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What Freelancers Really Need to Know About Testimonials

by Laura Spencer

on May 3, 2013

in Freelancing Basics Marketing

Learn how to earn $125 or more per hour as a freelancer - Free Test Drive

Most of us hate giving them and we dread asking for them. But they’re an important part of a successful freelancing business.

I’m talking about testimonials (also known as recommendations). Testimonials are more important than most freelancers realize.

Testimonials show potential clients that you have a proven track record in your field. Because testimonials come from other clients, good testimonials can be as effective as a good portfolio. Having testimonials proves to the client that you are a professional who is serious about keeping your clients satisfied.

In this post, I’ll share some important tips about how freelancers can get good testimonials. I’ll also explain the importance of writing a testimonial for those who work for you. If you like this post, you may also enjoy How to Write an Effective Reference for Another Freelancer.

How to Get Good Testimonials

Time after time, experienced freelancers tell us that most of their new clients come from recommendations made by existing clients. Prospective clients like to know that other clients have been happy with your work. That’s why client satisfaction is so important to your freelancing success.

Including a good testimonials page with your freelance portfolio is an important means of getting new projects. Yet most freelancers have no idea how to get a client testimonial.

Here are five helpful tips to help you get a good testimonial:

  1. Do top-notch work. If your work is sloppy or haphazard, you can’t expect your client to endorse it. You should always do your best work. You want your testimonial clients to be very satisfied with your work since other clients may contact them.
  2. Follow through on compliments. If you’re a modest person, it’s probably in your nature to shrug it off when a client compliments you. If you do this, you may be missing important opportunities. If your client compliments you that may mean they could be approached about providing a testimonial.
  3. Request feedback. If your client doesn’t compliment your work, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the client is unhappy with what you did. Ask every client to provide feedback on your work each time that you finish a project. If a client is satisfied, they may also be willing to write a testimonial.
  4. Ask for a testimonial. The number one reason why many freelancers don’t get testimonials is because they don’t ask for them. Fear of rejection or criticism keeps some freelancers from asking for a testimonial. Other freelancers simply forget to ask.
  5. Don’t overlook professional endorsement tools. There are many professional tools for providing testimonials. The LinkedIn Recommendations tool lets your customer share the testimonial with your LinkedIn connections. Testimonial Monkey is a tool that helps you manage your testimonials.

Of course, knowing how to give a testimonial is also important for freelancers.

How to Give Good Testimonials

Giving good testimonials can be almost as important as getting them since it builds up good will among your colleagues.

Freelancers who hire subcontractors or work as part of a team should be willing to provide testimonials for those they hire or work with if they’ve had a positive experience.

Here are four quick tips on how to write a good testimonial:

  1. Be selective. Providing a testimonial means that you are recommending a person to be hired. If you aren’t familiar with the person’s work but know the person well you can still give that person a character reference, but make it clear that’s what you’re doing.
  2. Write for their client. Ask the person you will be writing the testimonial for who their typical client is. Keep their target audience in mind when you write their testimonial. In the long run, this will make your testimonial more helpful.
  3. Be positive, but be honest. The purpose of a testimonial is to build the freelancer’s credibility. This is not the right time or place to provide constructive criticism.
  4. Be specific. Explain how you know the person and explain why you are writing the testimonial. Details help. For example, if the person was easy to work with, include that in your testimonial. If the person delivered early, mention that.

Your Turn

What are your best tips for getting and giving testimonials?

Share your answers in the comments.

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About Laura Spencer

Laura Spencer is a freelance writer from North Central Texas with over 20 years of professional business writing experience. If you liked this post, then you may also enjoy LauraĆ¢??s blog about her freelance writing experiences, WritingThoughts. Laura is also on Google+.