Get good endorsements

18th February 2014

Last week’s Tip focused on word-of-mouth. In other words, someone recommends you to others, using their mouth.

This can be very effective. But it isn’t always the best. You might not be able to find someone who can refer you. And, even if you can, they might only refer you once.

A similar approach is to use word-of-mouth, but where they use a pen, not their mouth. In other words, someone writes a glowing endorsement of your work – in effect, a written recommendation – that you can show to everyone. It’s not as personal as a 121 verbal recommendation, but it can be very effective.

When you’re asking someone for a written endorsement (and you do have to ask – it’s extremely rare for someone to voluntarily give you one), remember the Golden Rule of Endorsements:

Focus on what you caused, not what you did

For example…

     “Gill ran an excellent Leadership Programme. It was engaging and insightful

…isn’t as powerful as…

    “Our leaders are having more impact than ever before. Our people are responding to them better than ever before. There’s a real buzz about the place. Best of all, for the first time ever, everyone is hitting their key metrics. What’s made the difference? Simple. We just did everything that Gill told us.”

This second one is much better. It shows the impact that Gill caused, rather than the work she did.

In fact, this Tip is so obvious that surely everyone does it, right?

Well, no, they don’t. Look at the testimonials on your website and marketing collateral. Look at people’s recommendations on LinkedIn. You’ll be surprised how few talk about what people caused; it’s always what they did.

But people reading your endorsements want to know if you can cause things. Here’s how to ensure yours do:

  1. When you’ve finished a successful piece of work, ask the ‘boss’ whether they’re happy with the impact you had
  2. Assuming she says yes (and I’m sure she will), ask whether she would put something in writing to that effect
  3. Assuming she says yes, offer to write it for her to approve “because I don’t want it to take much of your time”
  4. Explain you need to ask a couple of questions to make sure you write the right things. Then ask her questions about the impact you caused, rather than her views on what you did
  5. When drafting the testimonial, start with the biggest impact point first (remember: people’s concentration drops as they read, so you want the best point first)

This Tip works well when it accompanies last week’s. Imagine that you want to work on a particular project and that its sponsor has a verbal recommendation about you from someone they trust, and reads 2-3 written recommendations about the impact you caused…

…it’s becoming increasingly hard not to choose you!

Action Point

Use the five steps to get a few written endorsements of the impact you’ve caused. The more you do this, the more others believe how invaluable you are. More critically, the more you believe it too.

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