Having a glowing recommendation from many connections on your LinkedIn profile is a great goal, but there are a few crucial guidelines to bear in mind before you hit the road. I’m often asked for recommendations by people I barely know on LinkedIn. I’m really quite uncomfortable giving a character reference for someone I don’t really know, as I am sure most are. This is a complete waste of time in my opinion, and in many ways discredits the person requesting this. Rather than spending time doing things that won’t result in any positive results, and often create a negative image for yourself, I have 4 Rules on how to improve your success with getting recommendations on LinkedIn. Review the list of rules I’ve put together and take them seriously before sending out that next request.
If this seems like a no-brainer to you, then you are already on the right track. Although some people might be willing to exchange recommendations with you, despite not knowing each other, this is a big risk to your credibility. Not only should your kudos be reserved for those who have earned them, hyping up someone who turns out to be let-down will only tarnish your credibility on LinkedIn (and in the real world).
Rule #2. Change Your Subject Line
Receiving LinkedIn’s default “Can you endorse me?” is certainly direct and to the point but it seems like a tactless approach, often not even getting opened by the receiver. I believe in always offering something in return when I’m asking for a recommendation. You can change a few simple words and your endorsements will go through the roof. How about something like this:
“Can we endorse each other?”
Simple, yet incredibly effective. Now we help each other rather than you just helping me. For those of you in sales, you know this is the mentality that makes you truly successful when working with your clients. As in all business relationships (personal ones too of course), things work so much better when your focus is on creating WIN-WIN situations and relationships.
Rule #3. Personalize Your Message
As with everything you do on social networks, make sure you always personalize your message to so people don’t feel like you’re giving them the cookie-cutter treatment. If you want that glowing recommendation then consider putting some effort and a personal touch to your message so they know there is a real human on the other end. Something like this:
“I was wondering if you would help me, I’m trying to grow my LinkedIn presence and was hoping you’d be willing to give me a recommendation. I’d be happy to return the favor and provide one to you also.”
Rule #4. Make It Easy When Asking Your LinkedIn Network For Recommendations
In your LinkedIn marketing strategy, leverage your network and ask for recommendations. When you do this, DO NOT use LinkedIn’s standard message, even if you know this person well. Take heed of Rule #3 and always personalize your message. To have a much greater chance of getting a recommendation, make it as easy as possible for the person you are asking. I encourage you to add your own variation of the following text to your message:
“To save you time, I am providing you with a Sample Recommendation, feel free to edit this and make it your own. I’d love to return the favor so please provide me with a sample recommendation for you. Thank you in advance for helping me out with this, I really appreciate it.”
How many of you think you will have a lot more success using this approach rather than LinkedIn’s standard message? Please share your comments on the success and/or struggles you’ve had requesting LinkedIn Recommendations.