Radio Hed Logo 2by Jeffrey Hedquist

 Ah… tried and true testimonial spots. Some work well, some… not so much.

Audiences have heard so many commercials using testimonials that yours better ring true or your advertisers’ messages will be ignored.

How can you help your client get the most effective testimonials?

Simply ask customers for them.

Sure, it seems obvious, yet, many of your clients never take the time to ask for and collect testimonials. Doing it for them makes you (and your station) a valuable marketing partner.

A happy customer will usually provide a glowing testimonial, but you want one that stands out. One approach to getting a good testimonial story is to send your client’s customer an outline for how to deliver the testimonial.

Ask these 3 things:

1. How was their life before they found/bought/used your client’s product or service (this is the pain chapter)? “What was happening in your life or business that led you to search for help with…?”

2. What it was like to use the product or service (This is the relief chapter)? “What one benefit was most useful to you, and why?”

3. How has their life improved since becoming a customer (this is the result chapter)? “In your own words, describe what problem the advertiser helped solve for you. Please include any relevant statistics or tangible results.”

Sending the questions in advance can work, but sometimes a customer will over think their responses and the resulting testimonial won’t ring true.

I’ve gotten my best results by not sending the questions in advance but engaging the customer in a conversation that includes the 3 questions. Try both approaches and see which works best for you.

Naturally you’re recording all this, whether it’s in person or over the phone.


Guide the customer to not describe the advertiser or owner (“I love Jack’s Surplus!” “Jack is a fabulous guy!” “I always shop here.”). You want them to explain how the advertiser made their life better; concrete results. (“They helped me lose 40 pounds in 2 months.” “I was able to find the perfect gift for my fussy aunt.”)

You want them to tell you what the advertiser did that helped them. (“Their loan officer showed me how I could structure my loan in a way that saved me $4,564 in interest in only two years.”)

You want them to tell you a story. Ask, “Can you think of a moment when you did something, or felt something, or thought something that you never would have done, felt or thought before you encountered the advertiser?”

This question will usually bring up a lot of positive emotion. What you’re listening for is a clear before and after story. This will work better for some advertisers than others.

Always be listening for the emotion – humor, drama, poignancy. The small moment you’re searching for is what makes a testimonial stand out from the usual ones you hear on the air, and makes it believable and relatable.

A testimonial story with emotion will get attention, and if it’s specific it will be more believable and more persuasive.

Do you have questions about using testimonials? Email me This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and I’ll be happy to answer them.

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