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You’ve no doubt seen the little blurbs on other small business websites declaring how great the professional is and what great work they do. You’ve probably wondered if those little blurbs actually do anything besides stroke the person’s ego. The reality is that if you don’t have any testimonials on your own website you’re missing out on work.

It may be hard to believe, but those few sentences go a long way in reassuring clients they’ve found the right service for them. Read on to find out why they work so well and how you can acquire a few of your own to boost your sales.

Why They Work

Put yourself into a potential client’s shoes. You’re bopping along through the Internet trying to find a good professional to help you fulfill a business need. You’ve found several websites that list services you need but there’s no real reassurance that they know what they’re doing. Even after Googling their name you’ve come up empty on any real evidence.

You could email all of these people, but that would take a while considering there are just so many independent professionals out there. But wait, what’s this? This person’s website has several clients telling me he or she is terrific? Even better, they’ve included links to their clients so I can follow up with them if I need to.

Simply including these little blurbs not only catches eyeballs, it also goes a long way toward building trust and validating your work. Every small business owner likes to say that they are the best at what they do, but if you have evidence to back it up, you are heads above the rest already.

Plus, if you have these testimonials and you do great work, you’ve just backed up your claim. It’s a double whammy to the client and they will remember it the next time they need services like yours.

How to Obtain Testimonials

That sounds great, but how do you actually acquire these little blurbs? Can you pull them from old emails with your clients or is it better to get brand new ones? Also, what if you haven’t worked with an old client for a long time and still would like a testimonial?

It’s always best to ask, and it never hurts to give it a try. Most clients (unless you totally messed up) will be willing to give you at least a couple of sentences you can post on your website. Email them or call them and ask if they wouldn’t mind giving you a tiny review of your work. Now you can compile them and put them on your website.

If it’s been a long time since you worked with the client, you may have to remind them of the project you worked on, but they should still be OK with giving you a review. Again, all you have to do is ask, and the worst thing that can happen is that they say no.

If you don’t feel comfortable asking for a testimonial over the phone, use a service like Survey Monkey or Facebook to set up a poll asking for feedback related to specific aspects of your business: timeliness, professionalism, quality of work, expectations, etc.

What if you’re still new to being an independent professional and have no former clients to give you testimonials? Wrack your brain and try to think of anybody who can give you a review – work you did for free, someone you helped out of the kindness of your heart, or family and friends you did work for in the past. As you gain paying clients you can always just replace the old testimonials with fresh ones. Soon, asking for a testimonial from a client will become part of your routine.

How do you ask clients for testimonials?