How and who to ask for a recommendation or review

by | linkedin, netiquette, social media

how to ask for online reviews or recommendations

There’s no doubt about it. Professional recommendations are a great tool to help further your personal career. And business reviews are known ways to drive traffic to your website, improve your SEO, and grow your business. We can ask people to do us a favor by writing them, but it’s important to go about it in the right way so we get genuine and effective reviews.

I can’t count the number of times I’ve been asked to give people recommendations on LinkedIn or review someone’s business on Yelp, Google+, Angieslist, or other website. But the reality is that a good 90% of the time I’m asked to put in a good word for somebody, or their company, I don’t do it.

“Why is that?” you ask.

It’s because I barely know the person asking for the recommendation or I’ve never done business with the company I’m asked to review!

Here’s an example . . .

I was recently asked to review a business for someone with whom I’ve exchanged several emails. Most of the interactions have been about the business; answering start-up questions and giving my opinion on various things. The person is very pleasant and seems extremely knowledgeable, and I was happy to help. But we’ve never met in person, have never spoken on the phone, and I’ve never interacted with the business. So I really don’t know what type of service one would receive. Based on the limited knowledge I do have though, I suspect it would be top-notch, but that’s just my assumption.

So, since I don’t have any real experience with this person, or the business, I’m not going to do a review. It would be disingenuous of me to say it was a great company since I don’t know for sure that it is. And on the off-chance it’s not that great, I don’t want people to hire them based on my recommendation. Yikes! That’s a great way to tarnish my own reputation! Plus, I don’t want to have to say “well, I never really hired them” to someone who wants to follow up and ask more about my experience. Oops! What a predicament that would be!

Here are a few guidelines that should help when you reach out to people personally to ask for a recommendation or a business review.

Ask people who know you or your business

This is super important. In order for recommendations or reviews to be most effective, you want to ask people who know you or your business. Ask people with whom you have worked, or who have used your services.

Approach people who you know have good things to say

Quite often when people think highly of us or our business, they’re going to say so. If someone tells you’re they’re happy with you or your company, they’re more likely to do you a small favor in the form of an online shout-out. In fact, when someone tells you that you did a great job, that’s the prime time to ask for a review, while it’s fresh on their mind.

Let them know what you want

If there’s one particular area of your skills or business you’d like someone to center on, tell them. For example, say you’re a dog walker. Your client told you how impressed she is that her dog has learned how to sit and wait for her after-walk cookie. Since you’re trying to get more jobs teaching dogs to sit, ask your client to mention that in her review. That does two things. It takes the pressure off your client who might be wondering what to write, and it gets more kudos out there for the things you want to focus on.

Most people love being able to toot other peoples’ horns or rave about a great business, but we need to have some background and experience to do that. So, when you reach out to someone to ask them for a review, ask yourself what type of interactions you have had. If there’s not much interaction, or they aren’t that great, chances are that’s not the person to ask.

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photo by stockimages / freedigitalphotos.net

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