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January 12, 2009

The newest trust based asset...LinkedIn Recommendations

Trust based assets are those things that are based on trust in your character and abilities. Regardless of whether you sell software, services, training, speaking or whatever.

They include referral systems such as those employed by Amway and The Pampered Chef, blogs and online newsletters, press interviews and blog posts about you or your product, and word of mouth marketing.

One of the most neglected, yet highly useful trust based assets is your string of recommendations on LinkedIn. Recommendations are almost, though not quite, like Business to Business referrals. But you can overdo it I have are some tips based on my own profile.

1) Quality over quantity. Nobody wades through classified ads anymore, nobody is going to wade through 200 recommendations looking for the jewels.

2) Referrals from trusted sources. My recommendations include leaders of national consultancies in the USA, Chief Executive Officers, Company Directors and recognized names in the consulting field.

I have recommendations from colleagues also, and I sincerely appreciate them, but these need to be balanced out with recommendations fro trusted sources.

3) Don't do recommendation SPAM!! I hate this stuff. Insincere referrals from people who barely know you and who are just doing it to get their count up.

I have had people who send me one email, ever, in their lives, and they ask me to refer them on LinkedIn.

What am I going to say? "Gee, she really writes a mean email!" Whenever I see stuff like that, and it is obvious, my opinion immediately drops of the person whose profile I am reading, and of the person who wrote the recommendation.

It is near to fraud if you think of it a little deeper...

4) Use them! Like photos in your electronic camera, you need to set them free...

Put them on your website, in your email signature maybe, on your CV (definitely), in quotations and in tender documents. They are all representations of your brand and, if you have collected them correctly; they represent referrals from trusted sources.

The days of "references available on request" are over, long live the days of "references available online - this instant!"