How to ask for a recommendation or a testimonial



Recommendations are one of the best ways of being able to build your credibility with new clients. It is really important to be able to prove your credentials and a 3rd party saying “yes, they can do it” is way more powerful than you saying you can do it.

But you need to make sure that you can use the recommendations and testimonials you are given. It isn’t much use having the most amazing testimonials if you can’t share them with anyone – and this is down to the dreaded GDPR regulations!

If you are sent an email (or even a letter) containing a testimonial, then you will need to write and ask for permission to use the testimonial either in your marketing materials or to show to other clients/ potential clients.


If you gather video or audio testimonials just ask the question at the beginning or the end to ask if it’s OK for you to use them for marketing purposes (you don’t have to post that question when you use the video, but you can keep the original file for reference) .

But the best way to have something that you can use wherever and whenever you like is to have something that has been published in the public domain. For most business owners that means a recommendation on LinkedIn (especially if you are in the business to business space).


So, what content makes a great recommendation?

We’ve all seen the so-called gurus who have 4 million recommendations which say, “I met Zorro at a networking event – he was great” and that’s a great ego boost for Zorro I’m sure, but it doesn’t help me with my buying decisions. I want to know that you can help me with my problem – you need to tell me what’s in it for me!

The recommendations that are the most useful are those that say what you did, how you did it, what the results were, what the benefits were to their business and why they worked with you and not Joe Bloggs.


So, when you ask for a recommendation on LinkedIn why not prompt them and say something like….


“When we were talking about the project we’ve just completed you said that our help with project x led to a cost saving to the firm of £y. That we delivered the project on time and on budget and the feedback from your clients has been that they are receiving their products quicker.”


That gives them the frame work of what you did/ results/ benefits without saying “can you write a recommendation that says …….”


And of course, why not ask for more than 1 from the same company? How powerful is it to show that they buy repeatedly from you, or you have a long-term relationship with them?

Make it part of your relationship with your clients – tell them that you will be asking them to write you a recommendation at certain points of your relationship.

And of course, why not return the favour and give them a recommendation too? Our only word of caution about that would be not to do it at the same time that they give you one. The value to your SSI score will be diluted if you only do reciprocal ones and might raise flags to your customers if all your recommendations are on the same day as someone giving you one. Make a diary note and return the favour, but do it a month or so apart.


Don’t forget to let us know the feedback and celebrate the recommendations you get – telling people you have one makes a great social media post!!


If you want to watch our video blog on this you can find it here

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