The most consistent way most life coaches attract their ideal clients is through word of mouth. And why is that? Because most folks believe in other people more than advertising.
According to Nielsen’s most recent Global Trust in Advertising report, recommendations from friends and family remain the most trusted sources of information when it comes to making buying decisions. A whopping 83% of survey respondents take action on word of mouth referrals “at least some of the time,” compared to only 46% being inclined to action based on social media ads.
So how can you leverage this knowledge to help grow your coaching business? Easy: through proactively collecting reviews and client testimonials.
The Impact of Client Testimonials
Many small business owners don’t have a huge advertising budget to play with, and instead rely upon reviews to generate a word of mouth following. And it works in so many different ways.
- When you’re thinking about trying out a new restaurant, do you check out the reviews on Yelp?
- When you’re trying to decide what movie to watch or book to buy, do you ever cruise Rotten Tomatoes, or the Amazon book review section?
- When you’re looking for a new place to get a haircut, do you ask friends and community members for recommendations?
Yeah, we thought so!
Great coaching testimonials are a powerful marketing tool. If you want to show prospective clients that you’re doing amazing work as a life coach, the most effective way to achieve that is by letting other people do the talking.
So how do business owners get satisfied clients to provide those rave reviews? Let’s explore four strategies for collecting a stash of great coaching testimonials.
How Life Coaches Get Those Reviews!
1. Don’t request a “client testimonial.” Instead, ask an open-ended question or start a conversation about their life coaching experience with you.
When you focus on the client’s experience, you shift the emphasis from you to them. And while it’s easy enough to ignore a request to “leave a review,” most people are all too happy to take a few minutes to share their views, perspective, and experience when asked.
A great time to open up this conversation is in your final session with a client you’ve been working with for a while. Quick questions you might ask include:
- Tell me about what goals you’ve accomplished or insights you’ve had since we started working together.
- What’s different for you as a result of our work together?
Once they tell you, assuming it’s positive feedback that you’d like to use, that’s when you ask them for a client testimonial.
You can say something like, “I think many can relate to your story and benefit from it. Do you mind if I put that in a testimonial?”
2. Offer an incentive
Let’s face it: rewards are motivating. People like ‘em. So if you’d like a client to give you feedback or a testimonial after you’ve completed your work together, send a short survey with a bonus in exchange for completing it.
What do life coaches typically offer in return for a client review? Here’s some ideas:
- A 15 minute check-in laser session
- A special gift in the mail
- Two email check-ins over the next month
- A discount on their next service
2. Do the heavy lifting
Once a client has agreed to provide a review, make the process simple. Don’t leave the ball in their court to submit something - instead, do the legwork yourself to get the client testimonial finalized and approved.
If they gave you a verbal download, offer to write it up and email to them for review. And if you’re hoping they will leave a review on your Facebook page or Google business listing, provide the links.
With any testimonial, make sure you get the client’s consent, along with how they prefer to be identified (or not) on your website or social media. Those options might look like:
- Anonymous (“Life coaching client”)
- First name and last initial (Mary S.)
- First and last name (Mary Smith)
- First and last name, with professional title/business name (Mary Smith, CEO of Luminous Corp)
- Name and photo (ask them to provide a clear headshot that they like!)
After they have agreed, make sure you follow up with a thank you. This seals the deal. You want them to feel good about giving you a great review or testimonial.
4. But what if I’m just getting started as a life coach?
If you’re just getting your coaching business up and running, now is the ideal time to begin collecting reviews. Consider the following strategies to help you build a story bank.
- If you’re a student doing peer sessions with other life coaches, that counts! You are doing the work of coaching. After a great session, ask for a review from your practice partner and obtain their permission to use it in your business marketing down the road.
- If you’re building up your experience, offer pro bono sessions in exchange for reviews. Part of our learning as new life coaches involves asking for feedback. In doing free sessions, you are delivering value to your clients. In exchange, ask them to take 5 minutes to offer you their feedback, a review of your business, or another form that would be useful for your professional growth and business development.
- For single session clients, send a follow-up email. Provide a recap of the coaching conversation, or other resources based upon what you discussed. Give value, and also ask if they would be willing to share their experience as part of your continued professional development.
4 Ways Life Coaches Can Use Client Testimonials
1. On your website
If you have a website, this is often the first place people who are considering working with you are going to look. In addition to telling them who you are and what you offer, you want to be able to demonstrate the real world impact they can expect from working together. The best way to do that is by offering testimonials from previous clients.
When possible, it’s nice to have photos to accompany the client quotes. Images help the reader to connect with the reviewers as real people… though it’s by no means a requirement.
Need ideas for designing your website? Check out 6 Things Every Life Coaching Website Needs.
2. Social media
It’s easy and effective to sprinkle little snippets of client love in your feed. When you do, consider all the social media features that are available: posts, stories, highlights, and reels.
With client permission, you can feature quotes with or without an accompanying photo. For longer testimonials, you can pull a few different quotes to use at various times.
Remember: if you don't have many testimonials to work with - and even if you do! - it’s fine to post something more than once. For Instagram business accounts, the average number of your followers who will see any given post is 10%. Seriously. It’s not only OK to repeat variations of a piece of content from time to time, it’s good strategy.
Want more tips for upping your online game? Dig into Utilizing Social Media in Your Life Coaching Career.
A fun and engaging way that some life coaches showcase client testimonials is by video. There are a number of ways to do this effectively, and you don’t need to be a pro to make them. If you've got a phone or laptop, then you have the equipment you need.
A client can record and share a video review with you to edit and use on social media. Or, you could conduct a conversational interview about their coaching experience, either on a platform like Instagram or Facebook Live, or by recording a call in Zoom to download and edit.
4. With your offers
If you’re planning to run a special coaching offer, or are opening the doors on a group program, be sure to include client testimonials whenever you can. Having a previous client talk about their experience and outcomes from participating is a great way to validate you and your offering.
There are so many ways to request and use client testimonials. Find the strategies that feel right for you, and implement them consistently! The only way you can go wrong is by not asking at all.
Ready for Liftoff?
A lot of talented people like you dream of having a coaching business, but aren’t quite sure how to get there. We train and certify adventurous coaches, making sure you’ve got all you need to build a business you love and transform lives, on your terms. If you're ready to learn more, come check out Lumia Life Coach Training!