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.
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.
* 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 will 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’ll be 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.
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!