2: Prepare Testimonial Interview Questions

Prepare your testimonial interview questions now. Refer below to the Testimonial Debrief Instructions, Testimonial Video Instructions, and sample testimonial questions to help you with this task. 

Testimonial Debrief Instructions 

Ask for testimonials! No one ever thinks to do this. Why not? It is truly amazing the tributes we’ve getting in our cases, now that I’ve figured out how to ask for feedback in a way that clients understand! Get them while your client is still reeling from the success of your efforts and thus willing to give you those comments and possibly some constructive criticism. Explain that their feedback is crucial to getting the word out about this productive option for the divorce process. 

And a testimonial is the most valuable means to market your services.  

I always ask my co-collaborative counsel to request that their clients give us feedback about how the process worked for them, as well. 

The fact is that you should always debrief your clients as soon as the paperwork is signed; I have a series of questions that helps them verbalize their thoughts and I’ve been astonished at the reaffirmingly positive and specific comments my clients have made. And even more surprised by the affirmations given by the now ex-spouses of my own clients. 

Ask questions like the ones that follow. Remember that it’s a conversation, so ask other questions that their answers suggest. (Remember that it’s all about active listening!) And record the conversation, whether in writing or audio, if you are able, so that you can really obtain their actual words and phraseology, so necessary to convey their authenticity. Most importantly, restate what they tell you in words that others will understand and relate to, especially when your clients are not well-spoken (in the same way that we restate what they tell us in conference to ensure that we all understand what they mean): 

  

  1. What was your biggest fear prior to consulting with us?  
  2. What was your biggest fear after deciding to try the collaborative process? 
  3. What worked well for you in the process? 
  4. Did anything scare you during the process? 
  5. What difference did using the process make in your child(ren)’s life/lives? 
  6. What did you like about the process? 
  7. What did you dislike about the process? 
  8. What happened that made you feel great about the process? 
  9. Did you learn anything during the process? 
  10. Did anything surprise you during the process? 
  11. Do you have any critique of or compliment to the facilitator?  
  12. Do you have any critique of or compliment to the financial neutral?  
  13. Do you have any critique of or compliment to your lawyer(s)?  
  14. Do you have any critique of or compliment to your husband’s/wife’s lawyer(s)? 

 

Video Testimonial Instructions 

  • Never let your subjects look into the lens – if they look off camera, it is more credible to your viewers because conversations we overhear are more believable. Have them look at the “interviewer’ rather than at the camera. 
  • Place your subjects in a chair. This will minimize their swaying. Ithey sway anyway, tell them to stop swaying. 
  • When they talk about you, make sure they do so in the third person, so that they’re saying Your Name. 
  • How easy is it to coach your clients for video testimonials? Easy because, if they’re doing a video, they already love you and they want to tell others about you. 
  • Tell them what to say without telling them exactly what to say  “I’m not telling you what to say. You can say whatever you want, but you could say something like _______” 
  • Numbers make testimonials more effective. 
  • Before/After method 
  • “What I was concerned about was ________________. 
  • “Here’s what I did to overcome it: ________________. 
  • ” So glad I did because this is the result _________________. 
  • Tell them the importance of smiling. This is critical; if they are not smiling, it will look like they are frowning! 

 

Then, review below some of my actual client testimonials, as well as sample collaborative process testimonials. 

 

Actual Client Testimonials (Examples) 

Stephanie Williams, March 2015 

Nothing’s ever easy, ever, ever, ever . . . except for collaborative divorce. 

My biggest fear prior to consulting with you was that we would fight about things. That you lawyers would make things complicated and make us fight with each other. 

I had no fear after deciding to try CP. We [Travis and I] thought it would be a great plan. I went down to BALS and then I told him I wanted to do this to prevent totally depleting our bank accounts and this seemed like it would not do that. And he agreed. 

What worked well for me in the CP was the telephone conferences with FP and MHP. Met in person with lawyers and full team. 

It made me feel great that none of the professionals made me feel dumb when I asked a question, that they were not condescending to me. 

It was a surprise to me how in depth the financial affidavit was, how deep the background finances had to be. I would never have guessed this was our facilitators’ first case!!! And our financial neutral was very thorough. This was her first case? Are you kidding me? My lawyers really kept me in the know and informed, which I really appreciated. I have no critique of my husband’s lawyers. From what I saw, they were very helpful to him. He never complained and he would have. 

 

Travis Williams, March 2015 

Biggest fear before and after deciding to use CP – not knowing enough about the process, how it worked, and what to expect. He said a big picture/roadmap would have helped him better understand. 

What worked well – Everyone worked together well, process went smoothly, professionals planned ahead and were prepared for the meetings, the meetings were able to accommodate his schedule at work. 

What he disliked – All of the paperwork he had to complete and financial documents he had to find. (I explained that most, if not all, of the paperwork and financial docs would have been required and probably more if case was litigated or cooperative.) 

What he learned about Stephanie – He learned that he gets along well with her compared to other people going through a divorce. He also learned that they agree on a lot. 

What he learned during the process – He learned about his monthly bills, financial things, and how to take care of all of that. 

His critique to the team members – Too much paperwork given by each person. 

Jessica Dixon, January 2015 

My biggest fear before going into the collaborative divorce process was that we wouldn’t be able to agree to anything. I was surprised that we were able to listen to each other as well as we did. This was because the professionals were so active in helping us hear each other’s points of view. It certainly sounds different when someone else says it, even when it’s the same thing your husband just said.  

It was a surprise that I got what I wanted and he got what he wanted. But I think what I wanted changed during the process, and we ended up compromising in the end. It was not the battle I expected; it was not hostile. He heard me out, and I heard him out. I was able to say what I needed to say about how I really felt and he listened to me. I think he did the same, saying what he needed to say, and I listened to him.  

The most amazing thing was how we were all on the same team, all of the neutrals and our lawyers, mine and his, and both of us, just trying to get this resolved. I learned how to communicate with him, to wait it out, to calm down, and to think about the words I would say that could make our discussion better instead of worse. And what I really wanted for my son.  

When I came into the process, I wasn’t talking to my husband, just texting or e-mailing, because I didn’t want my son thinking we were getting back together. What I learned was that it was more important for my son to see we do get along, especially so that he didn’t try to play us off against each other as he has in the past. 

My lawyers were truly amazing; the first meeting especially was a roller coaster, not knowing what to expect. I still remember what Joryn said at that meeting, when I stormed out, so angry and so frustrated. “Just come back and talk; say what you have to say.” I trusted her and, even as unsure as I was, because I trusted her, we still accomplished something at that meeting. 

Our facilitator, Garin Vick, was fabulous; he sits you down and makes you think. He asks questions and then he asks you follow up questions that draw it out of you without making you feel at all uncomfortable. You’re immediately at ease. You don’t feel uncomfortable telling him anything. He’s not on anyone’s side, except maybe the process, making it work. 

Michael Dixon, February 2015, successful divorce (Jessica’s ex-husband) 

I would say that I had the usual concerns about going through a divorce: that the process was fair, that I would be heard, and that it would be a long, drawn out process. No fear after making the decision to use collaborative. I was actually reassured after learning about CP. Becoming informed about CP completely alleviated anticipated fear and apprehension. 

I felt that I had a voice and that I would be heard. It wasn’t a lopsided process, I liked that. I also liked that it was timely. I liked working with the Team…I feel like they gave Jessica and I the helping hand we needed to get through it. Jessica and I were able to explain to one another (and hear each other) on how our son felt. It allowed us to share what he was saying in a neutral and safe setting without involving him in the process and potentially exposing him to conflict. 

I feel that the process gave me insight into a lot of things between Jessica and I and our son. The Team was there to clear up any questions we had; I felt I could have an exchange with any of the team members and that shortened the process. I liked that the process was goal centered and common ground was easy to find. No downside. Finishing in such a timely manner…I mean from beginning to end it was less than 90 days! It was easy, well plotted out, and not at all nerve wrecking. 

Did anything surprise you during the process? Yes…that emotions surfaced that I thought had been resolved and put away a long time ago.  

Dr. Vick did a phenomenal job. He provided information that was understandable, and was totally relatable, without legal jargon. Miss Sonya did an excellent job as well. She explained things simply, and really broke things down and looked at every angle. Attorney O’Connor did a phenomenal job, and I really think she wanted what was best for my son, not necessarily for me or Jessica, but for Jonathan. She played devil’s advocate and allowed me to see both sides of every situation. She was very knowledgeable. I felt that [my spouse’s lawyer] wanted to do what was best for Jessica. I don’t feel that she was as child focused as other members of the Team were. 

Tamika Nichols, November 2014 

Thankfully, I resolved my marriage using the Collaborative Practice Method. My collaborative divorce was much quicker and easier than it would have been if my ex and I had chosen the traditional litigation process. The aspect of the collaborative model that appealed to me most was the opportunity to have everything settled before going to court. I was most scared by the possibility that my ex-spouse and I would not be able to agree on everything during the team meetings. But, with the help of our collaborative team, we were able to come to a full agreement.  

I liked the collaborative process because it gave my ex and I an opportunity to resolve our most personal and private matters ourselves, rather than having a judge decide them. My attorneys, Joryn Jenkins and Lori Skipper, made sure that I was knowledgeable of the collaborative process and how it worked. I strongly recommend choosing the collaborative practice method if you are going through a divorce. Many thanks to Joryn Jenkins…. 

DeeDee Maratea and Sal Bossi, October 2014 

We had to do something so very hard and emotionally very upsetting. But we knew we had to do a divorce because of our situation. We want you and everyone on the team to know that your kindness and each one’s expertise will forever be appreciated and remembered. You have all made this difficult journey bearable and possible! Collaborative divorce is a loving way that makes such a task easier, and takes the stress out of it. So to all of you angels we send our heartfelt thanks and love for all you have done for us. 

Zuly Rosa, January 2015 (William’s ex-wife) 

I couldn’t have been happier with my collaborative divorce experience. Initially, I was concerned that my husband and I would not be able to do what we wanted to do and agree to what we wanted to agree. But, while our team explained to us the possible ramifications of our choices, ultimately, they let us decide. My husband and I went into the process fairly agreeable, and I was worried that the team might cause us to conflict, but that did not happen at all. The entire process went smoothly with no complications. I was impressed by how easy my team made the process. My attorney was always there for me, responding very quickly to my questions and concerns. The neutrals were, as well.  

The team was excellent and really seemed to want what was best for me and my family. My team was like my family, working for both of us to resolve our conflicts, helping us to say the things we were afraid to say, that I never thought I would ever be able to say to my husband, and to know that it would be alright, that the team would make sure that it was alright. They made it so much easier to work things out! 

William Reyes, February 2015, successful divorce (Zuly’s ex-husband) 

My biggest fear about my divorce prior to consulting with my collaborative attorneys was how I would be able to afford the divorce. But once I decided to try the collaborative process, I didn’t really have any fears. I just wasn’t really sure what to expect, and I wanted everything to be fair and equitable to everyone involved. I liked the fact that the collaborative process went fast and was quite peaceful. The process made a difference in our child’s life because there was not as much hurting. Our child got to see us be peaceful instead of duking it out in court. The collaborative process was more peaceful, rather than fight after fight. There was nothing that I disliked about the process.  

I especially appreciated the ongoing open communication between all of the professionals involved. The facilitators were great! They were very attentive, empathic, and understanding. The financial neutrals were attentive and very good listeners. They recorded what we said whether they agreed with it or not and worked very well together. My attorneys really looked out for my best interest and allowed me to be educated and informed about not just the process, but also the law. My wife’s lawyers were nice, polite, and not confrontational. They did not attack me. The entire process was a positive experience, something I did not expect from my divorce. 

Collaborative Process Testimonials (Samples) 

“The team dynamic was incredible. Any marital breakdown is stressful, but my lawyer was a true professional and was always there to guide me or to answer any questions I had throughout the process. My lawyer’s knowledge, problem solving ability, and compassion supported me in keeping a sense of perspective throughout the process. I met and communicated regularly with my attorney and the facilitator regarding my goals and best interests. The facilitator was really tuned into the emotions of both my husband and me. She provided a voice of reason and kept the proceedings calm. She noticed when I was becoming emotional and zoning out, and she would take a break with me so that we could talk through my feelings, and then proceed with the meeting in a productive fashion. I was really nervous about the financial issues because I had little knowledge of them, but our neutral financial professional patiently answered my questions and explained my options. The entire team inspired and supported me. I highly recommend the collaborative process.” 

“My ex-wife and I have always had vastly differing views about how we should raise our children, so parenting was a struggle during our marriage. And the more difficult that our marriage became, the less we were able to effectively communicate with one another. I was very concerned about the idea of co-parenting after the divorce. But our facilitator, and really our entire team taught us how to better communicate and to consider the other party’s perspective. Now we both understand that, even if we disagree, we both have our children’s very best interests at heart. I don’t think that I would have come to that understanding if we had gone the traditional route, in court.” 

“The collaborative process was less costly, quicker, and fairer than other divorce options. It allows for a devastating situation to be handled with dignity. It kept my wife and me focused on finding outcomes that met our goals for our children and our financial security. And unlike most divorced couples we know, our divorce process preserved our friendship rather than driving us further apart. The team heard and fought for our needs and concerns, and I came out of the process feeling less broken and more optimistic than I would have in the typical adversarial divorce setting.” 

“The collaborative process is non-confrontational, non-accusatory, and based on mutual respect for the best interests of our children. If it is important to you to maintain a good relationship with your spouse after the divorce, then you should strongly consider the collaborative process. It focuses on a positive outcome for the family, rather than just for one party. And the process continues even when you leave the lawyer’s office. We learned skills that we will use when communicating going forward. If we have a problem in the future, we learned skills to address it ourselves. And if we can’t do that, then we will reconvene our team, and work through it together. I feel truly blessed to have been given this option for my divorce.”