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Marketing / Business relationships

In praise of client testimonials

Client testimonials are inexpensive, bona fide, must-have marketing tools that tell potential clients why they should engage your services. If you’re not already using them, it’s time to start.

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Client testimonials create confidence

If a visitor to your website is looking for clues as to whether you’d be the right service provider for them, a testimonial could be just the clincher they need. After all, if other people have been delighted enough with what you’ve done for them to go to the effort of writing about it, then your work must be worthy of that effort.

Aside from generating immediate trust, testimonials show that you strive to develop healthy working relationships with your clients. No one would write a testimonial for someone who did a so-so job for them or was difficult to work with.

Pick your timing

Never, ever request a client testimonial for an incomplete job, no matter how soon it might come in handy or for any other reason. It’s simply poor form.

"In my business, potential clients often mention specific testimonials from my website when they contact me, adding that the comments were part of the reason they ultimately got in touch."

Make your request upon the completion of a job. Not three weeks later, not six months later. The work you’ve done should still be on your client’s mind – and so should their memory of how satisfied they were. It’s a little like a virtual handshake: job done, pleasantries exchanged.

Clients know what a testimonial can mean for your business. After all, they probably request them from their own clients.

Don’t act desperate

Never assume your client will be prepared to provide a testimonial. Ask graciously then let it go. Asking more than once can appear needy. Move on, do more great work and the feedback will come.

Want more articles like this? Check out the business relationships section.

Use them effectively

The most obvious use of client testimonials is to post them on your website or blog. This is a great way to advertise the excellent work you do.

You can also add one or two abbreviated testimonials to the back of your business card, advertising flyers and your email signature.

Scatter your testimonials about liberally. Don’t make them hard to find.

In my business, potential clients often mention specific testimonials from my website when they contact me, adding that the comments were part of the reason they ultimately got in touch.

Authenticity is vital

How many times have you seen comments supposedly made by ‘John K from Sydney’? How on earth would anyone verify what he said?

When you receive a client testimonial, you really must ask their permission to use their identifying information.

In most cases, if it can’t be authenticated, then it might as well not exist, so aim to include the person’s first and last names, business name and either their website address or perhaps even a phone number, with permission.

Of course, businesses such as medical practices and other highly personal services where confidentiality is a priority are the exception to this rule.

No job is too small

Ask for a testimonial after every project, big or small.

A potential client could be looking for someone to do a tiny, tidy-up job, something you could knock over in ten minutes. A testimonial regarding just such a job could be the perfect way to give them the confidence to hire you.

Are you in the habit of requesting client testimonials? How do you use them? And how do your prospective clients respond?

Gina Lofaro aka the wordmistress

aka the wordmistress is an Internet specialist who combines copywriting with social media, marketing and networking skills for clients' success. Her unique concept, The Loop is an exclusive value-add resources service for clients.

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