Recommendations are crucial for salespeople's credibility. A glowing recommendation from a client provides social proof that can put new prospects' minds at ease.

Because they're so important, reps shouldn't just wait for reviews to come in naturally -- they should proactively seek them out.

Use these tips to source personalized, persuasive LinkedIn recommendations that will make your profile stand out against a sea of competitors.

How to Request a Recommendation on LinkedIn

1. Think about what you'd like to communicate

Not every recommendation serves the same purpose. Are you looking for a new job? Trying to attract new clients? Attempting to make a drastic career shift?

Before you ask for a recommendation, think about what you're trying to accomplish, as this will impact who you'll ask and how you direct this person.

For example, if you're looking for a new job, a recommendation from a manager or colleague about exemplary work performance will help you stand out to recruiters and hiring managers.

But if you'd like to source new clients, a recommendation from a client detailing the results you helped them achieve will mean the most to prospects.

2. Identify the person you'd like to recommend you

Next, zero in on the person you want to write a recommendation. Keep in mind the best person to write a recommendation isn't always the one you're closest with or the one with the most impressive title.

Here are some guidelines to help you find the perfect person to recommend you. Choose someone that:

  • You've worked with for six months or more
  • Has experience with other professionals like you
  • Has benefitted in a material way from your work
  • Is in a similar industry or holds a similar job to the target audience you'd like to attract (clients, recruiters, executives, etc.)
  • Is a strong writer
  • Regards you in a positive light (obvious, but critical!)

3. Identify three topics you'd like the person to focus on

Generic recommendations like the below aren't all that effective:

  • "Steve is great! He's a really nice guy."
  • "Jill is a hard worker and a smart worker."
  • "Collaborating with Stephanie was awesome."

Sure, these statements are nice. But what do they really say about you in particular? These accolades could be applied to almost anybody.

Odds are, you're hoping a recommendation will get you chosen for something -- a job, a deal, an organization. With this in mind, recommendations need to be specific enough to convince the decision maker to select you specifically, and not just someone like you.

To ensure you get a customized recommendation, prompt the person you ask with a couple topics or questions. Just make sure to do it gently and courteously. After all, this person is doing you a favor -- you don't want to seem demanding.

Here's an example of how you might phrase your prompts:

"I'm really proud of the work we did on the Corp Inc. project. Could you write a bit about that initiative and what our collaboration and results were like?"

In addition, consider adding a length guideline. This serves two purposes. First, it gives people an idea of how long this task will take. Second, it relieves the stress of wondering whether they're writing too much or too little.

4. Offer value

Never ask for something without offering value first. Before sending your recommendation request, find something to send to your contact, such as an interesting blog post, webinar invitation, research report, or even a referral.

Instead of thinking about what you find most interesting, think about what would be most helpful to your contact.

5. Send the request

All that remains now is sending the request. You can do this through email or directly through LinkedIn.

To ask for a recommendation via LinkedIn, follow these steps:

Step 1: Go to the LinkedIn profile of the person you're requesting a recommendation from.

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Step 2: Click the "More ..." button below their profile picture, and select "Request a Recommendation" from the drop-down menu.

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Step 3: Another drop-down menu will appear. Select your relationship to the recommender and your position at the time you worked together.

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Step 4: Using the guidelines in this post, write a brief note to your recommender, and hit the "Send" button to submit your request.

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Email Template to Request a LinkedIn Recommendation

To request a LinkedIn recommendation over email, use the following template:

LinkedIn recommendations can set you apart from competitors and help your career in more ways than one. Add a few to your profile and see what they do for you.

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Originally published Jan 15, 2018 2:28:00 PM, updated January 15 2018

Topics:

Social Selling