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Is LinkedIn a popularity contest? As human beings, word of mouth has always been the most effective form of advertising. We trust other people’s opinion more than we trust companies or organisations themselves.  Just like testimonials on your website, LinkedIn recommendations are an important way of showing other people that you can do what you say you do on your Profile.

That isn’t to say that if you don’t have any recommendations, you won’t get the job/business, but it does mean that those people will have to look elsewhere for reassurance. They may follow a link to your website. They may ask people in their network what they think.  But they may also move on to look at the next profile. If this consecutive profile has a larger number of persuasive recommendations than you, who do you think they are likely to choose?

Having a good number of recommendations can provide that extra level of impact to persuade a prospective client to pick up the phone and get in touch.

Quality vs Quantity

As with other forms of social media, you shouldn’t be focussed on just the number of recommendations you have. Getting all your friends or colleagues to write lots of messages about how great you are is a start.  But the more persuasive recommendations will be those that are detailed, relevant and specific. They may be from suppliers or clients, from managers or colleagues as well. They will provide evidence as to why someone should work with you above all others.

How to ask for recommendations: a step-by-step guide

1.     Request recommendations from the right people

Select your top clients, suppliers or your manager as they are likely to give the most persuasive reviews. Also consider those who work for you, if you are looking to highlight your people management skills or your personal approach to business.

2.     Request recommendations at the right time

Just delivered a project for a client? Now is the perfect time to ask for a recommendation. “Strike whilst the iron is hot”. I ask people to provide recommendations for my LinkedIn training courses as soon as they have completed them, so the experience is fresh in their minds.  Or if I am writing a LinkedIn Profile for them, I contact them after a month asking them for feedback along with a recommendation if they had a positive experience from my services and had experienced increased views on their Profile because of the keyword changes that I had made.

3.     Provide suggested text for speed and ease

Not everyone will want words put into their mouth. However, we are all short of time. The LinkedIn ‘Request a recommendation’ tool allows you to add a note and it can be helpful to put suggested text in here. For example, if someone has just emailed you to say thank you for a fantastic meeting, copying their words into the message, thanking them for their kind review and asking if they could add it to LinkedIn can make it quicker and easier for them.

4.     Prompt, but don’t chase

With so many demands on our time, it can be easy for things to slip our minds. Someone might be very happy to give you a recommendation, but they have simply not got around to it yet. A gentle reminder through a different media – perhaps the next time you see or speak to them can encourage them to take action. However, don’t keep hounding them. If someone hasn’t chosen to complete the recommendation there may be an underlying reason.

5.     Always say thank you

If someone is kind enough to complete a recommendation then ensure you find the time to thank them and show you appreciate their effort. Don’t forget to share your new recommendation on social media – allowing you to thank the person publicly as well as privately.

I would welcome hearing from you with your tips on how to ask for recommendations and your comments on the quality vs quantity debate.

I work with a wide variety of clients throughout the Thames Valley and beyond to help them create achievable #LinkedIn strategies to promote their business and generate further business leads both in my one to one LinkedIn #Coaching Sessions and my monthly #LinkedIn Training Courses which are run in Reading, Berkshire.

For monthly LinkedIn tips and my Top Ten Tips for professional success on LinkedIn, visit my website and fill out the contact form or alternatively connect with me on LinkedIn and/or follow me on Facebook or Twitter.


Rachel Tombs is a LinkedIn Specialist, LinkedIn Profile Writer, and LinkedIn Trainer.

I work with a wide variety of professionals to help them to create and maintain profitable business relationships. We buy from people that we KNOW, LIKE AND TRUST.

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