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Finding Work

How to Use Great Testimonials, Once You Get Them

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we’re told to collect as many testimonials as possible — but what do we do with all those great descriptions of how amazing we are to work with?

There are some people who believe that testimonials should be plastered over everything, from business cards on. But there are a few uses for great testimonials that are particularly effective.

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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.

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Handling the Well-Meaning Helpers

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It’s probably happened to every freelancer. Your friends, relatives, and acquaintances heard about your business – especially your never-ending quest to find and retain good clients – and they try to help.

Sometimes, this help can be just what you need. I can remember when I finished my first-ever website design back in 1996. The client was my father, who was an engineering consultant. He was so happy with his site that he got on the phone and told all of his colleagues about it. The happy result was a nice influx of business for Yours Truly. Two of those colleagues remain clients to this day.

Then there are those helpers who mean well, but let’s just say that their help isn’t terribly helpful. Take, for example, a retired university professor I recently met.

He’s one of those guys who’s forever encouraging his former colleagues to apply for grants, and guess what. If they haven’t applied for those grants already, they probably aren’t going to do so.

Not that such things stop this guy. He persists. With long, rambling e-mails that border on incoherence. I asked an acquaintance, who’s also on the retired prof’s e-mailing list, what he does with them. His reply sounded like very good advice: “Oh, I just delete ‘em. I don’t have time for that stuff.”

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