Why and how to share this social proof
You probably have testimonials from clients describing your outstanding strategy, knowledge, execution, client service and other winning qualities.
Testimonials are a category of social proof, namely, evidence from the peers of your intended audience that verifies some aspect of your expertise.
Are these testimonials also displayed on your LinkedIn profile?
Potential clients conducting an online search for a professional like yourself will probably find your LinkedIn profile ranked higher than your website. That’s because LinkedIn is a most trusted source for search engines and it is very difficult for a website to outrank it.
Accordingly, make the most of this highly visible and FREE real estate by populating your LinkedIn profile with information that will answer a prospect’s most basic question: Can this person solve my problem? A testimonial or recommendation begins to address that concern.
Recently, a branding professional and graphic designer asked me for feedback on her LinkedIn profile. She has a long career as the founder of her own firm and several household names are among her clients. Nevertheless, she had ONE LinkedIn recommendation. It was written in 2013, and it did not report on a recent professional project.
When I asked her why there weren’t more recommendations, this 35-year veteran designer indicated that she wasn’t comfortable asking for them. How could that be?
Here’s how to ask for a LinkedIn Recommendation. Go to the LinkedIn profile of the person who has given you a testimonial on your website (or would be likely to give you a recommendation). Click on the More . . . button and click Request a Recommendation. Or scroll down to the Recommendation section and click on Ask for a recommendation. Indicate the nature of your relationship: (NAME worked with you but at different companies; NAME was a client of yours, etc.). Indicate your position at the time. Now, compose your message, along these lines:
Sydney, Your name came to mind thinking about the great work we accomplished together on the NAME OF PROJECT. It would be very helpful to me if you would write a recommendation for my LinkedIn profile, based on the testimonial you already gave for my website, which says this: Copy testimonial text. Please feel free to edit as appropriate. Thanks. I truly appreciate your support. Janet
If you seek a recommendation from someone who has not yet given you a testimonial, why not request the recommendation — plus ask for the testimonial outright? Take a similar approach by providing a pre-written recommendation/testimonial on a silver platter:
Terry, Your name came to mind thinking about the great work we accomplished together on the NAME OF PROJECT. It would be very helpful to me if you would write a client testimonial for my website and a recommendation for my LinkedIn profile. You might consider something like this: Janet Falk brought strategy, creativity and analytical skills to our brochure project. She gently reminded us of deadlines and kept her eye on the budget. The outstanding brochure was ready in time for the big meeting. I look forward to our next project. Please feel free to edit as appropriate. Thanks. I truly appreciate your support. Janet
There are two possible outcomes: either Terry and Sydney reply by completing the recommendation form or the request is ignored/denied.
So, how about yourself?
Take a look at your LinkedIn recommendations. How many do you have? How recent are they?
Now, rate the overall impression of your recommendations: Excellent, Satisfactory or Oops, I have not been paying attention.
Make it easy to say YES and make it hard to say NO. The satisfied client who receives your pre-written recommendation text is very likely to take up your request, make a light edit, and send it back through the LinkedIn system. You can then ask for another edit or you can decide not to post it after all.
It is up to you to post the recommendation, so consider whether you want to do so immediately upon receipt. Perhaps you will request a few every quarter and post them periodically, as suggested by Mark Galvin (who has 47 recommendations, as of May 31, 2019).
Speaking of recommendations, have YOU given any recently to your vendors and clients?
This Month’s Tip
How many recommendations are appropriate? A bevy of LinkedIn coaches responded to this question posed on LinkedIn and offered divergent views. Andy Foote (14) advises two or three per role and do not overdo it. Petra Fisher (104) suggests two or three per year. Kevin Turner (149) said at least 10 and make sure they are dated less than three years ago. Brynne Tillman (176) noted that with a variety of recommendations she may select those that most closely align with the profession or industry of the potential client when submitting a proposal. Taken together, the wisdom of the crowd is between five and 10, and keep adding to them. Note that only the two most recent ones are displayed and the oldest ones are unlikely to be viewed. (Full disclosure: I have 36 recommendations.)
Ready to request a few recommendations? Contact me at 212.677.5770 or email Janet@JanetLFalk.com to review a list of your satisfied clients and collaborators for potential testimonials. Let’s showcase the social proof of your capabilities and successes with LinkedIn recommendations that address your prospects’ needs.
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Image credit: Intero Advisory