I enjoy opportunities to use LinkedIn to recommend the work and/or products of people who have enhanced my life.
Since I frequently receive requests for recommendation from people whose work or products I have never tried, I thought I'd share these tips to help you request LinkedIn recommendations that maximize your chances of receiving a response that helps your business grow.
First, I want to share the difference between a recommendation and an endorsement on LinkedIn. A recommendation is a written statement of recommendation. An endorsement is a one-click way for people to endorse a skill or area of expertise. You can request a recommendation. You cannot request a one-click endorsement. This post is about how to request a recommendation.
1. Tailor your request
When you cue up a recommendation request, LinkedIn will include this default language:
I'm sending this to ask you for a brief recommendation of my work that I can include in my LinkedIn profile. If you have any questions, let me know. Thanks in advance for helping me out.
Delete all of it, and write a request from scratch. It's more personal and shows that you're willing to invest in yourself before you ask someone else to.
2. Decide what you want to get out of the recommendation
If you're an entrepreneur, you probably have lots of products and services for which you could request a recommendation: consumer products, e-books, consulting services, digital downloads, a podcast, and the list goes on.
Tell the person what you want them to recommend you for. Don't make them guess. Be as specific as possible.
3. Choose people you know will say great things
A few stellar recommendations is better than a thousand cookie cutter, “Jane Doe is a genius and I highly recommend her,” recommendations. Pick the cream of the crop you have served. You might even remind them of exactly what you did for them, to help them remember what a good experience it was.
4. Sample request – services
Here's a sample services-related request you can customize to your liking:
I hope this message finds you well. It was great seeing you at the networking event last week! As we discussed, one of the things I am doing is creating new ways for my prospective customers to quickly see how I can serve them. Since you were so pleased with the consultation we had a while back about your business, I am hoping that you would be so kind as to write a LinkedIn recommendation about my business expertise that I can share with others. Perhaps you could share briefly how my suggestion that you [do XYZ] has helped your business grow. If you have any questions, let me know. Thanks in advance for helping me out.
5. Sample request – products
Here's a sample wholesale order-related request you can customize to your liking, which may be appropriate after receipt of an order has been acknowledged via email:
I hope this message finds you well. I am so glad that your shipment of [products] arrived safely. I was very excited to see you place your third order of my products and I hope they fly off the shelves! I am hoping that you would be so kind as to write a LinkedIn recommendation that I can share with others. Perhaps you could share briefly how your customers like buying my products in your store, and what a good match they are for your spa clientele. I would be most appreciative if you could take a moment to share. If you have any questions, let me know. Thanks in advance for helping me out.
You can tailor that further for people who buy your products at retail.
Unfortunately, many people do not customize their recommendation requests, leaving the Requestee in a somewhat awkward position.
You don't want to be rude and not respond at all. On the other hand, what do you say if you you know the person, and think the person is very nice, but you have never used their product or service before?Or, if you have, it was such a long time ago you honestly cannot remember what you thought of the product?
In these cases, you have to be honest, and sincerely let the person know that you don't know what to say that would be most helpful to them, and, importantly, you don't want to say anything that would not be helpful to them.
Here's a sample reply you can customize to your liking:
Hi Jane Doe! Thanks for sending me this recommendation request. I have enjoyed getting to know you and appreciate that you thought of me. I have to say though, that I am just not sure how a recommendation from me could help you best. I have not tried your [products and/or services], and am not sure exactly what you'd like for me to comment on that would really help you gain new business. Can you give me some idea of what you have in mind, and I can address that? Thanks again, and I look forward to hearing back from you.
This leaves the door open a bit for the person to be more specific. After all, you may have enjoyed their product or service, but if it was a long time ago, you may have forgotten. If you simply don't remember the experience, it's best to say that. The person should understand and appreciate that you don't want to write a meaningless recommendation that will not really do them any good in the long run.
Ready To Make a LinkedIn Recommendation Request?
Here's what to do. Log onto LinkedIn. Hover over “Profile” and choose “Recommendations” from the drop down. Choose “Request Recommenations,” and proceed from there. The page will look like this:
See the default language in there? Make sure you change that if you want your request to be more positively received. And as the header says, “Ask the people who know you best to endorse you on LinkedIn.” This ensures that the recommendations that appear on your LinkedIn profile are the best you have to show prospective customers!