Your big opportunity may be right where you are now.
~ Napoleon Hill
The use of testimonials from clients in counselling is fraught with ethical concerns due to the inherent power differential.
Also something to consider – when is a client really no longer your client? Just because they have concluded sessions with you, doesn’t mean they won’t call you again a year down the road. Additionally, even if you say they have the choice to not give a testimonial, just by asking, the client may not feel like they can say no. Also, they may not feel like they can give an honest and balanced review of your services, but instead can only sing your praises.
The BCACC asks therapists to: “Consider carefully the use of testimonials in advertising or promoting their practices. It is preferable that testimonials used in advertising be unsolicited unless it is entirely clear that there is no possibility of undue influence or the appearance of such influence.”
B.C. ASSOCIATION OF CLINICAL COUNSELLORS STANDARD FOR PROMOTING AND ADVERTISING SERVICES
Each association has it’s own guidelines so please check with your regulatory bodies on this topic. In my experience, as a therapist, I don’t believe you need client testimonials in order to convince people to work with you. Therapy is different than coaching and other industries. It is a very personal thing and most people understand that just because your services were a fit for someone else, you may not be a fit for them. As long as your website speaks to your ideal client, you can get away without the use of this ethically tricky marketing technique.
If you would like to get some testimonials on your site, you may want to consider getting testimonials from past instructors, fellow therapists or other trusted professionals that can speak to your skills and character. This provides credibility about your skills and network, without having to go directly to clients.
–> Give Testimonials <–
Now this is a TOTALLY different situation. Giving testimonials is a simple way to build your network and to broaden your marketing reach. The more people see your name and face, the more likely they are to remember you, and see you as a competent and credible practitioner. When you give testimonials for other practitioners services and products you can capitalize on each others marketing efforts and bring business to each other.
Examples of where you can endorse or give testimonials for other people:
1) LinkedIn – You can endorse colleagues work there, or better yet, write a recommendation. Anytime someone looks up their page, they will also see the connection to you. It increases the likelihood others will check you out to see what you’re about as well.
2) Review books or e-books – Write reviews for colleagues books or products. In print, this could be on the back of their book, online you can provide reviews for their websites or on Amazon.
3) Endorse workshops or programs – When you endorse a colleague’s workshop or program, the broader the reach of their marketing, the more people see your name as well. As their influence grows, so will your credibility. The important thing to remember with giving testimonials is that people will start to link you together in their minds.
Make sure you truly believe what you are saying about their work, and their services or products. Don’t just endorse anyone or anything that people want you to. Make sure that they and their brands, line up with your beliefs and values. If they do, it can be a wonderful win-win for both parties involved.