Ask someone to be a Praise Singer for you
Recommendations are gold on LinkedIn. This is one of the best things you can do for your career – get some valid and helpful LinkedIn Recommendations.
I have written before about the difference between Recommendations and Endorsements so head over to that post to see why I recommend you ask for Recommendations, and disable Endorsements.
Let us first look at why people don’t want to ask for Recommendations.
I don’t want to sound like I am bragging
Your LinkedIn profile is meant to be you bragging, but only as much as it helps your intended audience. Think of it as a conversation that works like this:
“This is my education, qualification, skill set and experience, with recommendations from past satisfied clients. All of this means that I can help you to achieve your goals in this area.”
It is awkward to ask someone for a Recommendation
Well yes, perhaps it is in the beginning. But lets turn it around first. If someone had just done a great job for you, more than fulfilled their requirements, exceeded expectations and helped you to achieve your goal through their specialised input, wouldn’t you want to say something nice about them? Wouldn’t you feel happy and honoured to spread the word a little about what they do so that they can get more clients?
That is all you are doing here in reverse. As long as you have done a good job, a great job, and you know your client is happy, then go ahead and ask them. They will be glad you help you out with some well chosen words.
If you haven’t done a good job, then don’t embarrass yourself further. We all drop the ball from time to time, or suffer other issues making a particular project become not-our-best-work ever. Move on. Satisfy another client. Ask that person for the Recommendation.
Don’t ask friends and family who don’t know your work. They won’t be able to say anything specific about your performance or your ability to deliver, only say sweet things about how lovely you are.
Okay, so how do we ask for a LinkedIn Recommendation?
First off, you need to be connected to the person you are asking on LinkedIn. Then go through the Recommendation steps – you will find the start right up at the top next to your profile photo in the drop down arrow next to the blue box.
You need to choose the person you are approaching first. LinkedIn says you can do 3 at a time, but I prefer to seriously personalise my request to I suggest one at a time.
Work out your position you were working at for the Recommendation you are requesting, and the position that your contact was at, at that time. For example, you may be going back to your previous boss at your last job. You need to explain your position, and his, while in the meantime he has moved onto another company. (DOn’t worry – this will make sense as you work through the steps.)
Then draft your request.
Try and be specific and mention actual situations as well as, if possible, words that your contact used. Here is an example:
“Jon, when we finished our last project, you said that you loved working with me because I always came in under budget and exceeded targets. Specifically you said that this project was the most profitable one run in your company in the last 3 years.
Please could I ask you for a Recommendation here on LinkedIn based on that last project, so that I can demonstrate to other clients, how I might be able to assist them.
Thank you for your time.”
This approach means that you give your contact some specific phrases that they may well use when replying to you and you will get a more direct Recommendation rather than a vague, nice comment which won’t convince anyone to choose you over a competitor.
What if they don’t reply with a Recommendation?
Maybe they don’t know how to use LinkedIn, in which case, feel free to refer them to me.
But seriously, many people are intimidated by the platform and it is no reflection on your work or value, if someone else is uncomfortable doing this, or too busy to help out.
Ask a few people for Recommendations for all relevant positions that you are wanting to promote, but personalise each one as much as possible.
Try if yourself
Send someone who deserves it, an un-solicited Recommendation. Go to their Profile, click on the down arrow next to the blue box, and follow the same steps. They will be so grateful and you will be encouraged to ask for your own.
Does it work?
There is no easy way to point to a particular advert or online status update and work out the value of business that it brought in. Most social media and advertising is a cumulation of brand awareness and calls to action.
But I can point to specific Recommendations on my LinkedIn profile and tell you the Rand amount of new and repeat business, that they brought into my business. On more than 3 occasions I have had clients tell me that the reason I got the job was because of a particular Recommendation that they saw, from someone that they respected, (in one case, a direct competitor of my new client) and that gave them the confidence to hire me for their project.
I highly recommend you invest time in getting Recommendations at the start of this year. Then see how your work progresses through the next 12 months. Let me know what happens.