Episode 81: Using LinkedIn Recommendations in the Sales Process
Our hosts Brynne and Bob are joining forces yet again to tackle something that isn’t as appreciated as other LinkedIn features — recommendations.
Tune in as they guide you through this “social proof” and how it can help you shorten your sales cycle. They’ll also discuss why it’s not just about getting recommendations, but it’s also about giving them out.
Bob Woods 00:00
Greetings everyone, and welcome to Making Sales Social Live! I’m Bob Woods, the LinkedIn Sherpa and I’m joined as always by the LinkedIn Whisperer Brynne Tillman. How are you doing today, Brynne?
Brynne Tillman 00:12
Good, Bob, how are you?
Bob Woods 00:14
Doing great, doing great. Looking forward to talking about a subject that doesn’t get a lot of love out there when you talk about LinkedIn but it’s very important.
So we do discuss a lot, and I mean a lot about how you can generate the old “know, like, and trust” that so many of us in sales want from our prospecting clients, from our LinkedIn profiles. So with our profiles’ “know, like, and trust” directly comes from our profiles’ attracting, teaching, and engaging them.
So all this builds what we call “social proof” for both yourself and your offerings. There’s another place in the profile, though, that really seals the deal for you when it comes to proving that people really should work with you and even should want to work with you. That’s in the Recommendation section. So Brynne, let’s talk a little more about how that works.
Brynne Tillman 01:35
So you’re 100% right, in that this is totally under leveraged. LinkedIn recommendations, I’m going to start with kind of the story I often tell when we’re training around recommendations is yes, this is social proof, but it can also help reduce your sales cycle.
So you know, if by chance, you are in a situation, which I find myself often in competitive sales, conversation that they’re, you know, they may say to you, you know, “I just would love to talk with a couple of your clients before I commit.” And back before we did this process with recommendations on LinkedIn, it would elongate the sales process, it might be days, if not weeks before our clients got on a call with our prospects, and every single time our clients had to take that call, It was putting them out, even though they were happy to help us. It was a lot.
So when you have these LinkedIn recommendations, and now when someone says, you know, I’d love to talk with one of your clients or some of your clients, I just quickly say, “Go check out my LinkedIn recommendations, read through those, if there’s someone there that you guys still want to have a conversation with, let me know, I’m happy to connect you.” And what typically happens when they’ve now seen, you know, 8,10, 12 recommendations that, they don’t need to have a conversation. It’s enough. They know that if they get on a call with these people, they’re gonna say the same thing. So it can reduce that sales cycle. It also builds confidence in their decision to bring you on to hire you or [crosstalk].
Bob Woods 03:23
All of which are very important and you know, so we have social proof and also shortening the sales cycle, which is really too bad that we don’t talk about more about this because “we” meaning everyone, not just us, that we don’t talk enough about this because it can be just as important as a well built About section as a finely tuned headline, and all that stuff, too. So recommendations are definitely, definitely important and so let’s talk first Brynne, about how to, let’s flip the script a little bit, how to actually give recommendations.
Brynne Tillman 03:59
Yeah, so actually, let’s just quickly if you don’t mind, we’re gonna answer, Steven Farber has a [crosstalk] come in that’s, “Are non-client recommendations okay useful?”
Very, if you’ve brought value. So it depends and this is going to piggyback on what Bob asked me as well but the non-client, if you were easy to work with, if you’re a great referral partner, if this shows, you know, some good that you’ve done in the world, right? Maybe you did a webinar for a chamber and they may not have paid you for it but you brought value to their membership. All of those are very, very valuable.
Before we get to some other questions that are coming in, which is awesome, I’m going to answer your question, which is, it’s not just about getting recommendations, it’s about giving them. So clearly, we want to give these to our vendors the people we buy from but we also want to give these to co-workers and our clients. And this is one that very few people do. There’s two reasons. Number one, when you’re working with a client, especially inside of an organization, and you give them a recommendation that they were amazing to work with, the value that they brought to the table, that’s awesome. But here’s kind of the bonus is now your face, and your name is on their profile and you’re talking about how you work together.
So if you started to give your buyers recommendations it also gives you more exposure.
Bob Woods 05:43
Very nice. So again, and talk about not only receiving them just in general, but who to ask when it comes to get recommendations and for yourself.
Brynne Tillman 05:57
Yeah, so we’ll talk about that, then we’re gonna get to Dan King’s question. So who do you ask? We have, obviously, our clients, but often there’s more than just one buyer inside of a company. So if you’ve worked with two or three people inside of a company closely, you can actually get more than one recommendation from that organization.
You can ask your vendors, if they really like working with you. Your centers of influence, so if someone says to you, “You know, you made an introduction to me that turned into business, and I really appreciate that.” You know, ask for them to write that in a recommendation. It all brings value to your profile, and it helps other people get to know you. Who else should we ask? Did I miss someone? Probably…
Bob Woods 06:52
Yeah, nothing I can really think of. So I mean, when it comes to asking, definitely, you know, people you have worked with, as Brynne said, in some fashion, and then if someone who heard you like in a speech or something like that, I mean, you obviously can’t go out and poll everyone in the audience that asked for a recommendation on that but you know, obviously, if someone says, “Hey, I liked your stuff, so much when you’re speaking, I want to write a recommendation for you,” Absolutely. Take it.
Brynne Tillman 07:17
I love that! That just reminded me, if you read a book that someone wrote and you love it, if you listen to a podcast interview where you love a podcast host, these are all opportunities. Yeah, right. So, you know, if you read a book, people love and do it on Amazon as well. They, you know, if you love the podcast, do it on your favorite podcast platform as well but write it in LinkedIn and you’re really going to connect with them and you’re really going to stand out. So yeah, if you’ve been interviewed, you can, you know, you can recommend the host. And then if you interviewed someone you can recommend to the person you’ve interviewed, so I love it. So, Dan King, “Is it easier to connect them to people on LinkedIn instead of having to set up a phone call? In other words, can they click on the person who made the recommendation and send them a message? Or would you have to connect them?”
That is a fabulous question. So I’m just going to reduce that question to, when you send them to LinkedIn, they can click through to that recommendation and they get to their live profile so they can absolutely engage with them directly, they can connect with them directly, you wouldn’t know that they’re doing it and that’s okay because these are people who wrote you recommendation, they’re gonna say nice things. But you can also offer, “If there’s someone that is on this list that you’d like me to introduce you to let me know.” You can’t control whether or not they reach out directly. They certainly can but I think that was a great question.
Bob Woods 09:03
Absolutely. Absolutely. So I think Billy, wrapped it up well, “Recommendations are an excellent way to leveraging your great reputation and brand on LinkedIn.” And in fact, it was so good that Steven Farber agree with it. So and Steven does know what he’s talking about. So yeah, and we definitely agree with all of that as well.
Brynne Tillman 09:26
So let’s kind of bring this in for a landing, recommendation.
Bob Woods 09:31
Recommendations, important, can be used in many different ways but no matter which way you use them, they’re all very important for you to build your brand, to have that social proof to even expand your message into other people’s profiles when you give a recommendation and I ran out of stuff. Did I miss anything?
Brynne Tillman 09:57
I don’t know, but those are all good stuff. So this was way fun. What are we talking about next week?
Bob Woods 10:01
Yeah. So next week, we’re going to talk about converting lurkers into engagers. So that should be a really good one because a lot of people out there lurk. You know, even I lurk sometimes too, it just depends, but I mean, there are ways that you can convert those people into engagers and then if they’re someone you can do business with, then you know, hopefully, get a sales conversation started.
Brynne Tillman 10:32
And exactly your point, we can’t get a conversation or start a conversation with someone that we don’t know who they are. So if they’re just hanging out until they like, comment, share, connect, we don’t, we can’t start a conversation, right? So that’s exciting.
Bob Woods 10:48
Looking forward to it. So thanks again for joining us on Making Sales Social Live. If you’re with us live on LinkedIn right now. We do this every week, so keep an eye out for our live sessions.
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