One of the most important challenges on LinkedIn is to build a reputation. You can build your reputation by collecting recommendations from people you have interacted with.
Recommendations are important to collect because they enable a person who has not interacted with you to get an idea of your personal character and the type of results you can get for them. Ideally, a person checking out your profile could make up their mind about who you are exclusively by what others say about you.
Therefore, in this article, we will look at how you can find people to recommend you, how you can get recommendations and, if you are lucky, maybe get a little extra work in the process. In the end, there will be a few action items to help you get started.
Let’s get into it:
How to find people to recommend you
The first step is to log into your profile on LinkedIn and then click on “My network”.
Then click “Connections”.
From here, you can review people you are already connected with. From your list of connections, you need to ask yourself who you can recommend and get a recommendation from afterwards.
Go through your connections on LinkedIn and put the people you think would recommend you into a spreadsheet with additional columns for outreach. Here is an example you can copy.
You might like to also review your LinkedIn inbox for the people you most regularly stay in contact with. These will probably be the ones most willing to give you a recommendation. They could be the low hanging fruit you can reach out to first.
Here you see an example of a regular interaction where it could be easy to ask for a recommendation. The most recent ones are usually the quickest to get.
How to get recommendations on LinkedIn
The next challenge is to actually get recommendations from the list you created. In order to do that, it is best to start by giving a recommendation. Why? People are more likely to give you a recommendation if you have already given them one.
To give a recommendation, go to a LinkedIn connection you have, scroll to the bottom of their profile and click the “recommend” button.
Then you are given the option of selecting the relationship you have with the person you are recommending and the position the person had at the time you interacted with them.
After you have selected your preference, you can then fill in the section for the recommendation.
Now the challenge becomes what to write. A good simple formula is “This is the bad place I was in, this person helped me and because of this person I was able to achieve C”. Broken down in three steps, it becomes before, action and consequence.
When you write, imagine the impact your words can have on the recipient. The more impactful you are able to make your writing, the better a reply you are likely to get
Here are a few examples you can tweak to suit your needs:
“I have worked with over a hundred ghostwriters. Dennis stands out like a shining light compared to all of them because he has the skills of an expert writer and the ability to get to the point and act like a professional businessman. If you want results, contact Dennis.”
“The online world is full of BS artists that have tried to promise me the moon. Sandip does the exact opposite. He knows what he can deliver, always promises less than he can deliver and always overdelivers. Also, he is a delight to work with.”
“In every functioning company, there is that one person you know you can rely on, which everyone turns to and secretly wishes they could better emulate. Julia is that person to me. She took the structural mess which was my company, was crucial in helping me double the revenue in 1 year and made the exit easy and painless.”
Notice that each of these examples is personal. They take positive traits and experiences and generalises them, so whoever reads the recommendation gets a better impression of who the recipient is. By doing your recommendation this way, they become timeless and more valued by the recipient.
After you have given recommendations, you might hear back from people thanking you for the recommendation. This is goodwill you must take advantage of. Use this as an opportunity to ask for a recommendation back.
In order to get recommendations, go to the profiles of people you have recommended, scroll down and click the button for “Ask for a recommendation”.
Then fill in the sections for your relationship with the person you are reaching out to and their position at the time.
Then comes the section you have to fill in right.
Do NOT click send right away. That is what most people do, and you do not want to come across as most people.
Instead, give the person you want a recommendation from a pre-written recommendation they can use. That way they can quickly give you that recommendation or reword it to suit their preferences. Regardless of which option they choose, you are setting an expectation and making it easy for them to react.
Here is a template you can use to get a recommendation:
Thanks for appreciating the recommendation I gave you. I meant it, so it was easy to write.
I am working on improving my profile, and I really need help with adding more recommendations. Could you possibly give me one?
In case you are not sure what to write, you are welcome to use, or tweak, this:
“I have worked with marketers in the past who took my money and delivered nothing. Bjarne knew what I had gone through, so he let me skip paying until I saw results. In less than 3 weeks, I closed my first deal worth $19,000. Now I am often getting multiple inquiries every day.”
Look forward to your help with this. I really need to improve my presence on LinkedIn.
Tweak the above to suit your personal voice and style. The key message is that getting the recommendation is very important to you, so you give them a draft they can work with.
If you don’t hear back from the person you initially recommended, you might want to send a brief follow-up.
How are you?
Just checking, I gave you a recommendation a while back. Did you like it?
It is important to not get pushy. You never know why someone did not reply, so don’t make assumptions.
You might find that the process of giving recommendations can get old customers to suddenly think of you, which could trigger new opportunities. Just make sure that you give first. Always.
Now that you know how to give recommendations and how to get them, it’s time to get to work.
- Create a list of people who could recommend you. Review your connections on LinkedIn. Also review who you stay in touch with the most in your LinkedIn inbox. Those could be the best ones to potentially recommend you.
- Reach out and give recommendations. Be honest, generous, personal and focus on maximising the benefit for the recipient. The more useful the recommendation is to the recipient, the more of a pleasant surprise it is and the more likely you are to get a few good words in return.
- Ask for recommendations back when you get a positive response. This is the time when you are most likely to strike a conversation and get the recommendation you want. Reach out with a tailored recommendation they can use or tweak.
You might want to keep track of your process for getting recommendations by using an excel spreadsheet as discussed earlier. Doing that can also enable you to keep track of how people respond.
Be open to the conversations this process might spark. You might even spark a few deals from just giving recommendations.