Amazon founder Jeff Bezos once said that “A brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.” This can be a tough pill to swallow — after all, we work hard to project a particular image when running our businesses.
I’ve been actively designing since 2006 yet up until last week, I’d never requested a testimonial. I’d always strived to make my clients happy and to deliver what had been agreed to. But in the back of my mind, I was a bit uneasy going out of my way to ask for praise. After all, as designers, we’d like to think that the work we proudly display in our portfolios does the talking. What more do we need to say?
When I was designing the Branch site, I had a change of heart when it came to testimonials. I realized that I was avoiding asking for them because I was afraid of negativity. What if my all-time favorite clients didn’t respond or worse yet, didn’t think highly of me? My ego was getting in the way of a simple request. I wasn’t worried about what my clients would say behind my back — I was worried about what they’d say to my face.
Last week, I decided that it was time to take charge and be brave. I dove in and requested testimonials from six clients and within a day, I had a response from every single one. As I read through them, I finally realized why testimonials are so valuable: they sum up all the things that your brand and business do well. And, let’s be honest — these statements can be difficult to put into your own words without sounding ridiculously boastful.
If you’re on the fence about testimonials, think of them this way: your clients are coming to you and paying for services because they love what you do. When people receive great service, they’re more than happy to recommend that company to a friend. Instead of just recommending you to a friend, testimonials essentially recommend you to the world. And that is something that no amount of advertising can buy. -Shauna