There appears to be a new trend of asking people, via LinkedIn, to give you a testimonial, recommendation or professional rating. Now, that would be OK if the person asking had actually done some work for me, or worked with me on a project, and I had personal experience of their work-style and ability. But, increasingly, I’m getting people asking me who I’ve never worked with. How could I possibly know what their work ethic is like or how they achieve things?
When participating in an online conference Saturday morning I mentioned that I had quite a few testimonials on LinkedIn, which I’ve used on my own website. The keynote speaker came back with how people can never believe them these days because of all the fake ones that are being generated by these requests. That upset me a bit. For starters, 98% of the testimonials I’ve received were unsolicited and given to me by clients or associates, who have appreciated what I’ve done for them over the years. I think I’ve only ever asked for one, maybe two, in all the time I’ve been on LinkedIn (since 2005). The speaker didn’t know me and I guess it was an offhand comment, but in the eyes, or ears, of the other delegates at the event, it could have changed their perception of what I was saying and the value of testimonials. It also shows how people doing those random requests are affecting the reality of these testimonials and changing their face value. They obviously don’t understand or appreciate what they can mean to a business – or perhaps they do, which is why they’re trying to build up a list of ratings and testimonials without going through the due processes involved.
Just recently, I’ve been asked by yet another someone to give them a professional rating for their service. They have never provided me any service directly, so I declined saying I felt they should be asking their own clients. They’d also sent the request to several people and had cc’d them in the email – I really didn’t think that was appropriate either. Either send the requests individually or bcc.
When you are new to a system liked LinkedIn, having no testimonials or recommendations is probably pretty obvious – to you. Not everyone else is going to notice it. However, over time, as your business grows and you work with a number of people, those things will come and it’s worth waiting for genuine ones that will often come unsolicited. They’re the best ones to receive!