How to get testimonials

How to get testimonials when you’re just starting out

Testimonials are important for Virtual Assistants because people are way more likely to hire you if they can see you come recommended – so a testimonial page or a WordPress quote rotator widget as I have on my own PA site is vital if you want to show how good you are. But how do you get testimonials when you’re just starting out and haven’t done any work yet?

Simple. You do some work then ask for one of course!

How to get testimonials:

1) You’ve been working in a job for years so ask your current or ex manager (or even colleagues and past customers) to recommend your work. There’s no law that says your first few testimonials have to come from actual new VA clients and you’re still being recommend on the standard of work you produce and how well you deliver it.

You’re not fibbing here – you are being recommended by someone you’ve done work for and whether it was as a freelancer or not is irrelevant. Once you’ve got more VA client testimonials, you can delete the old ones and replace them if you want.

TIP: if your boss doesn’t know you’re about to go freelance then ask for a work testimonial for your LinkedIn profile then copy it into your website. You DO have a LinkedIn Profile don’t you…?

2) You ask a business-owner friend (or someone who knows someone who owns a business) if you can help them out on a project for free then get a testimonial for your work. You don’t have to do a ton of work for them, just tell them you’re setting up yourself and want to perfect the way you liaise and communicate with clients and are looking for a few test cases before you go live.

This is great because you get to do a trial run on your services and find out what it’s like to help someone virtually, and they get free labour.

Everyone’s a winner.

Testimonial Tips

* Try to get testimonials given to you on LinkedIn instead of emailed to you for your website. This is because you can copy and paste a testimonial (called Recommendations on LinkedIn) from LinkedIn to your site but you can’t do it the other way around. Also when someone Googles you, LinkedIn’s SEO is such that your profile will usually come up at the top of page one ahead of your website.

* If you use a WordPress quote widget (which’ll save you having to dedicate a whole page on your site) then break the testimonial down into smaller phrases. This way it looks like you have loads of testimonials when really it might only be a few. People also don’t want huge amounts of text to read so you’re doing your reader a favour!

* When you ask for a testimonial tell them what to write. Potential clients want to know how well you work and whether you hit deadlines etc rather than how lovely and friendly you are. You want that you produce high quality work within a short time-frame and on budget rather than how nice you are!

* Evidence that you’re reliable and communicate well is vital. I’ve had a few clients say they’ve sacked previous VAs because they were unreliable and flaky so make sure you tell your client what types of things you’d like them to mention in their testimonial. You can even go as far as reminding them of particular incidences when you saved their bacon!

* Make sure you get a testimonial from every client you work with and take the good bits for your quote rotator. You can use any positive feedback a client later gives you via email but check with them first. You also don’t have to name the client if you want to maintain confidentiality, just write “Global Marketing Consultant” etc.

* When you write marketing letters to potential new clients (as outlined in my How to Get New Clients download) adding a testimonial relevant to the prospect is the perfect way to show them that one of their peers has hired you and been happy with your work.

Conclusion

Potential clients just want to see evidence that other people have used you and been happy with your services. So even if you do some work for a family member or get a testimonial from an old boss, you’re still getting a quote based on the quality of work you produce.

It doesn’t actually matter who you’ve done the work for.

Being a VA is all about thinking around a problem so do some work, get something in writing, then use it in as many places as you can!

Click here if you still haven’t set up your own Virtual Assistant business but really, really want to.

8 Comments

Tracey

Another good one Jo! I have actually done some of this. Thankfully, I always kept all the ‘thank you’ emails from my previous job so I have been able to use them on the website recommendations page. As you say, it still relates to work you’ve done even if not as a VA. I’ve tried to find a rotator widget on Wix but haven’t had any luck, it is much better than using a page. If you or anyone else knows were I can get one that is compatible with Wix – I’d be grateful. Cheers!

Reply
Joanne Munro

Hi Tracey, I love it when someone comments to say they have actually done the things I’ve recommend and said they’ve worked! It’s important to keep all the thank you emails even when a client makes a passing comment about how good you are – it’s all useful! I don’t use Wix so don’t know about a compatible widget but they are really useful in general as they catch the eye, don’t command a whole page to themselves, and are a great way to show the best snippets of longer testimonials. x

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Julie

I am overwhelmed by the amount of advice and guidance that you have provided. I am in the process of setting up my VA business and it is invaluable! I will definitely be taking your advice about obtaining testimonials via LinkedIn (recently set up and pimping it right now!). Fabulous – thank you!

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Joanne Munro

You are so welcome! I have an article over on my CV website about writing a great LinkedIn profile (www.career-pioneers.com) and you might find that post handy too!

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Rosa Bosma

Great insights! Another option is volunteering your services in exchange for a testimonial. Just make sure that the scope of the project is defined, because you don’t want clients to drag out and never see a deadline. That happened to me before, and not just with a client… One VA would mentor me, but simply disappeared and never got back to our deal. But if you’re careful that others are not going to misuse your time, it can be very effective, because you’re not limited to working with (former) colleagues, family, friends, acquaintances…

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Clare Agertoft

Such a useful list Jo and really helps to clarify what is possible to offer… thank you!

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