Testimonials are one of the best ways to advertise your skills, professionalism, and talent to potential new clients. Not only can a quality testimonial back up your business expertise, but it can also help build your reputation with clients you’ve yet to meet. But there’s one thing standing in your way: knowing how to ask for a testimonial in the first place.
Obviously, an honest testimonial needs to come from someone who has experience with your work.
Sometimes, testimonials from colleagues or peers are appropriate. In the freelance and entrepreneurial worlds, though, client testimonials have the most impact.
However, it can be hard to bridge the gap between working on a client’s project and asking them to do you the favor of providing a testimonial. Fortunately, it doesn’t need to be as difficult as it seems.
Here are some simple tips and tricks that will help you get a killer testimonial from almost any client:
The Power of a Good Testimonial
If you’re confident in your abilities, you might think your results speak for themselves. So why go through the trouble of chasing down testimonials from your past clients?
First, most prospective clients have no idea what type of results you can deliver. Unless they were referred to you by a past client — which, in many ways, is a testimonial anyway — all they have is your word.
By sharing real testimonials from past clients, it’s no longer just your word backing up your claims.
Plus, featuring your past clients’ testimonials on your website or elsewhere can make them feel appreciated even after your contract has ended. Nothing makes an already loyal client feel connected to your work like seeing their words proudly displayed on your marketing materials.
4 Tips on How to Ask for a Testimonial From Any Client
Yes, sharing testimonials from past clients is an excellent way to build trust with new prospects. That said, actually getting these testimonials isn’t always the easiest task.
If you’re unsure how to ask for a testimonial from a past client, these tips will help you navigate your request:
1. Keep it simple
The more complicated and time-consuming your request for a testimonial, the less likely a client will follow through.
Video testimonials might seem like the most impactful way to record a glowing review, but how many people want to sit down in front of a camera when there’s nothing in it for them?
And a full-page brief that covers everything from your professional skills to your personality might seem like a great way to bring in new clients, but that’s a lot to ask of any one testimonial.
Instead, put yourself in the client’s shoes. Even if you do want to ask for a more involved testimonial, always offer an easier alternative as well.
If you offer multiple options from which your client can choose, you’re more likely to get something rather than a hard “no.”
2. Take advantage of organic praise
Do you know what’s even easier than asking a client to write up a few sentences about your work? Using a quote they’ve already written.
If you receive a brief statement of praise from a client, don’t miss the opportunity to ask about quoting them for a testimonial. Chances are, they’ll have zero qualms about your request.
Even if the wording isn’t quite right for a testimonial, you might still be able to use the quote.
As long as you maintain the quote’s original meaning, you can make small changes to the pronouns, tense, length, and other aspects of your client’s testimonial.
3. Offer prompts and ask questions
At times, a past client will be more than happy to provide a testimonial. However, they might not know exactly what to say.
Fortunately, you can help.
By offering gentle prompts or questions about your client’s experience working with you, you can make the testimonial process a bit easier for them.
Some questions you can include in your request include:
“What made you choose [your name/company] for this project?”
“Would you recommend [your name/company] to a colleague or friend looking for similar services? Why?”
“What problems were you experiencing that lead you to work with [your name/company]? How have these problems changed since working with [your name/company]?”
“What stood out/surprised you the most about your experience with [your name/company]?”
These are just a few examples you could include in your testimonial request. However, don’t hesitate to include other questions you feel would be appropriate.
Whatever questions you choose to ask, always remember to thank your client for their time and input. While you might not want to include the answers in the final testimonial, this is also a great opportunity to ask for more critical feedback from your clients that could help you grow professionally.
Taking the time to hear both positive and negative feedback not only helps you improve your services in the future, but also shows your clients that you are self-aware and working to provide the best service possible.
4. Always get it in writing
As with anything related to client communication, cover your legal bases. You want to keep a record of your client’s testimonial and their granted permission to share these words publicly.
Will a past client really chase you down over a testimonial? Probably not.
But the last thing you want is a legal disagreement over a simple review.
Getting the Most Out of Your Client Testimonials
Obtaining those killer client testimonials is just the first step. If you want to use those glowing reviews to draw in more clients, you need to post them somewhere they’ll actually be seen.
Obviously, one of the best places to feature your client testimonials is your professional website. By posting your collected testimonials here, you can almost guarantee that future clients will see them.
However, not every freelancer or entrepreneur maintains an independent website for their work. If this is the case for you, you might wonder where you can feature your testimonials.
Here are some of the best places, aside from your website, to feature client reviews:
If you maintain a professional social media presence, you can leverage this as an opportunity to share your client testimonials.
There are countless ways to do this, but some of our favorite techniques include:
- Creating a simple graphic by placing a short testimonial on a colored background
- Encouraging a client to post their testimonial as a public comment on your profile
- Asking a client to share their testimonial to their profile so you can “repost” on your own page
Of course, don’t flood your social media feed with every testimonial you’ve ever received. But sharing one every month or so — depending on how often you generally post — can help ensure prospective clients stumble across these quotes when looking through your profile.
Tangential to your social media accounts, your business profiles are also an excellent place to post your favorite client reviews.
Your existing business profiles could include platforms like LinkedIn, portfolio-hosting websites, for-hire websites, industry forums, and anywhere else you think it is appropriate. If a potential client could stumble across your information while looking for related services, it’s a good place to share some great reviews of your past work.
Your professional email signature isn’t just a great place to include your contact information and services. It’s also a great place to include a brief client testimonial.
Not every person you email will take the time to read your full signature. But for those who do, this is an easy, non-intrusive way to share a review of your work from a past client.
You can change up the testimonial in your signature as often as you like. However, we recommend always keeping your chosen quote short and sweet.
Do you have a beautifully simple client testimonial you want to share with the world? If so, consider including this quote on the back of your business cards.
As long as you ensure the review is legible and clear, this is a great way to sneak a positive testimonial into every face-to-face interaction.
If your chosen printer offers an option for multiple design variations, you can even feature a few different testimonials in this prime spot.
When Is the Best Time to Ask for a Testimonial?
Technically, it’s never too late to ask a valued client to share a few thoughts about your work. But as with most things in business: the sooner you do so, the better.
In fact, one of the best places to first bring up a testimonial request is with your final invoice.
By including an invitation to share their thoughts with you in your invoice message, you can begin to broach the subject. After a bit of time has passed, if they haven’t already abided by this request, you can reach out with another thank you message and extend the invitation again.
Learn more about how you can customize your invoices, including adding a personal message to your client, with invoicely.