While referrals can generate a ton of business, when they’re backed up by testimonials you’re in even better shape to attract new clients.
A testimonial is simply a statement by a client that you’ve done a good job. It should be in writing so you can add it to your professional website. You’ll find some examples at my pro site, www.AnneWayman.com
Your purpose in getting testimonials is to provide reassurance for potential clients. When they read (or view if you do video testimonials) the good things a client has to say about you, they come closer to being able to see themselves working with you. That’s exactly what you want.
You’ve got to ask for testimonials
While clients may tell you they love the writing you’ve done for them, in most cases you’ll have to ask them for a testimonial. Generally they’ll say yes.
Don’t celebrate yet. It’s amazing how often writing clients with even the best intentions will put off writing one for you. Maybe it isn’t surprising. If writing came easily for them they wouldn’t have needed you in the first place.
Sometimes I have to write the referrals for them
I’ll ask, and if they agree, but I don’t hear from them in a week I’ll email them. I’ll thank them and ask if they’d like me to write a draft for them and send it back to them for editing.
Generally, I find I do know what they appreciated about me – ideas that moved the project forward nicely and solved problems, meeting deadlines, being willing to go beyond our original agreement in word count or revisions, etc.
It goes without saying to be careful putting words into someone’s mouth, even when they have the opportunity to edit.
They do edit
I’ve found that this is enough to jump start their thinking and the quickly return it with edits, often adding things I didn’t recognize. Sometimes they will just okay the referral the way I drafted it. Either way I win because I’ve got a testimonial to use.
Record a conversation
I’ve not done it this way but some will actually record, with permission, a conversation with the person giving the referral. I gather that it could also be called a debrief. You want to find out why, in their own words, they liked your words. Then you transcribe at least the parts you want to quote, get their approval, and you’re all set.
Getting a client to video themselves saying nice things about your writing skills is another, perhaps even more complicated approach. Again, I haven’t done this, but I’ve talked with a couple of people who have and they feel it’s worth the extra work.
What do you think? Have you asked for testimonials? What sort of result did you get?
Write well and often,