PHOTO: Kimberley Kessler, Sydney Australia. www.kimberleekessler.com
Have you ever completed a great job for someone knowing that if you were to ask you would get one absolutely kick-arse testimonial?
So you ask the client while the emotion is still running high. They enthuse ‘sure I will!’ and then the days and weeks pass by and nothing comes in.
You ask again, knowing the testimonial won’t be as good as it would have been if they’d just done it straight away. They apologise and promise to do it asap. And they don’t.
Asking a third time feels like nagging so you don’t, or you get busy yourself, and it never happens. So opportunity lost and you go back to making money.
Not so with Linkedin’s Recommendations! Next time you’ve done a good job for someone, hunt them out and ask to connect on Linkedin (or check first — you may already be Linkedin buddies). From here on the menu bar go to Connections/Recommendations. Search for their name and then send a personalized request for them to write a recommendation.
The personalised request is key
Sending them the default message will seem like you’re not putting in much effort so why should they? And whilst personalising don’t be afraid to ask for exactly what it is you are gunning for. For instance did you help them create a website which generated more leads then they ever imagined? Ask them to include this i.e. ‘you know how you said the website I created you is producing you more leads than you ever imagined, I’d love you to write this in a recommendation for me!’
Another way I find works really well when seeking testimonials is to ask people to write ‘a powerful paragraph’. This simple statement is generally translated by the recipient as, ‘if you had to choose one thing about the best thing about working together was, what would it be?’
This technique cuts out the overwhelm factor for the person writing the testimonial. Suddenly their panic about coming up with pages of praise are cut down to one manageable paragraph. It also ensures they use ‘powerful’ language rather than ho-hum.
Scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours
Another technique to secure really good recommendations is to offer in the personalized message to return the favour. So a message could go along the lines of:
“You know how you said the website I created you is producing you more leads than you ever imagined, I’d love you to write this in a powerful paragraph for me. I’d be more than happy to return the favour by providing a recommendation for you too.”
Get recommendations for each role you’ve held
If you’ve ever reviewed resumes you’ll know that it’s crucial to consider not only the most recent roles but also those in the past. For me it always rings alarm bells if there are big gaps in the time frames or the references listed are not related to any of the roles. Was nobody prepared to give them a reference? Did they leave on bad terms? Similarly, if you have stacks of glowing testimonials for only one role and not others on your Linkedin Profile, it won’t be as compelling as it would be if you had recommendations sprinkled throughout the profile.
Whilst I realize it makes life difficult if the people you could ask are not on Linkedin, think laterally about not only bosses but colleagues, suppliers and customers related to that role that you could also hit up.
If they ‘get’ Linkedin, they’ll be more than happy to oblige and if they don’t, get them to read this blog post!
Happy recommendation seeking. And please feel free if you’re on Linkedin to send me one!