Are Testimonials Important for your Freelance Career?
For as long as people have been trying to sell products or services, there have been testimonials. On any given day, you are sure to see several different testimonials across all manner of media. Many companies use testimonials as a way to market their products and services, including print-based ads to TV advertising and quotes on websites. There so many testimonials out there and so many companies and individuals continue to use them because they work!
People are naturally skeptical in general, and even more so when they are being told how great something is. On the flip side, most people don't want to be the first person to use a product or service and then be disappointed, which is where testimonials gain their power. Instead of a company describing how great a product or service is, they get their customers to do it for them, usually for free, and a testimonial is born.
To help you solicit future business, you should begin asking for testimonials right from the beginning, from your first clients. The goal is to get the client to give positive comments on what you provided and how you worked. Asking clients to fill in satisfaction surveys is a quick and easy way to gather testimonials in the client's own words. You can also ask them directly for feedback, both during the time you are working for them and after you have finished a contract. If you are going to use a client’s name or company, it is important to make them understand from the outset that you are requesting a testimonial. Also, ensure that they are happy with you reproducing their comments.
You should always ask for a client if you have gone above and beyond for that client. This is the perfect time to get the positive reinforcement that you need as they will be very receptive to you and your work. Also, if during the course of working with a client, the client makes an unsolicited comment or compliment, ask if you can put it in writing, or even video or audio if you intend to include it on a website. As an incentive for a testimonial of any kind, you can offer to provide a link back to their website. This is a win-win situation, as not only do you get your testimonial, they get additional traffic and you are also providing a live link for your portfolio.