How to gather and use testimonials effectively

16 October 2015

6 awesome ways to gather and use testimonials

Word of mouth is by far the best way to advertise and win more work. Recommendations from clients to their friends and family are far more effective than any amount of commercial advertising. And the best part is, it’s completely free. Getting a recommendation for work from a client who trusts you costs nothing and can result in a lifetime’s worth of work.

So, how do you go about building word of mouth? Here are six ways to do it. 

  1. Do a good job

Deliver what you promise, keep quotes detailed, accurate and easy to understand and your clients will be happy. And happy clients are the key to word of mouth. But even happy clients don’t always recommend you, which is why a gentle push now and then can help to enhance your word of mouth potential.

  1. Build trust

Of course, you can’t force anyone to recommend you. But by developing good relationships built on the solid foundation of trust, it will be much more likely to happen. Deliver on time, to budget, and respect the client’s property at all times.

  1. Ask (politely) for recommendations

You can also request that clients recommend you or write reviews on tradespeople trust sites.

There are numerous sites clients use to check your work. From government and non-commercial schemes such as TrustMark and Trusted Traders run by Which? to commercial sites like Checkatrade and Trustedtrader, you need positive reviews to build a good reputation. Ask kindly if clients will write positive feedback here and it will help to create a positive image of your work.

  1. Not all press is good press

Contrary to the popular maxim, not all publicity is good for business. The main problem with trusted trader sites is that they are open to abuse and just one bad review can scupper years of hard work. Just one unhappy (or unhinged) customer can result in you losing lots of work.

You need to tackle this problem head on and out in the open. Respond to the review and ask for more details. Explain your actions and offer to put right any work they are not happy with. This can help to turn the situation round.

Of course, prevention is always better than cure, so try to make sure all clients are 100% happy before you finish any job. 

  1. Cultivate your reputation online

Make sure that testimonials are front and centre on your website, as these can often be the most powerful part. You don’t need hundreds but a selection of good references will help to instil confidence.

Try to get clients to publicly recommend you on trade sites and social media too. The more people talk about you in a positive way, the better.

  1. Provide references

Always offer to give new clients references, and have a couple of clients ready to act as referees (once you’ve checked they are happy to do so). New clients might then be happy to add their names to the list of those willing to recommend you.


By Dean Taylor

Back in 2010, Dean's building business was growing. He was doing great work, making people happy and enjoying being his own boss – but he was worn out. Not by the graft, but by the piles of paperwork taking up every evening. So, he got together with his cousin Adam, a web developer, and came up with a simple way to solve the problem – and help a whole load of other tradespeople too. They called it YourTradebase. Try it for yourself with a free 14 day trial. No strings. No credit card needed.

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