Posting on social media, attending, in-person networking events, sending one cold pitch after another – there is so much pressure to constantly promote our business. After all, how else are potential clients going find out that we exist?
The most obvious response here is: from other satisfied clients who are already happy with our work. There’s nothing better than an endorsement from someone who had already benefited from your services.
A simple way to facilitate this is to get testimonials for your website.
Here’s how Rob, a freelance writer and virtual assistant, asks for testimonials.
As business owners wearing a lot of hats, we’re constantly under pressure to learn new things. Because time is such a limited resource, we tend to learn a lot of these things on-the-go — how to pitch and get clients, how to invoice, how to manage our inbox when the overwhelm takes over.
But there’s something that we don’t often talk about — once a freelance project is over, how do we get testimonials? And why should we even bother?
Let’s delve deeper into this topic.
What’s a testimonial?
Testimonials can help show prospects that other clients, both past and present, like your work. It also shows that they’re not afraid to endorse you publicly!
Think of it as a recommendation. You do the work for a client, they love what you’ve done for them and give you a glowing recommendation for you to use on your website.
Sounds simple enough, right? Well, it can be easy if you put some effort into setting up a process for getting testimonials.
There are a few things to keep in mind when looking for these bits of business help, such as when to ask, how to ask and what to do if you get a “no.”
Here are some questions that my freelancing friends usually ask about getting testimonials!
When should I ask for a testimonial?
One of the most frequent questions when you’re working with a client is when you should ask for a testimonial. Honestly, that depends on the relationship you have built up and how long you’ve been working together.
Personally, I like to wait about four months before I even think of asking for one. You may find that if you do amazing work your client may offer one earlier. That is perfectly okay! In fact, go you for making the client happy!
Some people wait only the 90 day period to ask. It all depends on the rapport between freelancer and client. Either way, you want to build up rapport with the client and make sure they’re happy before you ask.
How do I get testimonials?
There no way around this; You just have to ask.
That can be tricky too. Do you email the client to ask? Do you do it via a phone or video call? That all depends, again, on the relationship you have with the client.
I don’t mind asking via email but sometimes using a video call to ask is just as effective. The latter one does put the client on the spot so use your discretion here. I tend to ask via email to take the pressure off the client. This also allows them to think about the answer before giving it.
You may get a lot more yeses with this method for that reason.
Here is how I word my request for a testimonial
Hi [Client name],
I have enjoyed working with you over the last four months! I hope you have been happy with my work so far and was wondering if you would be willing to write a testimonial for my website. It would be very helpful for me and I would even give you a little bit of extra exposure too! No pressure at all, of course.
Let me know and we can discuss it further.
Thank you for your time!
Tip: Make it easy for your client to help you.
One great tip that Gina mentions in the 30 Days or Less courses is to keep a list of the great things your client says about your work.
Sometimes when you ask for a testimonial, the client may be at a loss as to what to write. These little tidbits can be used to jog their memory and give you a wonderful testimonial. Don’t write it for the client. Allow them to be honest and authentic.
If the client agrees to write you a testimonial, always follow up. People have busy lives and an inbox full of requests. It’s okay to send a quick email about a week after the project is done or after you’ve first asked. I like to follow up a week after and then one more time a week after that. Usually, that gets results.
The follow-up can look something like this:
Hi [Client name],
I wanted to follow up with you regarding my email (last week, month, etc) about a potential testimonial for my website. I know emails can get lost in the tech ether, so no worries. Is that something (or still something) you would be willing to do? Let me know either way.
It’s been great working with you.
If the person flakes out, don’t worry. You don’t want to be too pushy. Always be professional in both the asking and the follow-up. I cannot stress that enough!
How can I get testimonials when I have no experience?
Many people will barter services for a testimonial on their website when they’re first starting out.
I’ve done this quite a few times and it has worked out very well for me. An example that I have done in the past is bartering some proofreading (usually a blog or a few pages of a book) for a testimonial. Basically, I would do the small assignment and send it to my client.
If there were things that needed to be fixed, I would do it and then they would write a testimonial about my services.
Granted, you won’t get paid with bartering but it’s worth it to add a few good words about you and your business to your website, especially when you’re just setting up your freelance business.
How many testimonials should I get?
Personally, I like about 5-10 short blurbs on my website at a time. You can rotate them out if you need to. It will allow you to make room for more recent clients which is always a good idea.
Testimonials can become a gateway to new clients. Once you have a few under your belt and on your site, they can make client acquisition just a bit easier. Make sure you provide quality work for these testimonials and don’t worry if the client says no on your first pass. They may just not be ready yet. Come back in a few months and ask again.
I like to use email to ask. This avoids putting them on the spot like in a phone or video call. It shows courtesy and professionalism which is always key.
Have you ever asked clients for testimonials? How do you usually word your ask?
My name is Robert Flood. I’m the owner of Robert Flood Freelancing. My base of operations is in the New England region of the United States. I specialize in writing content focusing on alternative medicines, particularly essential oils and energy work, such as Reiki. I also write B2B content. I have expanded my business to include Virtual Assisting, including Pinterest management. To see what I offer in the field of virtual assisting, head on over to my website robertfloodfreelancing.com