Testimonials are powerful social proof of your expertise. I use them on my own site to verify my experience and my excellence. So obviously I recommend that freelancers or consultants add testimonials to their websites as a way to convince potential clients that you are proficient and worth your quoted rate.
It starts with asking.
Well, the first step is to ask. You are not going to get a testimonial unless you directly request it. Most clients don’t think to offer, but if they are happy with your services, they will be pleased to write a simple recommendation.
Although a recommendation from a well known client may have more social clout, don’t discount testimonials from lesser known clients. Any positive review is a bonus for you. In my case, being able to make complicated social media concepts simple for newbies is one of my specalities. So I don’t need big names to demonstrate my expertise. Regular Joe clients are more fitting for my niche.
It can feel awkward to ask for praise, so keep your ears open for a natural opportunity to slip in a request. For example, when you get any compliment or positive feedback on your work, ask the client to write that down and send it in an email. Or ask if you can quote her.
Here is my real secret to getting good testimonials: release the pressure of the actual writing and the time it takes to write well. When I ask for a testimonial, I say something like this,
I know you are busy, so don’t spend a lot of time on the testimonial. Don’t worry at all about spelling, punctuation, grammar, or formatting. Even if the ideas are jumbled, just jot down some thoughts about my work, and I can reorganize it and polish it up. Before I publish your testimonial, I’ll run it by you to make sure that my edits didn’t change your meaning in any way.
Most people take me up on this offer. They send their stream of consciousness testimonials that I condense and rearrange while adding in needed commas or semicolons. Of course, the ideas are their own. I only edit for conciseness and errors.
Always double check with the client to make sure you have not misrepresented their words. (I had one client ask if I could condense her words daily so she could better communicate with her husband. Funny!)
Questions to ask to prime the testimonial pump
Some clients are eager to provide feedback but need a little nudge. These simple questions make good prompts.
- What benefit did you derive from my services?
- What skepticism did you initially have about my services and how was it erased?
- What would you say to a friend who needs my services but is reluctant to sign on?
If you received positive feedback via social media, take a screenshot of it. You might think that because it is public, you don’t need to ask permission to use it. But you do. Once you have permission, use the image on your site, linking back to the original source for verification.
Some people are afraid to share testimonials on their websites because they think competitors will steal their clients. Although that is a possibility, your energy is better invested in serving your existing customers in a way that ensures their loyalty. Stop worrying. Go ahead and share those happy client testimonials. It will help you get even more clients in the future.