Check out the updated version of this blog here: Tips for Client Testimonials (even if you’re just getting started…)

Displaying testimonials on your site is incredibly important when it comes to winning over a potential client’s trust, especially when you’re launching your business. They hold a LOT of selling power when it comes to landing potential clients.

Think about it – when you’re choosing which hotel to stay at during your next vacay, how do you typically make the final decision on where to go? More often than not, your decision is based on sparkling 4-star & 5-star online reviews. And it’s the same principal in action when potential clients are browsing your website.

I’m often asked by my newly-trained Online Business Managers, “Sarah, how the HECK do I get killer testimonials when I’ve never had a client before?!”.

Well, fear not – it IS possible. It’s all about getting creative…

Let’s dive right into why testimonials are so important, and how to get testimonials when you don’t have clients.

Why are testimonials important?

Testimonials are a SUPER powerful part of your marketing efforts. Why? Because they sell your services based on people’s actual experiences of working with you, rather than simply what you say you can do.

As marketing guru Neil Patel says, “Every great site has a powerful testimonial page… Great testimonials tell people that your product or service is not only legitimate, but proof enough that other people are seeing great results from it.”

For potential clients visiting your site for the first time, testimonials are a more authentic and believable way of showing off your skills. By proving that your services are legitimate, they show your value, which in turn has the power to boost your conversion rates. 

You can (and should!) leverage testimonials across your social media platforms, on your website, in email marketing, and so on. Essentially – you should stick ’em everywhere where you market your services!

So how do you get testimonials when you don’t have clients yet? Let’s dig into my top tips.

How to get testimonials when you don’t have clients yet.

Utilize who you already know

When you’re first starting out in the OBM world, it’s only natural that you won’t yet have a bunch of former clients to ask for testimonials from. But here’s the thing – your testimonials don’t necessarily need to come from your OBM Clients.

You can ask for testimonials from those who can vouch for your experience in the corporate world (or any of your previous roles).

You might have managed a team before or co-ordinated huge events in your last corporate gig. Perhaps you’ve helped form a marketing strategy before. Maybe you’re a tech whizz and you helped install plug-ins on a friend’s website, which made life SO much easier for them. ALL of this is valuable and valid experience. especially when working as an OBM.

Speak to the people who witnessed your talents in action and utilize them to form your initial testimonials. Then once you have OBM clients, you can ask for more relevant testies from them.

Dig through your existing sources

Reaching out is always better than trying to work with what you’ve got. But if you’re not getting responses, you can try checking your existing resources and pull testimonials from these places.

I’m talking about things like past emails where a former employer has praised a piece of work you’ve done, praise from your job performance review when you worked in corporate, or even glowing comments from a former professor.

You can also search various sources across the web. I’m talking about things like Facebook reviews, LinkedIn recommendations, or Google recommendations that might have gone unnoticed until you looked. You can pull these all into one place like your website (citing the original source, of course).

Once you’ve found a bunch of comments, you can send out a simple email asking for permission to use these on your website.

Draft something for them to work with…

A lot of the time, what puts people off from giving testimonials is writer’s block. Often, they don’t know what to say, and so end up losing the will to bother altogether.

It’s NEVER ok to fabricate testimonials. However, if you’re having a tough time getting a response, you can offer to give your client a basic prompt based on work you completed for them. You can tell them to tweak what you wrote into their own words for authenticity.

This will help your client get the ball rolling and make them more likely to send something back your way. You can guide them by saying, “Here’s an example of what I thought you might say, relating to the work I completed for you on XYZ. Feel free to take out or add in information as you see fit.”

Now over to you: If you’ve already built your business, how did you get testimonials when starting out? Have you got any tips for those getting started now? Share the love in the comments below! I’d love to hear from you.