If You Want to be Successful You Need Recommendations that Deliver


Recommendations serve as an excellent and compelling podium, a place where you showcase your current accomplishments, the present feathers in your hat and an area from where future prospective buyers decide whether to hire your services. They are accreditation and validation of your work and, indirectly, a way to say that you are great at what you do.

Recommendations and New Business

For most of us who join LinkedIn, sooner or later, it becomes a primary goal to promote and substantiate our earnings. After all, when we have Facebook or Twitter or Instagram for our personal networking needs already, why indulge in LinkedIn as well?! Well, one of the differentiators is the extra business that quality LinkedIn recommendations can generate for anyone. To begin with, it is useful if you have more than ten recommendations, something that is considered the bare minimum for your profile to become impressive in that sense. Nevertheless, once you achieve this milestone, you must aim for more and more, to be able to become the most recommended version of yourself on LinkedIn. 

Potential clients will be more interested in reading how you helped past clients, rather than going through what is your hobby or family or degree for that matter so you must know and invest sufficient time into how you prioritise your profile.

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Here are some top tips on how you can build and highlight recommendations into your sales process: 

If workshops, seminars or training sessions are a part of your deliverables, use a quickfire question in the form of “If you have enjoyed the workshop/seminar/training, would it be OK to request a LinkedIn recommendation from you?” Answering a Yes or No is quick and draws in your client, and if Yes, then, in turn, they grant permission to request a recommendation, consequently you building up recommendations on LinkedIn.

If you are a public speaker, then at the end of your presentation, you can always ask for LinkedIn recommendation if they gained value – highly likely they will have done! 

Revisit your case studies, write-ups, and testimonials on your website/portals. Some people have already recommended you, just not on LinkedIn. Revert to them and request them to put the same text up on LinkedIn as a recommendation. You get not only new recommendations but also a great marketing strategy to remind dormant clients of yourself and generate more business.

To quote author Gordon Burcham, “nobody buys the products on Amazon, they buy the reviews.” 

Tip: Each time someone leaves you a Facebook review or a review on your Google my Business page, ask that person to copy and paste it into LinkedIn as a recommendation for you. 

Another practical strategy to pile up your recommendations is to GIVE them! Every time you give a recommendation, you are helping another person. This giving activity is a great way to build relationships, motivate your network to want to help you back and build greater credibility. 

It is an excellent way of taking your relationship-building to the next level when you focus on recommending others as it means that your level of trust with those people is high.

Think of 3 people right now, with whom you have done business, who you could give a recommendation to: 

Name: ______________________________ Company: ___________________________ x3

Now think of 3 people who you could ask to recommend you. This is a bit tricky as it requires you choosing people of whom you are sure of that they would definitely recommend you positively and emphatically.

Now, if you are unsure as to whom you could recommend, go through these ideas below.

Suppliers can be recommended

A surprise recommendation is a robust mechanism of positive re-enforcement to a supplier who is already doing well. It is like sowing the seeds of trust and mutual cordiality in a relationship to recommend you when you ask for it.

Client retention strategy also leans towards a recommendation, if you can recommend an existent client or a client who is recommending other clients to you, they might stay longer with you once you recommend them. 

You must aim for each customer to see you as a valuable asset, not only for the services they need but for something beyond that as a differentiator. For example, if you praise them consistently and write recommendations for them off and on, they’ll be more inclined to choose you in a time of comparison/choice among service providers.

Give Recommendations to Colleagues

Recommendations also involve a 360-degree perspective these days so give them to your colleagues too: We talked earlier about the value of connecting with contacts and networking. Giving them a recommendation is a sure way to get them to agree to meet with you for a coffee or lunch or over Zoom (depending on your location) to have a catch-up. 

The vice-versa also holds. If you are a business owner, then recognising an employee through a LinkedIn recommendation is a great way to gain more engagement from that staff member, motivating them to do more, achieve more, and achieve better results for your business.

Just think about how much business has come into your company from a word of mouth situation in the last 12 months alone. What have you done to thank the person who gave you a referral?

One of the many options you have is to provide them with a recommendation on LinkedIn. Imagine how that person would feel if you, out of the blue, wrote a fantastic LinkedIn recommendation for them, as a way to thank them for the referred business they have given you. The only impact that this can have is a positive one.

They have been rewarded for an act of positivity; they are more likely to repeat that behaviour and refer you again because you thanked them through a recommendation.

Get recommendations from those who Know, Like & Trust you. I have been asked so many times to give a recommendation on LinkedIn to someone I either barely know or don’t know at all. Essentially you should only be asking the connections you have on LinkedIn for a recommendation if you have already built up a real business or personal relationship with them. They have to know you, like you and trust you before they would even consider giving you a recommendation so don’t approach all of the LinkedIn connections you have, be strategic, pick people who you know will say yes.

Get High Profile Recommendations. People don’t just read what the recommendation says; they also look at who is giving the recommendation. Does it look better to have a bunch of recommendations from other small local business owners or would it be better to have recommendations from a well-known brand? 

 If you do business with a well-known company, it is good to get a recommendation for yourself from someone you are dealing with in that company. Big corporates rarely have the time to provide testimonials or case studies but in many cases, they will allow their staff to give LinkedIn recommendations. The more senior the role, the better.

Downloading your Recommendations 

I always recommend backing up your data on LinkedIn, especially when you have as many connections and recommendations as I do. You can download your data in your privacy settings on LinkedIn, which you can find in the menu called ‘Me’ in the top right-hand side of your homepage, in the desktop version of LinkedIn. 

How to Structure a Great Recommendation 

Recommending another person is a great way to showcase yourself. Your name and business remain on that person’s LinkedIn profile as long as they choose to show it; that’s essentially free advertising space for you to showcase who you are and what you do. You never know who is going to be reading the recommendation that you write about someone else.

Often people ask me what to write so I suggest the following structure:

Question 1: Who are you and whom do you help?

Question 2: What challenge(s) were you having before working with me?

Question 3: What reservation(s) did you have before working with me?

Question 4: What positive results have you had since working with me?

Question 5: Why would you recommend me? (other than the fact I’ve asked!!)

Add a Touch of Personality

Let’s face it: Everyone wants to hire someone who not only gets the job done but who’s also great to work with. So, if you can share a tidbit about what it’s like to work with this person or some insight into his or her personality, do so!

“Oh, and she made sure our Monday morning staff meetings were never without coffee and croissants. She knew how to motivate a team!”

“No matter how stressful a meeting, Jane made sure everyone left smiling.”

Imagine you taking the time to answer all of these questions about a supplier or a client and the impact this would have on the recommendation quality. In reverse, how great is it to have your clients sharing this information about how you have helped them!

How to Give/Request a LinkedIn recommendation

 Firstly, to either give or receive a LinkedIn recommendation you have to already be connected to the person on LinkedIn, making you 1st-degree connections. Visit the person’s profile that you are looking for by searching for their name. Once you are looking at their profile, you will see underneath their header image, the option to message them (blue button), or in the top right, you will see a button that says ‘More…’, click on it.

Once you are looking at their profile, you will see underneath their header image, the option to message them (blue button), or in the top right, you will see a button that says ‘More…’, click on that to show another menu.

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The new menu will appear with several options. The option to ‘Request a Recommendation’ or ‘Recommend’ is in the drop-down menu. When you choose either option, another screen will open. LinkedIn is looking for you to share how you know each other and in which company you/they were working (depending on who is giving/receiving), to establish what role the recommendation is relevant to.

Just take note of the other options in this menu here, as you may not have realised that you can save people’s profiles to PDF and share their profile with a connection.

That’s it—five questions, five lines and five minutes to a recommendation that will make sure your contact shines.

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