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7 Ways to Ask for Testimonials

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When someone says something nice about your freelancing abilities, that statement can bring you thousands more in new business.

The right testimonial can help potential clients see how valuable your services are and win over someone who might have been on the fence.

But actually getting those testimonials in hand can be a tough proposition: it’s rare that a client will just volunteer to send you a testimonial that you can use out of the blue.

You have to be proactive — go out and ask for the testimonials that you need.

  • Send a survey to your clients when the project is over: Something as simple as writing up a survey, asking clients about how you did over the course of the work you’ve done for them is a good way to gather information.

    At the end, you can ask specifically for a testimonial. You want to make sure that your clients actually know that you plan to use what they say in your marketing materials and they’re comfortable with it.


  • Connect with your clients on LinkedIn: I actually write recommendations for each of my clients on LinkedIn when I connect with them, because LinkedIn prompts users to return recommendations.

    I try not to be a suck up about the process — I write up points like whether a client is good at project management and other details that freelancers might find useful when doing their due diligence.

  • Offer a coupon or other benefit in exchange for a testimonial: It can be hard to get clients to respond once they’ve gotten what they need from you (a completed project), but some clients respond better if they’ve got an incentive.

    By offering a coupon that will give them a small discount the next time they bring you a project, you not only give them a reason to give you a testimonial but also to bring you another project.

  • Interview your client, preferably for publication: If you maintain a blog for prospective clients who are interested in your services, you have the opportunity to interview your clients and write up their experiences with you for your blog. That sort of interview also provides you the opportunity to pull testimonials out of what your client tells you.
  • Ask your clients where they found you: Given how many different ways a prospective client can come across a freelancer, it’s a good question to ask, even before you get into the matter of testimonials.

    But if the client in question found you through a portfolio site or some other website that allows people to leave reviews, there’s no harm in asking them to return to that site and rank you (assuming that they’re pleased with your work).

  • Check your past communications with your client: You may already have a testimonial sitting in your email archives and not even know it. Take a look at your past communications with your clients and see if they’ve said anything nice about you. If they have, it’s just a matter of asking if you can use that statement as a testimonial.
  • Just ask: There’s nothing wrong with shooting an email to a client you’ve worked with and ask them if they’re willing to send you a testimonial. You won’t always get it — some people just don’t respond to such requests — but it can’t hurt.

Now, taking all of these steps with every client you work with is overkill, but there’s probably at least one option that is a particularly good fit for your personality and approach to freelancing, so start looking at how you can get the testimonials you need in a manner you’re comfortable with.

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