Imagine this scenario…
A prospective client arrives at your web site (either through a referral, search on Mediate.com, your Mediate.com featured listing with MediatorDirect etc.). They look to see your bio, what you have to say in any articles and any other pertinent information about you.
Now, if this person came to you from a positive word of mouth referral, chances are they will need little “proof” that you are good.
If not, they will be asking themselves, is this person any good? Can I trust that they will do a good job? Are they qualified? Experienced? And, how do I know?
Testimonials provide social proof. What you say about yourself is largely unpersuasive. What others say about you is golden.
If you want to take it to an even higher level post a picture of the client (with their permission.) Talk about powerful marketing.
People want proof. Reaching out to an unknown professional is risky. It is particularly risky when the professional is sought to deal with a high stakes litigation case or high conflict situation. Clients do not want to trust just anyone with such a sensitive service.
The best way to get testimonials (besides, of course, the prerequisites of doing an outstanding job, exceeding expectations and working on continuous improvement) is to offer a short one page feedback form at the conclusion of the mediation.
The best time to ask for testimonials is when you have just done an outstanding job.
With the feedback form you can get important feedback on your work while also getting testimonials for your web site.
Be sure to get the consent of the respondent to use their name and/or statement. Be sensitive to confidentiality issues. Most mediators will appreciate the publicity but private parties may not. Make the form clear re: what identifying information you include.
If you don’t provide the form right away it may be difficult (and time consuming) to get the testimonial later. No matter how glowing their praise was following the mediation, people get busy and are less likely to follow through on your request down the road.