Boosting Your Professional Recommendations Lineup

Joe Weinlick
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In general, customers are more willing to try a product, service, or company if it has been recommended by someone they trust. A professional recommendation from a client, colleague, or respected industry expert can go a long way towards convincing potential customers to do business with you. Here are a few tips for getting people to write recommendations for you.

Ask for the professional recommendation – People won't spontaneously write testimonials for you. You have to ask for them. When requesting letters of recommendation, be polite and courteous. Make it easy for the person to provide the requested document by providing a template or list of bullet points you would like the person to cover. Doing so will reduce the odds your request will languish on the person's to-do list, never to checked off.

Ask in the correct way – When a person recommends someone, the individual is vouching for the person being recommended. It's important, therefore, that people feel comfortable endorsing you. When requesting a professional recommendation, ask the person if he or she knows you well enough to write an honest assessment of your skills and abilities. Asking this question provides the person with a graceful way to decline without causing offence.

Ask the right people – Not all recommendations are equal. Who you ask to write a professional recommendation depends on what you will be using it for. If you're using the testimonial to boost business, you'll want your clients to write them. On the other hand, if you're using the recommendation to secure a management job, then it's best to have it written by a colleague or direct supervisor.

Put it in a prominent place – If you're using recommendations to attract more customers, display them in a prominent place. Many businesses place glowing reviews in picture frames on walls. The recommendations may also be included in sales literature. In this increasingly digital world, however, it's a good idea to put the recommendations online. They can be placed in a testimonial section of a website, or you can use a social networking site like LinkedIn to obtain and display the recommendations you receive.

Be ethical – Only ask for a professional recommendation from someone who has experience with you. Not only is it unethical to ask for blind recommendations, doing so can get you in trouble with the law, depending on how the endorsement is used. You can also lose the trust of customers if they ever find out you used fake recommendations—and that trust can be difficult to win back.

A professional recommendation can boost business and help you develop a great reputation in your industry. Take time to cultivate high-quality recommendations from people you know and trust.



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