Ways to Get Testimonials From Your Clients

A young man and woman in a café
Hinterhaus Productions/Getty Images

Word of mouth is a marketing technique that never goes out of style. Even in the digital age, there are few things that prove more effective in bringing you more business.

Simply put, people trust their friends, colleagues, and family more than they trust advertisements, blogs, or resumes. And with good reason, since those close to you have nothing to gain by lying to you (whereas the businesses themselves have one big reason called “money”).

Maintaining good client relationships and getting good reviews is important in virtually any line of work, but it’s especially the case for ​freelancers. When you work for yourself, testimonials can make or break your success. Your reputation is your greatest asset, so make sure you cultivate a good one!

Here are five ways to get the testimonials you need so the clients will come to you.

1. Go above and beyond

The best way to make sure your clients remember your name is to give them an unforgettable experience when they work with you. There are two types of people who love to leave reviews: people who’ve had a bad experience and are fuming about it, and people who’ve had a stellar experience and are so impressed that they can’t wait to recommend you.

Customers who fall in between probably won’t be talking you up to their friends. So don’t aim for “adequate.” Aim for “amazing!!”

2. Be friendly

Professionalism is key in a client-freelancer relationship but don’t become so obsessed with keeping your interactions “strictly business” that you miss the opportunity for a personal connection.

Your clients will be much more likely to pass your name along if they like you; it’s only human!

3. Don’t be afraid to ask

A gentle request can do a lot to keep you at the top of your client’s mind. Simply ask if they know anyone else who needs your type of service, and if so, tell them they’re welcome to pass along your contact information.

If you have a website with a page for reviews, or if you’re connected with your client on LinkedIn, you can also request written testimonials from them.

4. Know how to ask

Be polite, friendly, professional...and concise. Don’t overshare with a long, rambling message about how you’ve been eating Ramen for two weeks and you need new clients and it’ll only take two minutes to write a review. Over-sharing makes you look desperate, and desperation is a turn-off.

Your message can be as simple as, “Hi, John, I’ve really enjoyed working with you this past month. If you hear of anyone else looking for a [insert relevant career here], please feel free to point them my way!”

5. Know when to ask

The best time to ask your client for a good review is at the end of a project you’re working on with them. By that time, they’ll be familiar enough with your skills and personality that their testimonial can be accurate and genuine, but it won’t be so far removed that they’ve forgotten who you are. Ask for the testimonials before you need the testimonials!

If your client has recently mentioned that they’re swamped with work, be courteous and wait a little while before asking for their time.


Usually, if your client has had a good experience, they’ll be happy to pass along your name or write a review.

Once they do, don’t forget to thank them right away.

If their word-of-mouth works and you get a new client out of the deal, you could even send a second note of thanks after a month or two. Again, go for short and sweet: “Hi, John, just wanted to thank you again for recommending me to Sarah. I’ve enjoyed designing her website and she’s a pleasure to work with. Hope you’re well!”

In the end, testimonials are the perfect way to market yourself without any extra effort needed on your part, so don’t be shy about asking for them. Not everyone will say yes, but you won’t know until you try.

Interested in building an online portfolio? Continue here to read about 9 portfolio must-haves for designers and web developers