When you provide a professional recommendation or testimonial, your name and reputation is attached.

Do you cringe when someone asks you for a business testimonial or recommendation?  Do you often get asked by people you’ve just met because of your position or name recognition?

Anonymously filling out a, “Rate my presentation” questionnaire is one thing, but when someone asks you face-to-face or in a personal email, that is entirely different.

  1. Do you respond to testimonial or recommendation requests?  Do you see it as a privilege or a nuisance?
  2. How do you see it when you are the one asking for it?  Differently?

Dilemma: You are asked to provide a comment, testimonial, endorsement about the presenter and/or presentation, but, in your opinion it was unsatisfactory.

7 ways to professionally and politely decline or dodge a request for a business recommendation:

Always acknowledge the request even if you do not intend to provide a statement. It’s the professional and respectful thing to do.

  1. I’m not sure when I can get that to you…schedule is quite full.  A, temporary solution; it only puts it off. You can hope that they receive enough comments others that you can dodge this one.
  2. My company is very particular. I’ll have to do some checking on their policy. White lie?  Perhaps, but it is a response that can buy you some time. (Hope they forget.)
  3. How kind of you to ask me, but I only make remarks after I’ve gotten to know the person well.   Risky; they may invite you for coffee, so that you can get to know them well.
  4. I have a three-per-year testimonial policy   This is a bit unbelievable, especially if you are self-employed; give it a try.
  5. I’m sorry, but it isn’t something that I can comment on. Good luck. Honesty can be the best policy, but ouch!
  6. The ol’ “I don’t know what to say…not good at this kind of stuff…” Beware!   Also risky; the “requester” might just jot down a few things for you to approve, then you’re stuck.
  7. Ignore the request hoping they’ll get tired of asking.  While it is a strategy that people use quite often, not following through or ignoring the request will only make you look unprofessional. Additionally, how awkward when you see that person again. You don’t want to hide every time you see them coming, do you?

Another solution is to offer a referral. I may say, “Marco Smith provides the service you are seeking. I have not used his services myself. Please contact him directly to determine whether its a good fit for you.” The main point is to be clear that is only a referral, not a recommendation.

For the “requester”: It’s tough out there. You can’t win ’em all. Rejection and evading are a part of being in business.  The most frustrating is when someone agrees to provide a recommendation or testimonial, and doesn’t follow through. If you believe their offer was sincere, consider sending them a “thank you for offering to…” reminder. If they do not respond, leave it alone

Helping Businesses and Individuals Find Success Through Better Communication and Social Skills

having lunch with a CEO, business dining etiquetteRosalinda Oropeza Randall, Social Skills and Civility Presenter, Media Source, and author of “Don’t Burp in the Boardroom.”

Presentations are available to support HR policies, sales teams, up and coming managers, millennials & new-hire orientation process, service technicians, professional development events, conferences, college/university students, interns. For more information, please contact me, 650.871.6200.

©2017 Rosalinda Randall. All Rights Reserved.