Friday, November 18, 2011

Please don't ask me for a testimonial...

...unless I've seen the quality of your work.

If I know you, and I know how good you are, I will happily give you a testimonial. You won't even have to ask, since I always write testimonials for people I work with (or see working with clients) that impress me.

Alas, I receive requests on a regular basis from people I've never met, or hardly know. Sometimes they have written a testimonial for me (often on LinkedIn), and ask for one in return. It's tough for me, since I don't wish to appear ungrateful, but I often reply explaining why I can't reciprocate. I often delete their testimonial for me too, since it's not based on any real evidence.

I believe that the practice of recommending and doing "testimonial deals" between individuals who barely have a relationship is devaluing testimonials in general. I'm not impressed by the number of testimonials on a profile. I rely on personal recommendations.

What's your view?


Laura Leigh Clarke said...

Hi Alan - thanks for sharing this here. I totally agree with you when you say it devalues testimonials in general.

I think this is a big issue on platforms like LinkedIn.

Getting certain testimonials is something I'm struggling with at the moment. I have client testimonials coming out of my ears, but I have a book due to be published by Hay House in June and I'm trying like crazy to get some relevant celebrity endorsements for the cover.

I understand that its a case of building relationships and getting them to review the manuscript. I'm just finding it so diffcult to build that relationship as their social media and email addresses are so often managed by their staff.

What would you suggest in this instance Alan?

Alan Stevens said...


Thank you for your comment. I sympathise with your position. I've had three books published, and the publishers always want celebrity testimonials. I'm fortunate in that I know many media people, and there's always someone willing to contribute.

I would try twitter, and ask directly if people would like to see a sample chapter and offer some feedback. Try getting into conversations with the sort of people you'd like to endorse your book. Don't ask immediately, but wait until a few messages have passed between you. Good luck!

Mark Lee (Chairman of the Tax Advice Network) said...

100% agree with you Alan. Like you I take the time to explain why I can only post a recommendation of I have worked with the person or experienced their expertise - and rate it high enough!

I frequently post recommendations for people new to LinkedIn whom I've worked with in the past. Sometimes they are kind enough to reciprocate - not often though. I tend to hope that's more because they don't really understand the facility rather than a lack of positive memories on their part! But I agree with you reciprocated recommendations devalue the concept anyway.

Reminds me. Despite all of my positive tweets about your MediaCoach podcasts I don't think I've posted a LinkedIn recommendation for you. I'd better rectify that!

robbwindow said...

Thanks Alan just come from today's email, I appreciate you sharing your views on testimonials, my views on this are slightly different and I understand your position from your own rhetoric on testimonials, I see them as a healthy way of commenting. Whenever value is given I try and give back and have given a few recommendations recently via Youtube video's, its either coaching thank you or websites that I recommend to anyone who watches. Being a celebrity is something am sure you understand has changed, everyone has something to offer although I do understand why a testimonial happens and working and recommendations professionally is another great tip from yourself and is challenging my own future views on this topic. Again thanks for everything and I look forward to future posts.