Why does it seem so hard getting testimonials from clients? You’ve done a great job for them, they are pleased as punch with your work and your sparkling personality— let them tell the world all about it!
Getting testimonials and rave reviews from clients is one of the best ways of establishing credibility as a new business owner. There’s a deep psychological desire in human beings to be part of a group; we want to fit in. If these clients are so psyched to work with you, then surely I’m missing out and should want to work with them too, no?
Yet for some reason it can be extremely hard for some of us to ask for these endorsements. We don’t feel we’re worthy. We don’t want to bug a client. We don’t even want to bother that friend we did some free work for a while back, despite how ecstatic they were about the service we provided.
As a new business owner, it’s worth facing our fears and seeking out testimonials. It will build trust and add leverage to your marketing strategy which is so very important at every stage of a businesses life, but especially so at the beginning.
So how do I get testimonials?
There’s a number of ways to get positive reviews and testimonials. First off, it’s helpful if you’ve actually done some work for clients, although even that is not necessarily required when getting testimonials—a lot of early customer testimonials are from friends and family.
I know, it seems a little like cheating, but if you built a great website for a friend for free and they’re happy about it, why wouldn’t they want to sing your praises? Hopefully, they would want to repay you for the awesome site you built, and it costs them nothing but time to give you a testimonial.
Getting a testimonial doesn’t have to be specifically about the services you now offer, they can be about your good qualities in general, and can come from past experience with you. There are ways of phrasing things that address you as a professional; your quality of character and integrity. The product or service doesn’t even need to be mentioned at all for it to be a great testimonial.
But the overarching theme here is that YOU HAVE TO ASK FOR IT. It’s possible that it will come unbidden, just as you may find a $20 bill on the sidewalk. It happens, but it’s unrealistic to bank a career on it.
Asking for praise is excruciating for some of us, but is a necessary part of self-promotion and a cornerstone of any marketing strategy
As stated above, when getting testimonials you can ask anyone to review you, but over time the best reviews are going to come from satisfied clients. If a client gives you some great feedback and a potential client can go see the work you’ve done on their website, it will have an immediate impact and reassure the potential client that they’re making the right decision by choosing you.
But so how do you ask? Well, you just ask. When you’ve wrapped up a particularly great bit of work for a client, or when you’ve been complimented on something you’ve done for them, that is the perfect time to ask. It can be as simple as thanking them for appreciating your work, and sayin “hey would you mind writing a short testimonial for me?” That’s it. If they say no, or don’t get around to it, don’t sweat it and don’t harass them for it.
A lot of businesses ask EVERY client how their experience was at the end of a working relationship or project. Conducting a short exit interview (even if it’s just a form with a couple of questions on it) can give you valuable and constructive insight as to how you’re doing and what you could do to improve. From these you can glean what bits apply and turn them into great reviews.
One easy way to ask is to trade testimonials with a colleague, or anyone you’ve hired out. It’s mutually beneficial, one hand washes the other, and you’ll both end up with great reviews to use.
Be sure to ask people for permission to use their testimonials on your website or promotional materials. Most will be pleased that you chose them to highlight, it’s a lot easier than asking for the testimonial itself, and it is essential if you’re going to use their words in a public capacity.
Just do it
Asking for praise is excruciating for some of us, but getting testimonials is a necessary part of self-promotion and a cornerstone of any marketing strategy. Happy customers bring more happy customers, and that’s how you grow your business—one happy client at a time.
Matthew Ogden is a Minneapolis-based copywriter and content writer and editor. He’s written for national retailers and lobster roll companies alike. When not writing he can be found nose deep in a book, writing and performing music, or nerding out about guitar tone.