I noticed something when I logged onto Linkedin … a recommendation for a former exec from a peer that didn’t think much of that person. This intrigued me. Why, I thought, would he write a recommendation for her? So, I asked him.
His response: “You never know when she might recommend me and I get a job out of it.” (Note to self, his recommendations are likely without value)
Are Your Recommendations Valuable?
It depends on a few things: Who’s recommending, who’s reading them and the recommendation itself. So, to be appropriate in context of this site, let’s call it client recommendations your potential clients might read, and how they could interpret them.
All puff & love
Let’s face it … we just don’t believe these. Call us jaded or callous, but a big love fest just doesn’t ring true. It’s assumed we only surface positive, glowing recommendations. But, if you have too many of these, can they be real? (Unless, of course, you are an agent in Stepford)
The bad makes the good believable
Let’s look at how we weigh the experiences of others in our decision making. For example, when I look to Yelp for a restaurant review, I sort by negative/low star feedback to make my decision. I’m looking for a deal-breaking scenario. So, if a reviewer felt their food server was snitty, that’s subjective so it doesn’t hold too much weight – unless it’s a common theme. On the other hand, finding a roach in the soup is a deal-breaker.
If your testimonial was for a luxury high-rise condo buyer, and I’m a family sort hunting in the burbs, I may not relate. Likewise, if I’m reading the experience of a Trump-esque buyer of their 3rd mansion, I surely can’t relate! Make sure you have a representative sampling of the types of clients you want to attract, by lifestyle and demographic.
How can you get a variety of relatable, realistic, believable testimonials/recommendations? It’s not ethical or authentic to write them yourself. Plus, who has the time. But, for most of us sitting in front of a blank screen is daunting, so how can we ask clients to endure such a painful process?
Mad Libs, anyone?
I’m outing myself on age here, but when I was young and went to summer or sports camp, we entertained ourselves with Mad Libs. Mad Libs were pre-written paragraphs with _______ areas to fill in a verb, noun, adjective, etc. Of course you wouldn’t be that literal with your clients, but you could offer a few Mad Lib type templates to help make it easier for them to pen a quick recommendation that is more meaningful.
In fact, it could make for a fun page on your web site or blog – a fill in the blanks page.