If you read Part I, you’ll remember that after LOTS of procrastination I finally sent out recommendation requests on LinkedIn on a Saturday while I had the house to myself. Before I analyze the response, let’s take a closer look at exactly who I asked…
My brainstormed list wound up being 25 people long. In an effort to be thorough, I made sure I asked people from every job I’ve had. That meant that in some cases this request was the first contact I had made in two decades. I asked supervisors, direct reports, peers, and people from other business functions with whom I had occasion to interact from time to time.
I sent the requests out on a Saturday afternoon. I used the LinkedIn feature to specifically request a recommendation – I sent the messages one at a time, and I know they showed up in my contacts’ message feed, just like other messages, but with a direct link to write a recommendation.
I worried that by sending them out on Saturday, many wouldn’t be seen until Monday and competing priorities might win out. To my surprise, responses started coming in immediately. In fact, my first recommendation was written 30 minutes after I sent the request. At first I thought I would save them until Monday, but I quickly realized I couldn’t resist checking them out. More on the content later. First the response stats:
Before I sent my requests I had written 24 LinkedIn recommendations and received one (1). I sent my requests on a Saturday afternoon.
After one week
9 out of 25 had written recommendations (36% response rate, which is great). Then, two of the best ones I received came in at least 10 days after the request.
Today – after a month
12 total new recommendations received as a result of my campaign of asking, for a total of 13 recommendations. The 12 new recommendations represent a 48% response rate, which is a pretty fantastic engagement for any type of campaign. Beyond those overall numbers, here are more details on what happened:
- People who wrote a recommendation: 12 (48%)
- People who responded to say they will write one, but haven’t yet: 5 (20%)
- People who didn’t acknowledge my request in any way: 8 (32%)
- People who I asked, for whom I had already written a recommendation: 7
- Of those, who has written me a recommendation: 5
How does it feel?
When I saw that recommendations started coming in on Saturday, I initially thought I would wait until Monday to read them. To the surprise of maybe no one, I found I couldn’t wait. We’re all naturally curious about what other people think about us, and so I shifted gears to reading every recommendation as it came in.
It felt great. It still feels great. The experience is like a little Christmas morning, where each recommendation is going to be a present revealed. Some were good and some were amazing. It’s actually a very cathartic experience – I try to live my personal values every day at work, and when someone reflects back that I have successfully embodied the person I am trying to be, it’s remarkably rewarding and affirming. If nobody else ever saw these, it would have been a tremendous exercise in personal growth. But that wasn’t the point – these recommendations will now be out there for all to see for the rest of my career, and I’m so proud to have them displayed as a testament to the type of worker, co-worker, leader, and person that other people believe I am.
Why did I wait so long?
I’ve enumerated most of the reasons why I procrastinated, but when the recommendations came in, it really made me feel silly for having waited so long. It’s easy to procrastinate, but it’s so worthwhile to make the time to prioritize yourself in this way.
Relevance to advisors
True, my asking for LinkedIn recommendations is not the same thing as an advisor asking for reviews/testimonials. But there are more similarities than differences. Consider the following:
- Asking feels hard, but is actually simple – The process is simple! It’s the procrastination that makes it feel difficult.
- Long term returns – The reviews/recommendations collected will deliver benefit indefinitely into the future.
- Impressive response rate – The advisors I work with have gotten excellent response rates when they ask for reviews. This is a testament to the trust they develop and the strength of the relationships they foster with their clients.
- Testimonials are from clients – By the SEC’s definition, testimonials are feedback that comes from clients (not other 3rd parties). When advisors base their reviews program on client testimonials, only people who have selected that advisor and continue to work with the advisor will be writing reviews. This approach significantly reduces the risk that advisors would receive negative reviews.
- Ongoing Program – Unlike LinkedIn, where people generally only write one recommendation for a colleague, Advisors can establish a repeatable process to ensure that they are constantly collecting new reviews to display and share on their website.
- Competitive advantage available – Advisors who get started now can reap disproportionate benefit from collecting and displaying reviews from their clients. While other firms are dragging their feet, early adopter clients can win a disproportionate percentage of referrals by providing the social proof that prospects find so important.
My timing on this experiment is interesting because In some ways, I’m not looking to get hired. If things go well, I may never have another “boss” in my career. But in other ways, I’m perpetually looking to get Amplify Reviews “hired” or selected. I have to believe that advisors considering investing their time and effort with Amplify Reviews will be positively impacted by reading my recommendations.
Being honest about my own procrastination also made me more aware of the value of having a 3rd party to help with reviews. Like lots of “self-care,” just about everyone knows reviews are important, but many people struggle to make time for them. As in so many other areas of life, it is well worth it to engage someone with expertise and experience to get the ball rolling on a project that is clearly very valuable, but easy to put off.
Thanks again for reading – I’m happy to answer any questions in the comments. I’m also happy to talk about reviews with anyone who is considering getting started.