The Final Phase of the Sales Funnel: Asking for Testimonials and Referrals

The Final Phase of the Sales Funnel: Asking for Testimonials and Referrals by Vikram Rajan

{2:55 minutes to read} As professional marketers, our goal is not to close the sale but to open a relationship. This is the difference between a customer and a client.

When a potential client, aka “a prospect,” walks through the door or calls on the phone, the sales process has begun. A sales “funnel” is wider at the top, where there are multiple prospects, and grows narrower as a smaller number of prospects actually become active clients. Inside the sales funnel, there are many phases, involving multiple meetings and interactions, before a prospect becomes a client.

Typically, the final phase of your sales funnel could be thought of as when billing begins or when an invoice is sent. However, the final phase should be when we ask for testimonials from our clients.

However, asking for a testimonial could be awkward for you and unexpected for the client. Rather, Bob Heiss and Susan Villamena, certified Sandler Sales trainers, would recommend using an “Upfront Contract.”

An “Upfront Contract” lays the groundwork to make a later task easier, more comfortable, and more expected by both parties. It goes something like this:

I hope as we earn your trust and provide you great service that I’d be able to ask you for a testimonial or possibly a referral to someone that could use our services.

By not asking for the referral or testimonial right away, but instead providing that “Upfront Contract,” it takes the pressure, anxiety, and awkwardness off the table: “I’m not asking you now. I’m just letting you know that I want to earn the right to ask you in the future. Is that alright?

Most people would say “yes,” thinking to themselves:

If you’re willing to earn the right and willing to provide great service in a timely manner and at the cost that I expect, then, sure, at some time in the future if you want to ask me for a testimonial or a referral, then, okay. I’m not saying that I will give you a testimonial or a referral at that time, but you can ask me for it, provided you have fulfilled your end of the bargain.

I have to admit that I have to better practice what I preach! This article is a personal affirmation, more than an instruction to you: I often offer an “Upfront Contract” near the end of a client launch call (after brainstorming blog article ideas, but before concluding with our subscription form). Many phoneBlogger clients have been working with us for years, and they may have totally forgotten about that. Many of our clients offer referrals and testimonials without us asking. So I’ve become complacent: I don’t ask for testimonials nearly enough.

I am going to make a concerted effort to ask for feedback and comments, how has helped, and where we can improve. When prospects ask for references, I showcase; they can also reach out to any of our clients directly. In the near future, we will also show more public testimonials.

Vikram Rajan, Co-Founder of


Vikram Rajan, Co-Founder
Telephone: (888) 952-4630

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One Response to The Final Phase of the Sales Funnel: Asking for Testimonials and Referrals

  • avatar
    Clare Piro says:

    This was a very helpful post Vik. This approach does help address the awkwardness and would make the asking for the testimonial so much easier at the end.

    And I really appreciate knowing that you don’t always do it yourself!

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