Testimonials and recommendations – 7 tips

J. Nick Augustine J.D., “The Law Publicist,” is the principal of Law Publicist Communications, an ALR/PRA, Incorporated agency. Nick advises and assists attorneys in transition in public relations, marketing and practice management. Nick shares recruiting and staffing experience and tips for legal job seekers.

Attorneys in transition often have impressive resumes. Anyone can write or pay someone to put together a nice resume. Consider the greater weight of testimonials and recommendations from others in the community. What do people say about you? If they offer to back you in writing, take them up on it and see if they will go further and chat with a potential client or employer. Here are 7 tips on testimonials and recommendations:

Who do you ask?

  1. Employers who really know what you can do. Remember that recommendations are for the people considering you for a position, or when making another hiring or referral decision. Most professionals can spot a canned recommendation, and if the person you ask doesn’t know you well enough, that is what you are going to receive. Try asking am employer who worked with you closely, who knows the quality of your work best. Before you ask for a testimonial or recommendation, ask yourself first if this person can easily recall and tell a story about you.
  2. Clients who think you did a great job. If you are hanging your shingle and looking for content to place on the testimonial section of your website, consider using the clients who say the best things, often about the simplest of projects. Think about the client’s experience before you remember the result of the underlying matter. A happy client who lost a battle, but respected and trusted their lawyer is likely to give you a glowing review.

Where should you publish them?

  1. There are several places to share testimonials and recommendations online. A common practice today is to seek recommendations on LinkedIn and repurpose them on a website. If you do this, contact the author first, and ask permission to repost their statement about you. Most people will thank you for having the respect to ask for consent, which can elicit a positive thought about you and they might update their statement. Broad permission to publish testimonials on a variety of social networking and listing sites is a good thing.
  2. Printed references can include a section for testimonials. Smart marketers and promoters know that printed material is a valuable resource. Don’t forget to include your earned testimonial statements and letters of recommendation in printed materials. I would rather receive your content peppered with nice things people say about you and your services.

How do you use them professionally?

  1. If someone recommends you, recommend them. Social networking websites like LinkedIn already prompt us to reciprocate a recommendation. Just like referrals, recommendations and testimonials are earned. If you are asked or are the one asking, first consider whether the recommendation is appropriate. Don’t give another person a bogus testimonial just because you earned one from them. Rather, earn the opportunity to give an honest statement.
  2. With consent, offer a potential employer or client the opportunity to talk to those who recommend you. A wise salesman once taught me, when trying to close new business, offer the phone number of a client who agrees to verify your credibility and reputation upon request. Try setting up a few of these relations and make sure you humbly thank others who support you.
  3. Keep the love alive and stay in touch with your supporters. Lawyers and business professionals are not inherently altruistic; make sure you keep in touch and continue earning supportive comments and testimonials. Even if you think you do not have clients to send along, maintain and communicate your effort to spot and make referrals when appropriate.
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