One of the best ways to build your freelance business is to have happy clients, and to let the world know they’re happy! You'll find it much easier to draft winning proposal templates for new gigs if you pay attention to your past clients.
A powerful way to attract new clients is to let them know that you’ve had success in the past meeting client needs and expectations. Gathering client testimonials is a great way to do that.
Testimonials are a great way to let potential clients see that others have worked with you and were impressed enough with the results to let others know publicly that you did a great job.
But the only way to use testimonials is to get them from clients, and you shouldn’t leave that to chance or luck. It’s no use hoping that you’ll get a recommendation from a client. You’ll have to ask for one, so let’s look at how to ask for testimonials.
This may not seem like a step in getting testimonials, but it is. You can’t ask for testimonials from clients until you’ve delivered great work. This is all part of building your reputation as a freelancer.
It also helps to stay in touch with clients after work is completed. As freelancer Niraj Ranjan Rout points out, “Once a project is over, you aren't obliged to keep in touch with the client. But, if you want to build a good reputation, you better!”
There are a variety of ways to stay in touch with clients following successful projects. But to get a testimonial, you have to be ready to ask for one as soon as the work is done.
This can seem scary, but with the right process in place, it becomes easier each time you do it. Having a repeatable process in place that makes it easy for you and the client means you will ask every time and get some great content from clients.
The first step is to have a standard request ready that you can re-use with any client. A testimonial email template will make it easier for you to send requests at the conclusion of any project. Be sure to state why you want the testimonial and whether you will be using the customer’s name or business name, or whether they can choose to be anonymous.
Here’s a sample testimonial email template:
“I’m really pleased with the results of our project and hope that we have the opportunity to work together again. In the meantime, one of the ways I can explain my value to new clients is through testimonials from customers. If you’re comfortable with the idea, I would love to get a testimonial that I could use on my website and in proposals to clients. I can send over a template (or draft, or questions, more on that below) that makes the process simple for you. You can let me know if I can attach your name, or whether you would prefer to remain anonymous. Thank you for your time.”
This can be modified to suit your style, but having this ready to send at the conclusion of any project or piece of work will automate the process for you. You can consider discussing testimonials at the time you sign a freelance contract, or you can send your testimonial request with your freelance invoice.
Now let’s discuss the 7 hacks you can implement in the template you send to the client by email, to make it easy to ask for testimonials.
One way how to ask for testimonials is to ask a few key questions, the answers to which will provide the content you need. These can vary based on your business, but the point of the questions is to spur the client into providing great material, without causing them too much work. Asking for a testimonial and then giving the client a blank piece of paper is daunting for them. Make it easy and you’ll be more successful getting client testimonials.
Here are some sample questions to ask for a testimonial:
Use a maximum of three or four, so that it isn’t overwhelming for the client, and be sure you don’t use yes/no questions.
I hear the collective gasp at the thought of writing the client’s thoughts for them! In reality, providing the client with a draft is a good idea. After all, your clients are busy and writing may not be their forte. Giving them a draft and asking them to modify it as they see fit is a good start to a client testimonial.
Similar to drafting it for them, you can also provide a few examples of what other clients have said, giving them some inspiration in drafting a recommendation for you. You’ll need to have some testimonials already “in the bank” for this approach to work.
It’s important to gather feedback from freelance clients any time you complete work. As part of a standard feedback form, or an “exit survey” type of form, you can include some of the sample questions mentioned earlier.
Or, simply gather the feedback, and if something is said that is testimonial-worthy, ask the client permission to use it as such. This leaves it a little more to chance, but you’re likely to get some positive feedback as part of a lessons learned type of post-project survey.
Over the course of a project, your client may send you an email or make a comment in a meeting that is positive about you and your work. Be attentive to these moments. At the conclusion of your work together, or at any point if you’re working in a long-term relationship or on a retainer basis, cite the comment and ask permission to use it.
Particularly if your clients are social media savvy, ask them for a testimonial on a social media platform. Examples include a tweet on Twitter that includes your Twitter handle, or a LinkedIn recommendation. Ask the client if you can re-use the comment in other venues, such as your website or freelance proposals.
Asking for a testimonial on a platform that the client already uses makes it easy for them to complete.
Similar to asking key questions or including in a feedback form, you could also conduct an in-person interview at the close of a project. This can serve as a “lessons learned” feedback session, and also give you material for a testimonial. You can make notes as you go, and when you get a comment you want to use, you can follow up with the customer and ask for permission to use the specific observation made by the client.
If you’re savvy with multi-media, you can even ask for a short video testimonial. This is a powerful and credible way to display an unbiased recommendation, if it works for you and the client.
Asking clients for testimonials can be scary and intimidating. But gathering positive feedback and sharing it publicly is a powerful way to display your expertise in an unbiased way.
Establishing a repeatable process and using one or more of these tactics will ensure you’re successful in asking for client testimonials, and getting great content from your customers.
If you’d like to access more products and resources that support your freelance business, sign up for a free trial of Bonsai today.
A verbal contract (formally called an oral contract) refers to an agreement between two parties that's made —you guessed it— verbally.
Formal contracts, like those between an employee and an employer, are typically written down. However, some professional transactions take place based on verbally agreed terms.
Freelancers are a good example of this. Often, freelancers will take on projects having agreed on the terms and payment via the phone, or an email. Unfortunately, sometimes clients don't pull through on their agreements, and hardworking freelancers can find themselves out of pocket and wondering whether a legal battle is worth all the hassle.
The main differences between written and oral contracts are that the former is signed and documented, whereas the latter is solely attributed to verbal communication.
Verbal contracts are a bit of a gray area for most people unfamiliar with contract law —which is most of us, right?— due to the fact that there's no physical evidence to support the claims made by the implemented parties.
For any contract (written or verbal) to be binding, there are four major elements which need to be in place. The crucial elements of a contract are as follows:
Therefore, an oral agreement has legal validity if all of these elements are present. However, verbal contracts can be difficult to enforce in a court of law. In the next section, we take a look at how oral agreements hold up in court.
Most business professionals are wary of entering into contracts orally because they can difficult to enforce in the face of the law.
If an oral contract is brought in front of a court of law, there is increased risk of one party (or both!) lying about the initial terms of the agreement. This is problematic for the court, as there's no unbiased way to conclude the case; often, this will result in the case being disregarded. Moreover, it can be difficult to outline contract defects if it's not in writing.
That being said, there are plenty of situations where enforceable contracts do not need to be written or spoken, they're simply implied. For instance, when you buy milk from a store, you give something in exchange for something else and enter into an implied contract, in this case - money is exchanged for goods.
There are some types of contracts which must be in writing.
The Statute of Frauds is a legal statute which states that certain kinds of contracts must be executed in writing and signed by the parties involved. The Statute of Frauds has been adopted in almost all U.S states, and requires a written contract for the following purposes:
Typically, a court of law won't enforce an oral agreement in any of these circumstances under the statute. Instead, a written document is required to make the contract enforceable.
Contract law is generally doesn't favor contracts agreed upon verbally. A verbal agreement is difficult to prove, and can be used by those intent on committing fraud. For that reason, it's always best to put any agreements in writing and ensure all parties have fully understood and consented to signing.
Verbal agreements can be proven with actions in the absence of physical documentation. Any oral promise to provide the sale of goods or perform a service that you agreed to counts as a valid contract. So, when facing a court of law, what evidence can you provide to enforce a verbal agreement?
Unfortunately, without solid proof, it may be difficult to convince a court of the legality of an oral contract. Without witnesses to testify to the oral agreement taking place or other forms of evidence, oral contracts won't stand up in court. Instead, it becomes a matter of "he-said-she-said" - which legal professionals definitely don't have time for!
If you were to enter into a verbal contract, it's recommended to follow up with an email or a letter confirming the offer, the terms of the agreement , and payment conditions. The more you can document the elements of a contract, the better your chances of legally enforcing a oral contract.
Another option is to make a recording of the conversation where the agreement is verbalized. This can be used to support your claims in the absence of a written agreement. However, it's always best to gain the permission of the other involved parties before hitting record.
Fundamentally, most verbal agreements are legally valid as long as they meet all the requirements for a contract. However, if you were to go to court over one party not fulfilling the terms of the contract, proving that the interaction took place can be extremely taxing.
So, ultimately, the question is: written or verbal agreements?
Any good lawyer, contract law firm, or legal professional would advise you to make sure you formalize any professional agreement with a written agreement. Written contracts provide a secure testament to the conditions that were agreed and signed by the two parties involved. If it comes to it, a physical contract is much easier to eviden in legal circumstances.
Freelancers, in particular, should be aware of the extra security that digital contracts may provide. Many people choose to stick to executing contracts verbally because they're not sure how to write a contract, or they think writing out the contract terms is too complicated or requires expensive legal advice. However, this is no longer the case.
Today, we have a world of resources available at our fingertips. The internet is a treasure trove of invaluable information, platforms, and software that simplifies our lives. Creating, signing, and sending contracts has never been easier. What's more, you don't have to rely on a hiring a lawyer to explain all that legal jargon anymore.
There are plenty of tools available online for freelancers to use for guidance when drafting digital contracts. Tools like Bonsai provide a range of customizable, vetted contract templates for all kinds of freelance professionals. No matter what industry you're operating in, Bonsai has a professional template to offer.
A written contract makes the agreement much easier to prove the terms of the agreement in case something were to go awry. The two parties involved can rest assured that they're legal rights are protected, and the terms of the contract are sufficiently documented. Plus, it provides both parties with peace of mind to focus on the tasks at hand.
Bonsai's product suite for freelancers allows users to make contracts from scratch, or using professional templates, and sign them using an online signature maker.
With Bonsai, you can streamline and automate all of the boring back-office tasks that come with being a freelancer. From creating proposals that clients can't say no to, to sealing the deal with a professional contract - Bonsai will revolutionize the way you do business as a freelancer.
Why not secure your business today and sign up for a free trial?