Last week we talked about why testimonials are important for freelancers. Now it’s time to discuss how to request testimonials from your clients!
Here are some tips for asking for testimonials from clients:
- Ask for testimonials from clients with whom you have an established relationship and history. I was working part-time as a freelancer for years before I asked a single client for a testimonial. When I finally did request testimonials, I asked for them from three clients. I had been working with all three clients on and off for at least a few years; one of them, I had provided work every single month for five years in a row. If you’re just starting out as a freelancer, obviously you shouldn’t wait years before asking for testimonials! But ideally, you will start out by asking for testimonials from clients that you’re comfortable with and who you have worked with a few times before.
- Explain why you want testimonials. Let them know where you’ll be posting the testimonials. If you have used that client as a reference in the past, explain that you are hoping to use a testimonial from them instead of always needing to contact them about being a reference for you, for example.
- Emphasize what exactly you are looking for in a testimonial. This is extremely important! Make it as easy as possible for your clients. Explain that you’re just looking for a few sentences about what they like best about your work or why they use you as a freelancer, for example. That gives them some direction. Then you can also make a point of saying that if there’s anything else they’d like to add, they can feel free to do so. That gives them some opportunity to get creative or add in other things you might not have thought of. When I first requested testimonials from clients, I was surprised (in a good way!) at how they all commented on the quality of my work and the timeliness of it. Testimonials can be very useful at getting insight in how others see you and where your strengths are!
- Include a testimonial request at the end of each invoice. This is a good way to ask for a testimonial without actually doing it – a nice option if you’re shy! You just need a single line at the bottom of your invoice, inviting them to provide you with a testimonial that you can publish on your website. You can even link back to your Testimonials page so that they have an idea of the type of thing you’re looking for. This option doesn’t yield quite as good results as it does from asking for a testimonial personally, but if you’re working up the courage to request a testimonial, it’s something that is easy to implement.
When it comes to getting testimonials, you don’t need to ask for them all at once. For some people, you might ask for testimonials earlier in the work relationship than others. Ultimately, go with your gut! If it doesn’t feel like it’s quite the right time to request a testimonial, then wait. As long as you have a minimum of three thoughtful testimonials, you are off to a great start.