You’ve probably heard about the importance of social proof, including LinkedIn recommendations, but wondered how to ask for the recommendations from people you’ve helped.
Question: What would make you appear more credible in the eyes of your ideal clients?
Answer: LinkedIn recommendations from credible people who can honestly vouch for you and your services.
The more LinkedIn recommendations (social proof) you have and the more detailed each one is, the greater your ability to establish trust with your prospects is.
It is important to note that recommendations on LinkedIn are different from testimonials on a website, which are often fake. A LinkedIn recommendation is a direct link to the person recommending you, giving it greater legitimacy in the eyes of your profile readers.
The Power of Social Proof
LinkedIn recommendations are a powerful form of social proof of your abilities to deliver results.
Mostly, social proof demonstrates how others have trusted you, engaged your services and received the results they were looking for. It speaks to your personal traits as well as your skills. It dramatically increases your credibility and authority.
It is vital you include this kind of social proof in your LinkedIn profile. Thankfully, LinkedIn has made it easy by adding a section for recommendations.
Do you think the number of recommendations would have an impact on a prospect considering your services?
According to the proven theory of social proof and human nature, it absolutely will.
Consider this: Would you hire a marketing consultant who has two recommendations on their LinkedIn profile or one who has over 100 recommendations?
Any good marketer will have two things going for them: they’ll have significant client results, and they’ll understand the importance and power of social proof. When people are in doubt about a decision, they look at the choices others have made to help them decide. Think Amazon reviews! It’s often the reviews that sell the products, not the marketing copy.
As an author of two books on LinkedIn, I know how vital those Amazon reviews are, especially for people who don’t know me.
Make this information easy for them to find by aiming to have a minimum of five quality LinkedIn recommendations on your profile.
How to Ask For LinkedIn Recommendations and Get Them
While having many glowing recommendations should be your goal, there is a right way and a wrong way to go about getting them.
I’ll show you five ways to improve your success getting LinkedIn recommendations. These tips will help ensure you don’t waste time on ineffective tactics and, more importantly, you don’t damage your personal brand and credibility with your existing network.
1. Ask for them, but don't ask people you don't know
If this seems like a no-brainer to you, you’re already on the right track.
I’m often asked for recommendations by people I barely know on LinkedIn, to which I always reply NO.
Although some people might be willing to give you a recommendation in exchange for yours even though you don’t know each other (or don’t know each other well enough to write a recommendation), this is a HUGE risk to your credibility.
Firstly, your praise should be reserved for those who have earned it. Secondly, there is danger in recommending someone who might turn out to be a letdown. This will tarnish your credibility on LinkedIn (and in the real world).
Remember that quality LinkedIn recommendations are essential. To ensure you are getting quality recommendations, ask for them only from credible people who can genuinely vouch for who you are and what you do.
Examples of people whom you may want to ask for recommendations include previous or current employers, clients, colleagues, coworkers, industry peers and instructors.
The best way to ask for LinkedIn recommendations is by sharing the reason you are requesting one, which brings me to the next step.
2. Personalize your LinkedIn recommendation requests
When asking someone for a LinkedIn recommendation, do NOT use the default message. Instead, customize both the subject line and the message.
Better yet, first send them a message asking them whether they would be willing to give you a recommendation.
There are default messages for many LinkedIn functions, including requesting recommendations, but I never recommend you use them. Always customize messages, including recommendation requests.
When asking for a recommendation, it’s important to let people know why you are asking for one. When customizing your message, it could be as simple as this:
“I recently read a book on LinkedIn and have been working on improving my profile. The next step is to get some recommendations. Would you be willing to write one for me about the training I provided your company? I’d really appreciate it.”
3. Make giving you a LinkedIn recommendation easy
When you ask people for a recommendation, a few things may prevent them from doing so. Even your most satisfied clients who’d want to give you one might end up not writing it.
For example, if your recommendation request arrives when they’re busy, they may think, “Oh, I’ll get to that when I have time” or “I don’t know what to write right now, so I’ll take care of this later.”
And they never do because they continue to put it off or forget.
Others might find the task difficult because they don’t know what to write. Again, they likely will never get around to it.
To have a much higher chance of getting a recommendation, make it as easy as possible for the person you are asking. You can do this by providing them with a sample recommendation they can either use or modify as they choose.
Do not send the same example recommendation to multiple people. Otherwise, you might receive several identical recommendations. Instead, make each example relevant to the experience that particular client had with you.
4. Strike while the iron is hot
Let’s say you just finished a project for a client or delivered a workshop to a group. Often, you’ll receive immediate feedback on your work. You can turn that feedback into LinkedIn recommendations very quickly.
For example, recently, I delivered a 90-minute training in Frankfurt, Germany, as part of a two-day training seminar. One of the participants messaged me after the seminar, thanking me for my session, noting that my workshop was the highlight of the entire event.
What do you think I did next?
I thanked him and then asked him if he would be willing to put that feedback in a LinkedIn recommendation.
Each time I receive some form of testimonial or praise via email or private message, I thank the messenger and then ask if they would be comfortable writing that in a LinkedIn recommendation.
Here is another example. A reader of my last book, sent me the following private message on LinkedIn: “Melonie, I just wanted to tell you that after I finished reading your book last week, I implemented what I learned, and it has already resulted in a $4,000 sale.”
I thanked her for sharing this (as I love implementers) and then told her this would make a fantastic LinkedIn recommendation. Next, I asked if she would be open to writing a LinkedIn recommendation for me. And she did.
Use this great strategy to get more LinkedIn recommendations.
5. Turn testimonials into LinkedIn recommendations
Ask your satisfied customers who have previously provided you with testimonials if they’d be willing to share their testimonials in the form of LinkedIn recommendations.
Once they agree to give you a recommendation, it’ll be easy for them to do as they don’t need to think about what to write. Simply copy and paste the testimonial your client had previously written for you into your recommendation request.
PRO TIP: Turn LinkedIn recommendations into case studies
When a client of yours reports success as a result of the service you provided, see if you can turn their experience into a case study. Case studies provide a more in-depth look at your expertise than testimonials or LinkedIn recommendations do. They highlight your client’s starting point, your specific help and the result they received from working with you.
Case studies can be very effective when potential clients are looking for more information on the ways you can help them and the results they can expect from working with you. Of course, no two people will have identical results, but it gives them a much clearer picture of what they may be able to expect.
How to send a LinkedIn recommendation request
First, go to the profile of the person who has agreed to provide you with a LinkedIn recommendation. Click More… to the right of the Message button. Note they must be a 1st-degree connection to give you a recommendation.
From the drop-down menu, select Request a Recommendation.
Once this box appears, select the relationship from the drop-down menu options (i.e., Jennifer was a client for yours). Next, choose your position at the time.
Now, add your message and include the testimonial they’ve previously written for you.
If they’ve never written you a testimonial, either include a sample or give some specific suggestions on what to write.
Remember: you want to make this as easy as possible for them. Don’t give them a reason to put it off – help them take action immediately.
Once you write your message, click Send:
When your client provides you with a recommendation, you’ll get a notification. Next, LinkedIn will prompt you to accept the recommendation and add it to your profile.
The importance of LinkedIn recommendations
A complete and professional profile with recommendations that speak to your expertise provides social proof that will significantly improve your chances of getting more connections and generating more leads from LinkedIn.
The value of LinkedIn recommendations cannot be understated because people know they have come from a real person since the recommendations are connected to the recommender’s profile. Too many people use fake testimonials on their websites, so they are not nearly as trusted as LinkedIn recommendations.
I hope this article has inspired you to ask for LinkedIn recommendations. Now you can do it with skill and confidence and increase your social proof.
If you found this article helpful, you’ll find many more ideas on how to increase your social proof and attract more clients in my latest book LinkedIn Unlocked. If you’d like a proven lead generation system to attract new clients consistently using LinkedIn, I’d love for you to pick up a copy.
LinkedIn Unlocked is regarded by experts and influencers across the globe as the premier LinkedIn and social selling playbook, earning the Best Sales Lead Generation Books of All Time award.