What Makes a Great Testimonial or Recommendation?

In my last couple of videos, I talked about LinkedIn Recommendations and testimonials – why you need them and how to ask for them.

But what makes for a good client recommendation or testimonial? Watch the video below and/or read on to find out!

The purpose of a testimonial is to help overcome client objections and to help your ideal clients to recognize themselves and see that you are a good choice for them.

You’ve probably heard testimonials on television commercials for lawyers that say something like, “I was injured in a truck accident. The insurance company only offered me $7500 to settle my case, but my attorneys got me $1 million.”

That kind of testimonial tells you what the lawyer does – plaintiff’s personal injury, but I don’t think it quite goes far enough, and it’s a little one-dimensional, focusing only on outcome.

But clients care about a lot more than outcome when they are working with an attorney. They care about what it is like to work with you, how easy you made it for them to navigate the process, whether they felt like you really cared about them and their problems, and more.

You may have also seen testimonials on lawyer websites that said something like, “Allison was great to work with on my estate plan. I highly recommend her.”

This tells you what the lawyer does and says something about the client experience, but it still doesn’t go quite far enough.

The best client testimonials tell a story about the experience – and it’s that story that the potential client reading your website will relate to. Even better would be if the testimonial demonstrates a before and after – what objections or concerns did the client have before retaining you? How did you address those concerns or objections? How does the client feel now?

You’ll want to include a number of different testimonials on your website and recommendations on LinkedIn that talk about various aspects of your service or that address the most common objections that clients have when hiring a lawyer in your practice area.

For example, look at the difference between the following two testimonials:

  1. “Mary was wonderful! She was so responsive, and we really felt that she had our best interests at heart.”
  • “Mary was invaluable in helping us through a difficult time. I was a bit skeptical at first that mediation would be able to help us resolve all of our divorce and custody issues, but Mary took the time to listen not just to what we were saying, but to dig deeper to find out what was really important to each of us and to develop a financial and custody plan that would work for our family. Mary walked us through the process and was patient, even when we got emotional during our mediation sessions. She answered our questions, no matter how trivial and found a compromise that is fair to everyone and enabled us to move on with our lives.”

A good recommendation tells a story and gives potential clients a good picture of what it is like to work with you.

As always, don’t forget to check the rules of professional responsibility in your jurisdiction to ensure that a recommendation or testimonial complies with the rules before posting it; if it doesn’t comply, you may need to ask the client for a quick revision.

For more video tips see below:

How to Ask for a LinkedIn Recommendation

 In my last video, I talked about why LinkedIn Recommendations are useful for lawyers and covered the mechanics of asking for them. But I know that some lawyers are just uncomfortable asking for recommendations. They don’t want to appear to “salesy” or to diminish their professionalism.

There are ways to approach clients for recommendations or testimonials that aren’t pushy or overly promotional. The most important thing is to be genuine. If you truly believe that you have helped this client and that you can provide value to others with the services you provide, and you approach asking for recommendations with that attitude, it may be less uncomfortable.

By far the easiest way to ask for a LinkedIn Recommendation is to do it when a client says thank you or otherwise expresses appreciation for what you have done for them. An appreciative client will always be happy to spread the word about the good work that you do.

Tell the client you were happy to help them, and then ask if they can help you reach others in a similar situation by writing a Recommendation for you on LinkedIn. You can send them a link in an email or simply tell them that you’ll send a recommendation request and that they should look out for it in their LinkedIn account.

But you don’t have to wait for a client to say thank you before you ask for a recommendation. Y ou can make recommendations a part of your regular process. Build a procedure that automatically triggers a request for a recommendation at the end of every client engagement. You can make it a part of your closing documents or email including the link and instructions, or just add to your file closing checklist to hop on LinkedIn and send that recommendation request.

If the client is an ongoing client with no specific end to their engagement, such as a client you perform outside general counsel services for, you could ask for a recommendation every so often, for example at the end of the year, at the completion of a big project, or in conjunction with a certain event every year.

Say something like, “It was a pleasure working with you. Thank you for choosing me to help you with … I have found that potential clients like to read about what it was like to work with me, so I would be grateful if you would be willing to leave a recommendation on my LinkedIn profile.” You can leave instructions right then and there about how to do so and tell them you’ll be sending a request, or wait for the client to respond that they are willing to do it and then send them a recommendation request.

As always, you’ll want to check your jurisdiction’s ethical rules with respect to recommendations and testimonials, and review any LinkedIn recommendations you receive before you post them to make sure that they do not contain prohibited language. If they do, you can always ask your client to revise the recommendation before you post it. And if your practice area doesn’t lend itself to client recommendations with a name attached, you can use these techniques to ask a client for a testimonial that you can post on your website without their name attached.

Be sure to follow up with a thank you after the client leaves you a recommendation!

For more LinkedIn video tips see below:

Upgrade Your LinkedIn Headline

Upgrade your LinkedIn Headline with these tips!

Hi, it’s Allison shields Johs from Legal Ease Consulting and today what I’d like to talk about is your Headline on LinkedIn.

I find a lot of lawyers make mistakes when they put together their LinkedIn Profile, particularly with respect to the headline. The headline is the line that appears directly below your name on LinkedIn, and oftentimes when people first encounter you on LinkedIn, they’re only seeing your name, your photo, and that headline. So you want to make sure your headline is descriptive enough to get your audience to take action.

For example, if you send somebody an invitation to connect with you on LinkedIn, all they’re going to see initially is your invitation, with your name, your photo and your headline. Your headline should be descriptive enough that either the person that you’re trying to connect with will click over to view your entire profile, or just from your headline, they’ll see that you’re somebody that they want to connect with. And they’ll click that Accept button.

The same thing happens if you show up in someone’s results for “People You May Know” on LinkedIn. A lot of people use that feature to build out their linkedIn connections. But if your headline isn’t descriptive enough, they may pass you right by and not bother to either click through to see your full Profile or send you that invitaion to connect.

So how can you improve your headline on LinkedIn?

Don’t make the mistake of just using your title. Make sure that you’re thinking about who it is that you want to make connections with on LinkedIn. Don’t forget that it’s not just clients. LinkedIn is a networking platform.

Who is it that you want to connect with? Who are the business people that could refer you business? Or maybe you want to connect with people who are going to reach out to you as an expert to get a quote. What is it that those people need to know about you.? Add that to your headline.

Make sure that you’re very descriptive. You have 120 characters on LinkedIn to create your Headline. There’s a lot of room there. One thing I would suggest is adding your firm name. A lot of times that gives you immediate cachet.

Next, make sure that your Headline includes your practice area. If someone is looking for a divorce lawyer and the search results reveal two different lawyers and one’s Headline says divorce lawyer or matrimonial lawyer and the other’s just says lawyer, chances are the person with the more descriptive headline is the one who’s going to get the click and the connection, and maybe even the potential business or that media opportunity. So make sure that you add that practice area or other descriptors that would explain to people what it is that you do.

Make sure you headline also creates some curiosity and interest; try not to make it too flat. Use the keywords that your potential clients might use to search for somebody like you.

Take five minutes today, review your headline on LinkedIn and make some improvements.