5 tips for asking for testimonials, recommendations or reviews

MP900382649[1]Because of social media we need to be careful to maintain a positive online reputation. And for those who are job searching or seeking clients it’s important we are easily found online.  One way people do this is to ask for LinkedIn recommendations. Business owners may also seek testimonials and positive reviews on Yelp, Google+, Bing and other sites. However, in the search for reviews and recommendations sometimes people forget their manners.

A colleague, who is a business owner, emailed me about a client who she did a trade with. This client asked for a recommendation after they did the trade, which my colleague happily provided. A year later, under guise of hiring my colleague, the client asked her to write four online reviews for him. His request was very specific and included the links to the sites. This was out of line. He was asking too much of my colleague all the while acting as if he was going to hire her to compel her to write the reviews.

Here are some guidelines for requesting recommendations and reviews.

Who are you?

Make sure when you’re requesting a recommendation that the person you’re asking has actually worked with you or done business with you and it was a positive experience. I’ve had people who I hardly know request LinkedIn recommendations. I never give a recommendation for someone I haven’t worked closely with because I don’t want to risk my reputation by recommending someone whose work I can’t truly vouch for.

Don’t be a pest

When asking for testimonials or recommendations, it’s okay to ask two times, but beyond that you become annoying. There may be a reason the person does not want to write a testimonial for you. Don’t push it.

Personalize please

When you send a LinkedIn recommendation request be sure to personalize it. Don’t use the default message. Ask politely if the person will write a recommendation for you. If you would like specific things addressed in the recommendation it’s acceptable to ask if the person would mention those things if and only if, this person saw you perform those duties or knows you have those skills.

Express your gratitude

Say thank you when someone does write a recommendation, testimonial or review for you. It takes time to write a recommendation, so be sure you take the time to write a thank you note. An actual hand written note is better than an email and will have much more impact. But at the very least, send an email thanking the person for the review.

Do not go to the well more than once

If someone has written you a testimonial or recommendation don’t ask later for another one. The only exception to this would be if you later do work with this person in a different capacity that would warrant a new review. It should go without saying that you should be confident the person is happy with your work.

What are some other recommendation dos and don’ts you think are important to heed? Are there particular guidelines you follow when giving recommendations or reviews?



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Arden Clise is founder and president of Clise Etiquette. Her love for business etiquette began in previous jobs when she was frequently asked for etiquette, public speaking and business attire advice by executives and board members. The passion for etiquette took hold and compelled Arden to start a consulting business to help others. Read more >>

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