You’ve probably heard the importance of social proof but wondered how best to ask for LinkedIn recommendations from those who you have worked with.
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 your services.
The more LinkedIn recommendations (social proof) you have and the more detailed each one is, the higher your ability will be to establish trust with those who read your profile and are considering what you offer.
It is important to note that a recommendation on LinkedIn is different from testimonials on a website (which all too often are fake) as it has a direct link to the person who recommended you, giving it greater legitimacy in the eyes of your viewers.
The Power of Social Proof
LinkedIn recommendations are a powerful form of social proof.
Mostly, social proof displays how others have trusted you, engaged your services, been happy working with you and received the results they were looking for. It dramatically increases your credibility and the ability to establish yourself as an authority.
It is vital that you include this kind of social proof in your LinkedIn profile and thankfully, LinkedIn has made this easy by adding a section for Recommendations.
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.
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.
When people are in doubt of what decision to make, 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.
So, make this information easy for them to find, by aiming to have a minimum of 5 to 10 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 it.
I’m going to provide you with five ways to improve your success in gaining LinkedIn recommendations. These tips will help ensure that you aren’t spending time doing things that won’t produce results, and more importantly, which won’t damage your personal brand and credibility with your existing network.
1. Ask For Them, But Don’t Ask People You Do Not Know
If this seems like a no-brainer to you, then 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 exchange a recommendation with you, even though you don’t know each other (or know each other well enough to write a recommendation), this is a HUGE risk to your credibility.
Not only should your praise be reserved for those who have earned it, but there is danger in recommending someone who turns out to be a let-down. This will only tarnish your credibility on LinkedIn (and in the real world).
Remember that quality LinkedIn recommendations are essential. To ensure you are getting quality recommendations, only ask for recommendations from credible people, who can genuinely vouch for who you are and what you do.
This can include previous or current employers, clients, colleagues, coworkers, industry peers or 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 Request
When asking someone for a LinkedIn recommendation, do NOT use the default message. Instead, customize both the subject line and the message. Better yet, hold off on doing this entirely until you have sent them a message asking them if they would be willing to provide you with 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 reaching out to ask for a connection request, 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, there can be a few things that may prevent even your most satisfied clients from doing so—even for those who want to give you one.
For example, if your recommendation request comes when they’re busy, they may think to themselves, “Oh, I’ll get back 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 are unsure of 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 that they can either use or modify as they choose.
Do not create one LinkedIn recommendation example that you send to multiple people as you are at risk of receiving more two or more identical recommendations. Instead, provide examples that are relevant to each of your individual clients you are requesting a recommendation from.
4. Strike While the Iron Is Hot
Let’s say you just finished a project for a client, or you just conducted a workshop or training for a group. You’ll often receive feedback from people right away. You can turn that feedback into LinkedIn recommendations very quickly.
As an example, I was asked to do a 90-minute training recently in Frankfurt, Germany as part of a two-day training seminar. One of the participants messaged me after the seminar was over thanking me for my session and he said mine was the highlight of the entire event.
What do you think I did next?
I thanked him and then I asked him if he would be willing to provide that as a LinkedIn recommendation.
Each time I receive some form of testimonial or praise via email or private message, I thank them and then ask if they would be comfortable writing that on a LinkedIn recommendation.
Another example, after reading my last book someone sent me a private message on LinkedIn and said, “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 I told her that this would make a fantastic LinkedIn recommendation, asked if she would be open to writing that in a recommendation for me.
This is a great strategy that you can use as well to get more LinkedIn recommendations.
5. Turn Testimonials into LinkedIn Recommendations
Ask your satisfied customers, who have previously provided you with a testimonial, if they’d be willing to share their testimonial in the form of a LinkedIn recommendation.
This is so easy for them as they don’t need to spend a minute on thinking about what to write. You can easily copy and paste the testimonial your client had previously given you and add it to your recommendation request after they’ve agreed to provide you with one.
PRO TIP: Turn LinkedIn Recommendations into Case Studies
When you have a client that has kept you updated on the success they’ve had as a result of the service you provided, you should turn those into case studies when possible. Case studies are more in-depth than testimonials or LinkedIn recommendations as they need to include where your client was at when they started working with you, how you specifically helped them, and the result they received from working with you.
Case studies can be very effective when potential clients are looking for more information on how you can help them and the results they can expect in 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.
This box will appear, select from the drop downs the Relationship (i.e., Jennifer was a client for yours) and choose your position at the time.
Now you can add your message, include the testimonial they previously wrote for you, or if they have not ever provided you with a testimonial include either a sample or 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 this aside for later, help them to take action immediately.
Once you have completed your message, click Send. When they have provided you with a recommendation, you will be notified in a message. All you need to do next is to accept it and add it to your profile, LinkedIn will prompt you through those steps.
The Importance of LinkedIn Recommendations
Having a complete and professional profile with recommendations that speak to your expertise or how you have helped your clients provides social proof that will significantly improve your efforts in getting more connections and generating more leads from LinkedIn.
The value of LinkedIn recommendations cannot be understated because as I mentioned earlier, people know they have come from a real person as they are connected to the recommenders profile. Too many people use fake testimonials on their website, so they are not nearly as trusted as LinkedIn recommendations.
I hope this article has inspired you with ideas on how to ask for LinkedIn Recommendations confidently and increase your social proof.
If you found this helpful, I share many more ideas on how to elevate 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, and was awarded as Best Sales Lead Generation Books of All Time.