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7 hacks to asking for testimonials from freelance clients
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.
Start by delivering great work
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.
Have a standard request ready
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.
1. Ask key questions
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:
- What did you appreciate most about the work we did together?
- What was the best change implemented in our project?
- What did you learn the most in working with me?
- Why would you hire me to do this work again?
- What would you tell other clients about working with me?
- Can I use your name when I publish the testimonial?
- Is there anything else you would like to add? (NOTE: always end with this question)
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.
2. Draft it for them
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.
3. Provide examples
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.
4. Include a feedback form
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.
5. Ask to share something already said or sent
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.
6. Ask for social media testimonials
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.
7. Conduct an interview
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.
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