials possible and by the word best, I really mean the most useful, the testimonials that are going to be most likely to convince prospective clients to work with you. Follow along with the tips that I’m about to share in today’s episode. Now, if you’re here with me live and we are streaming over at healthcoachpowercommunity.com, here’s what I want you to do. Go to the comment area and tell me are you collecting testimonials and I would love to know what is your current process for collecting those testimonials and if you don’t have a process, you could just say, I don’t have a process Michelle and I will totally understand because for many years I did not either.

By the way, this episode is brought to you by my free training for health coaches, it’s called how to turn your health coaching business into a full time salary and you can sign up for free at findyourbalancehealth.com/earn. That’s e a r n, and you better believe that a few really great testimonials can certainly help you earn the salary that you want. This training is free and it is only available at findyourbalancehealth.com/earn.

Alrighty. So this question came from Carly and she said has any. She actually has a pretty specific question, so we’re going to we’re going to break it down. She said, has anyone done video testimonials with clients? I was thinking about doing it via zoom or Google hangout and keep it pretty casual. I don’t want it to be too long, but I want to evoke quality responses. What questions would you ask and is there a good structure you have found to be effective?

Yes Carly, Absolutely. So first let’s talk about collecting testimonials in any format, and then we’ll talk specifically about video after that. So, whether it’s, you know, written, or you’re going to record somebody speaking via audio or video, there are two questions that I think make or break a grit to a great testimonial. So first, let me give you an example of a testimonial that you don’t want and you may be surprised. Okay, so here’s a testimonial that I would just throw in the garbage if somebody wrote a testimonial for me that said, I loved working with Michelle. Michell’s so super great. I learned so much. Thank you Michelle. Now that’s positive, right? I mean clearly this person likes me a lot and if they went out of their way to rate something like that, I would be flattered.

But from a business perspective, that testimonial is basically useless. And the reason is because doesn’t really tell me anything about what that person accomplished. So ultimately we’re not. I’m not selling myself as like a friend. You know, where if someone says they loved me, that that’s going to be the selling point. Ultimately people are buying a result. So they’re hiring health coach only because they want to get to a certain result. They want to lose a certain amount of weight or they want to be able to have the energy to play with their grandkids or whatever the result is that they’re going for. That’s why they’re going to pay you, so it’s really important that your testimonials talk about the results in as quantifiable away as possible, so it would be much better for a testimonial to say something like, before I worked with Michelle, I was 50 pounds overweight, was relying on coffee to get going in the morning and I had no energy whatsoever to play with my kids at night and I was on anti anxiety medication and whatever else, you know, like really to describe the specifics of what was going on beforehand is incredibly useful because that is going to connect with your target market.

Your target market’s going to say, oh yeah, that’s me. That’s me too. I had that same exact problem and then that person could say, after working with Michelle, I lost 30 of the 50 pounds with more coming off every day. I find myself happy and engaged in the evenings. My kids and I have started a scrabble night every Thursday and uh, I forget the other thing. Oh yeah. And I’m no longer relying on Xanax to get through a hectic work day. You see how much more specific that is and it is so much more useful for somebody reading who’s like, oh yeah, I pop Xanax when I’m getting anxious too, you know, and I’m just using this as an example, but when you have those particulars and he had this quantifiable amount, like I lost 30 pounds versus just saying I lost weight. Or when you can say I started doing scrabble with my kids every Thursday night versus saying I have more energy, right? It really hits home with the reader. So in order to get those kinds of responses there, two, two main questions that I suggest you ask when you’re getting a testimonial from your clients. And the first is what was your, you can say, what was your life like? What was your health like? Basically, what were you experiencing before we started working together? And then ask what results have you seen through our work together? And you can tell them, please be as specific as possible. So it’s really the before and the after, you know, this works, right? Because even the most cheesy weight loss ad out there, what is it? It’s a before picture and an after picture and that is really appealing to people they want to see, hey look, someone else did it. Someone like me that I can relate to, just got the results that I really want.

That’s amazing. So that’s what you want to get out of them. Um, and I suggest that you ask those questions specifically and if you are on the phone, if you’re recording some audio or if you’re on video and you’re recording video, it’s nice because you can continue to ask questions. So let’s say that my client said, um, it’s great after working with Michelle, you know, now I have more energy. You can prompt them, kind of like you’re coaching them through. You might even do this at your last session. Some of you guys might do this kind of thing at your last session with your clients where you kind of work through what kind of progress have we made, because sometimes people don’t even notice their own progress. Then you have to remind them or you have to like pull it out of them so they’d give themselves the credit that they deserve.

So anyway, she said, I have more energy I might say, and why does that matter or what difference does that make in your life? And ask some open ended questions to get them to reveal more of those more emotional and more specific details. So, um, those, that’s the structure and certainly you can ask other questions as well, but I think those are the two that you really want to make sure you hit the before and the after. And then let’s talk about video, right? Because I think when you’re on video, um, couple things can happen. Number one, your client’s going to be a little bit nervous. I’m pretty used to being on video because I’m on video all the time. I’m on video right now, but most people are not comfortable on video, especially if they know they’re being recorded, so I would start by having just a casual conversation with them just to get them to loosen up a little bit and you can let them know that it’s being recorded, but you’re not going to be using all of it.

It’s going to be edited and then they’re going to relax a great deal and Chit Chat for awhile just about something else to loosen them up and then ease your way into the questions. You’re probably going to want to edit the video into a very short sound bite, so because there’s going to be editing done and you’re going to want your voice to not appear as part of the edit. Probably. I don’t know what your vision is, but that’s typically how I want it to be. You have to be careful that you’re not talking over each other, so let your client come to a stop with their words before you ask the next question because it’s really hard to edit video when there’s voices overlapping. So that’s my first little technical thing for you. Um, and the other thing to remember is that you do want it to be quite short.

No one’s going to sit there and watch like a 10-minute testimonial. Very unlikely. You probably want these to be under a minute so that you know, they actually get washed and people get to the after they don’t just hear about that before. So that’s what you want to do. I usually do these on zoom where you can record them. Then you can download the recording and you can edit in something like I movie or whatever you have on your computer. So I hope that’s helpful. Carly.

Now we did have a follow up question come in from Lorraina and she said, what about if you’re just starting out and you have no testimonials or I guess you have no clients who have had any results yet? Is there a way around this? So I’m going to answer that. And then I’m going to also tell you my very favorite way of collecting testimonials.

I want to just put a pin in that so I don’t forget. So Lorraina, or for any of you out there who haven’t really worked with any clients yet, um, you don’t have anyone to ask for testimonials. This comes up a lot even for me, like if I’m working for a long time, but let’s say I launched a new program that I’ve never done before. I don’t have any testimonials for that program. So it’s something that you can do is you can get testimonials from people who you’ve done the same type of work with or as close as you can get. So maybe you have a friend who you helped with some aspect of her health. She wasn’t paying you, she wasn’t a true client, but she could still say something like, with Lorraina’s help, I was able to, you know, have the best sleep of my, of my life or whatever, you know, the result was that she got.

So you can tap into people that you have informally worked with. Um, the other thing that you can do, and I usually tell my students to try doing this when they’re first starting their businesses to work with clients as soon as possible. Do not put it off. If you’re still in school, Great. You can start working with clients. You can work with clients for free. You can give them a reduced rate, whatever you can, because you do need people to get some results so that you have not only some confidence, but that you can get these testimonials, so get out there with like a friends and family. Offer a really low price deal. You don’t want it to be necessarily six months long if they’re not paying you very much, but you also want it to be like four weeks long because nobody’s going to get very good results in four weeks.

It’s just not enough time for the body to change. Right? Well sometimes depending on what you’re doing with those weeks, but the point is make it long enough that they’re going to be able to see some substantial results and then give you a testimonial. In fact, Lorraina, maybe you even have people that you have worked with any slightly different capacity. Maybe you’re a yoga teacher or maybe at work you. I don’t know what you do, but if you have anyone that you’ve ever helped in any capacity regarding their health, you can ask them to write something for you, and by the way, with all of things, if you’re having people do written testimonials, it is very helpful to write the testimonial for them. I know that sounds weird, but trust in me, if you ask someone to write a testimonial, they’ll be like, oh yeah, sure I’d love to, but they’re busy and they forget and you feel weird about following up and they feel guilty because they never did it and they don’t know what to write.

So if you just write it for them and you say, please edit however you like. Here’s a starting point. Most of the time, my experience is people just go, Yep, that’s great. You can use that. So that’s a little tip for you. But my favorite, favorite, favorite way of collecting testimonials that are authentic and requires no extra work at all is if you have a Facebook group, and we’re going to talk more about Facebook groups in just a second, but let’s say you have a program and there’s a Facebook group, it’s likely that at some point during your program, people are going to leave what I call spontaneous testimonials. Oh my God, I woke up today and I’m four pounds lighter. I can’t believe it. This has been amazing. I used to feel so dragging in the morning and now I feel great, blah, blah, blah.

People will write these things right? If you’ve ever held any group program, you know this copy paste, put it in a word document for yourself, save it for later. At the end of the program you can go and ask these people, Hey, by the way, this is a quote from during the program, would you be willing to let me use this in future marketing materials? Feel free to edit it however you like. It’s the same idea. You give them the text to approve, except in this case they actually wrote it so it’s even more of a no-brainer for them to say, yeah, sure. Um, so that, those, I love those because they don’t sound like a testimonial. They don’t sound like scripted. They’re just like real authentic words that come out. So anyway, if you have even an in person group anywhere where people are giving feedback, even if you have to scribble it down on a piece of paper.

So and so said this, you know, that’s a great way of collecting testimonials later that feel really natural. Um, let’s see here. So I was collecting testimonials out there. Sharon says I have collected several good testimonials by asking for them after my detoxes. Yeah. So that’s exactly what I’m talking about Sharon. So any sort of group program at the end is a great place and if you can collect some information during the program to prompt the person to write about a certain thing or to remember how good they felt on day four or whatever, that can be very helpful.

Okay. So let’s move onto the next question. You guys, this one came from Francesca and she said, hi coaches, I’m working on my first online group program. It looks like many coaches include closed Facebook groups where people can share their experiences, the recipes, etc. And I think it’s a great idea, but here’s my question. What if you just have one or two people signing up? Isn’t it awkward If there aren’t enough people in the group? Should I start with just email support and then create a Facebook group? if I have enough participants? Also, would you create a separate Facebook group each program cycle or would you have only one group to which you add clients every time?

All good questions. I’m glad that you’re thinking of them now because it can be awkward to get in the position and then have no plan b, so let me just say right now, there’s no right or wrong way to do these things, but from my experience, you’re right.

Having one or two people sign up for a group program, which is not necessarily a bad thing. They can still have a great experience and get results and give you a testimonial. I mean there’s, that’s fine, but in the context of a Facebook group, yeah, it can be a little bit awkward when there’s only two people in there. There’s not going to be a lot of conversation. They’re going to be very shy. So honestly, even if you have five people, 10 people, they can be very shy. People are very shy in Facebook groups, so whether you’re running them with your programs or if you have a free Facebook group, just know that that’s normal. You’re not doing anything wrong, but there are ways to get the party started. So whenever I start a brand new group, I always ask friends to join the group always and back inside Healthy Profit University, which is my online done with you program for health coaches.

Um, that’s something we do. People will post a link and say, hey, I just started this Facebook group. Will you guys join it? Right? Because it’s really easy to join someone’s group. We can all do this for each other. You can join the group. You can even unfollow it if you don’t want to get the notifications. But at least you have some numbers sitting there and that is so much more comfortable for one of your paying clients to show up and see, oh there’s already 12 people in this group versus like I’m the only one. So we want them to feel comfortable and that’s a way to do it. You can also either hire someone or, or ask someone to help you get conversations going. So even in larger groups, I’ve run groups like with 60, 70 people in them at a time and I’ve had help from somebody who’s in there purposely generating conversation, really helpful.

And I always liken it to like when you go to a wedding and no one will get on the dance floor. So what do you do? Some weddings, they hire dancers. They hire like party dancers to get out there and get people going and sometimes you know, they’re the ones leading the Congo line or they’re the ones out on the floor, like dragging the grandpa out to get him dancing. And that’s can be incredibly helpful in a group where people are just naturally going to be feeling shy about putting themselves out there. So, um, so that’s what you can do. You when you have just one or two people in a group, I invite other people to join first and then you’ll never have that empty group. The other question you had was about should you create a Facebook group, um, each cycle or where do you have one group to which you could add clients every time.

And that’s very much up to how your program is structured. Do you want participants from past rounds to be part of the next round and if so, are they going to be paying for that ongoing access or not? I tend to, for the type of program I think you’re creating here, and I’m just making a guest, let’s say it’s like a five day detox or something like that. I would typically create a Facebook group, put everybody in it at the end of the program, take everybody out, and then the next program cycle ad people back in. But I’ll often keep the same group because if there’s no reason to necessarily create a new group on Facebook, you can always change the name of the group. You can always change the picture at the top and you can change the members so you don’t have to actually trash the whole group, um, unless you want to and start over fresh.

You can just replace the people and, and things like that. So that’s how I typically handle these things. But, um hmm. Now I’m going to answer your questions at the same time. Let’s say that you offer people a spot in your program and they’re going to get lifetime access to this group. Then they stay in the group and the next time you run it, you already have people in the group so it’s never empty. And if you could have that kind of forethought for yourself, um, I have found that to be really helpful to have some old members in there to pad the group for next time. All right. What questions do you guys have for me today? My live group is quite quiet. If you have any questions about what’s going on in your business, go ahead and put them in the comment area now.

I’ll make some time at the end for those, but right now. I’m going to answer a question from Esther. Esther said, I have a client who’s very driven, self motivated and is doing well with her goals were halfway through the six month program and she has already surpassed her six month goals. We don’t seem to be getting anywhere with sessions as she seems to be fine with where she is now and is need of maintenance more than anything else. I wonder if this is a situation where we part ways, if she feels like she got what she needed.

Well, I have absolutely been there and it can get a little bit strange when you know that someone is maybe just using up those last sessions, but their heart really isn’t in it and they don’t really want to be there. They don’t really have anything other than wanting to talk about.

So I would ask her how she wants to proceed, frankly, because um, I’ve had clients who, when that happens, they just kind of naturally disappear. They don’t make that next appointment or they cancel it and they never reschedule and part of me knows it’s because they’re done, you know, they got what they came for, they’re busy. Why are they going to sit around and just chit chat for another x number of hours if they don’t have to. Like I can understand their point of view in that case. That’s fine. As long as your financials are in order, like she’s already paid you or she understands she’s going to continue to pay, you know, the. I wouldn’t be given any refunds around this. The program costs with the program costs. Anybody who gets results faster, it should just be happy with those results came a lot quicker than I thought.

That’s amazing. But they’re still worth the sum of the entire program. You’re always selling the result. You’re not selling your time. So that’s number one. But I’m guessing that if she is still showing up to your sessions, Esther, she might have more that she wants to explore. Maybe she doesn’t even completely realize it, but if she truly felt like the support was unnecessary, she was good to go. I think she would be canceling on you, like I said, just not showing up. But if she’s there every other week or whatever it is, and she’s sitting in that chair and she’s talking to you, hey, go for it. These are the sessions where you get to go into the deeper issues. These are the sessions where you get to ask where you get to notice where you get to. You’re young though. You don’t have to worry about the obvious stuff.

You don’t have to talk about eating kale anymore. Like, that’s good. You can start talking more. Hey, I noticed, um, in one of our sessions while back, you mentioned some tension between you and your stepfather. Like how are things going there? Open the door. Maybe there’s nothing behind it, but maybe there’s tons behind it. So if she’s showing up, I say go for it. But if you sense that there’s some tension or she’s canceling or whatever, you could also just bring it up with her and if it makes sense to discontinue the sessions, discontinue you can always offer to do a session. I’m spaced out more so instead of like every other week, it could be next month or maybe two months from now, let’s touch base to use up the rest of your sessions and she might appreciate that.

Okay. Here’s a question from Sharon. She says, Michelle, I had an old four-day jumpstart listed on Facebook months ago and I forgot about it. After the closing date of my recent detox out of the blue, someone signed up for the four day jumpstart, which is free. My detox is not free. Should I get rid of the four day jumpstart with no explanation after this participant has finished it. It’s conflicting with my paid program, so I assume they’re basically the same thing then. Cause you could have both. You could have afforded a jumpstart that’s very minimal and then you could have an actual detox program that’s a lot more in depth and then you could keep both, but if they’re kind of similar, yes, I would get rid of one or the other for sure. You want to make sure that your freebie is not the same thing as your paid program. That’s a very good instinct, Sharon. So yeah, this person signed up. Then you kind of have to go with that, but cut it off. No more.

Okay. Let’s see. What else do we got here? You guys, um, I have a question from Deborah and this is a good one. In fact, in a couple months I think we’ll be talking more about this as a, as we start thinking more about like tax time. We might talk more about financials, but for now Deborah asked, I’m looking for suggestions on financial software. I’m leaning towards QuickBooks thoughts, ideas, what has worked for you. I’m just starting out and I want something easy, but that will also grow with me.

And I thought this was a good question because I know that I had no idea what I was doing with my financials until I sat down with someone who knew what she was doing. Her name’s Jessica. She helps me. She helped me figure it all out. It was a mess beforehand.

So the best thing that you can do when you’re first starting out as have a spreadsheet where you track your income and your expenses, that’s like the most basic thing that you should do. But beyond that I really highly recommend talking to someone. And most accountants or bookkeepers prefer QuickBooks. That’s my understanding. It’s more of like an industry standard and there are other things out there like FreshBooks and I don’t even know what else. I’ve never used them. They look nice, but the professionals have always talked to have always recommend QuickBooks. So I would say stick with your excel spreadsheet for now. If you only have a little bit of income coming and going every month, it’s not that much to keep track of. But if it’s becoming enough that you really need an automated system, I would absolutely go with QuickBooks and I just realized that I skipped over a question that I definitely wanted to hit on today.

Let’s go back to that one. Sorry you guys. This one came from Danielle. Danielle said, I’m hoping to start my own coaching business specifically geared towards sales professionals and those with jobs that keep them on the road for most of their time. I’m wondering what you think of this and if it might be too niche. Great question Danielle. So the answer is to like, can a niche be too niche? Or Can a target market, be too targeted, yes or no? So, I’ll give you an example of each not going to tell you which is which. Here’s the first example. The example would be, um, let’s say my target market are women with blonde hair who wear a size five shoe. Um, she likes to eat cookies and go on vacations and um, she’s married or not married and she lives in the United States and she has a dog. Um, and she wears glasses. So lots of tests. That’s pretty specific, right?

Here’s a different one. I’m going to use Danielle’s example. I work with sales professionals that are on the road for most of their time. Not as many details. They’re still pretty specific though, so one of those is useful and one of those is not so useful. Let’s say we’re trying to target the woman blond wears a size five shoe. She wears glasses, she’s got a dog. How are you going to find her? You just going to walk around and look for her. You got to put up posters that are like, hey, are you blonde? You have a size five shoe. You know you can go to a yoga studio and hope to find her there. You go to the natural food store. Maybe she’s there. It’s useless information. Just useless. Sometimes. I see this with coaches. I mean I’m, I’m joking and I’m using like examples like her shoe size, but sometimes I see coaches getting really specific into like her emotional state.

She feels really bad about this. She’s done this for so long. She feels like she has no control over her life. I mean that’s all interesting, but it’s kind of useless. You cannot target that. If you’re going to run a Facebook ad, for example, you literally cannot target women with size five shoes, like it’s just not a thing. You can’t target women who feel out of control with their life, but you can target women based on their occupation because they list that in their profile. You know, or even if you’re getting off Facebook for a second, if you were going to take out an ad, you know, surely there are industry publications for every industry, right? Advertising industry has its own publications. I’m sure sales and consulting, they had their own publications. If you were going to be in a podcast or a podcast for these people so you know where to find her.

If you say, you know, I work with a women who are in sales or jobs that keep them on the road, you know how to find her. There are already organizations, publications, you name it, resources for that group of people. Therefore, I think that makes for an excellent niche. Danielle and I wouldn’t worry about being too specific because you’re not really, I mean, there are so many different types of professionals that are on the road like that and you’re not just saying, uh, you know, people who sell widgets sales is pretty broad still. I could imagine you even getting more specific at some point, but I think it’s a useful way of narrowing down your niche and I can already imagine the health problems that these people have or the challenges that they have with eating on the road and I’m sure you know all about it. So I think it’s fantastic. So for everyone, just be careful that when you’re narrowing down your target market, you’re doing so in a way that is giving you useful targetable information about someone and that kind of extraneous stuff.

Okay. I’m going to take one more question because we have. Oh, about one minute. So let’s see if I can. Let’s see if I could answer quickly. Mindy says, what are the basic tools needed for managing your business? I know you need a landing page. What is more challenging for me is the logistics. I purchased Kajabi and I need to know if I should purchase practice better, then do I need a headset and a tech person and then an accountant. No, you don’t need any of that and I mean honestly, there’s a lot of tools out there and they’re great, but you need to grow into them financially as well as you know, if you’re going, you don’t want to spend your whole day figuring out tech stuff if you don’t even have any clients to manage with the tech stuff. So let’s see. What are the basic tools you need to run a business? Well, you need a computer of some kind. Doesn’t need to be a great one. You need a phone because you need to be able to call your clients. Heck, you could probably call your clients through your computer, but anyway, you probably already have a phone. You need a notebook. Umm, you need a PayPal account probably. Unless you’re only going to accept paper checks.

That’s really all you need. Like I really operated with like an old computer and a notebook for a very long time. Don’t need fancy stuff. You don’t need a headset. I mean I wear a headset because I’m recording this stuff for a podcast, but you could use earbuds like these, you know, the kind that come with your phone if you’re just going to be doing that Facebook live or you know anything. You don’t need a fancy headset, you need an email list, a basic one to start. So that would be the one tool that you really do need to pay for. Mandy says, I’m trying to scale up and I need a full list of resources. Well, it’s going to depend on how you’re scaling up, so if you’re building an online course, you’re going to need all the resources that come with that. When I started doing my online courses, that’s when now I have Vimeo pro.

Now I have my membership site. Now I’ve got a teleprompter. You know, all kinds of things. I never thought I would need. If you’re going that route, if you go on a different route, you know it just, it depends how you’re scaling, but the basic things that you need is a computer and an email list and you can do an awful lot with just those things in a notebook.

Okay, you guys, it’s 3:30 and we’re out of time. Thank you so much for being here today. I will be back next week, so keep asking great questions and I will keep answering them. Take care.