Chances are that most of your customers are extremely happy with the stuff they buy from you, or at the very least somewhat satisfied.

If you could just get them to share a few words about your product or service it would help you make a lot more sales. So how do you get people to give you those glowing recommendations so that you can share them with the world?

How do you get a customer to write a few words about your stuff, telling how they have used it, and how much it has helped them?

Here’s the secret to getting more testimonials.

First you have to ask.

Then you have to ask again.

Rinse and repeat.

Here’s what I do.

When I ship an order to a customer I enclose a brief thank you note telling them how much I appreciate their business, and asking them to email me and let me know how they like the thing they have ordered.

About 15% of the time I’ll get a response back from a customer, and most of those responses make great testimonials.

But you can do better than 15%. Just wait a few days after the order has arrived. Two to three days max, you want it to be fresh on their mind.

Then make a follow-up contact with your customer. By email, by phone, by Twitter, it doesn’t really matter. I try to use the same communication that the customer used to contact me in the first place. If they ordered on the web I will email them. If they dialed my 800 number I’ll make a phone call back.

Be up front. Explain that you appreciate their order and that you run a small business and are trying to grow it.

Explain that if they could offer a few words about their experience with your business it would help you.

Be brief and get to the point.

If you delivered a quality product, on time and as promised you will get plenty of testimonials this way.

Always ask permission

But don’t just slap those testimonials onto your website or into your brochure. You need to ask permission first. Don’t assume that just because someone sent a nice email to you that you are free to use it. Make sure they know it is going to be used on your site.

Extra credit if you can get them to allow you to publish their full name and town. Double points if they agree to be contacted by potential customers down the road.

If you don’t get a response the first time, you can always ask again later.

Will this technique work 100% of the time? No. Nothing will. But it will work enough times.

Your current customers are your best source of new customers. Let them help you make your business succeed.