Learn what LinkedIn skills endorsements are and how you can leverage them to build your business
Have you ever used LinkedIn endorsements to verify someone’s skills on LinkedIn? Or maybe a colleague has endorsed you.
In either circumstance, you might be wondering if there’s any value in endorsing your connections.
As it turns out, LinkedIn endorsements can actually help you win more sales. And unlike some sales strategies, getting them doesn’t require too much effort.
In this article we’ll walk you through what LinkedIn endorsements are, why they’re important for your business and how you can get endorsed.
What are LinkedIn endorsements?
LinkedIn skill endorsements are validation from your LinkedIn connections that you possess certain skills. For example, if you add “Financial Accounting” to your list of skills, a former client or colleague can “endorse” that skill. Your profile shows how many endorsements you have for each skill.
Do LinkedIn endorsements matter?
Including endorsements in your LinkedIn sales strategy is one of many ways you can gain credibility and visibility with your profile.
LinkedIn endorsements are a form of reputation marketing—a strategy that involves proactively building a positive reputation for your business through positive reviews, testimonials, referrals etc.
People trust what others have to say about your work more than what you say. Afterall, others have nothing to gain from speaking to your skillset. By showing potential leads that others endorse you, you’re demonstrating that you’re actually good at what you do.
If you’re doing outreach on LinkedIn, one of the first steps a prospect will take after reading your message is view your LInkedIn profile. The added credibility from endorsements makes it that much easier to win the client.
As an added benefit, skill endorsements can also improve your reach on LinkedIn.
According to LinkedIn, “when a connection endorses your skills, it contributes to the strength of your profile, and increases the likelihood that you'll be discovered for opportunities related to the skills you possess.”
The more you’re seen, the more you’re going to sell. So anything you can do for increased visibility is worth your while.
Examples of LinkedIn skills and endorsements by industry
There’s so many skills you can add to your profile—which ones should you pick? We’ve added a snapshot of some popular thought leaders across different industries for inspiration.
We’ve shown each person’s top three skills, but you can click their names to view their profiles and full lists of skills (you can list up to 50) for more inspiration.
Melinda Emerson focuses on skills that are relevant to both her marketing business and her abilities as a keynote speaker. As you can see, she’s gained some extra credibility through endorsements from people who are also deemed highly skilled.
Some other marketing skills could include SEO, content strategy, and branding.
Michael Kitces is a renowned financial advisor and influencer, and his profile shows it. With endorsements that are both recent and from other highly-skilled professionals, his profile makes it clear he is an expert in his field and has an active following.
Some other skills you could add in finance include: taxation, wealth management, and retirement planning.
Jill Konrath is an established sales professional and her LinkedIn has all the evidence to prove it. Her profile reflects both her skills as a seller and her ability to support others through their sales careers with relevant endorsements from colleagues and fellow experts.
Sales is a bit more tricky than some other industries, as some of your top skills won’t be the most relevant to prospective clients. Listing a skill like “B2B sales” may improve your credibility as a sales person, but that doesn’t speak to the needs of your clients. Consider what appeals to both prospective clients and employers (if desired) when adding your skills.
Some ideas for client-facing skills include: problem solving, active listening, and communication.
How to get LinkedIn endorsements
At the beginning we said getting endorsements would be pretty low effort—and we’re here to prove it in two steps.
Step 1: Add skills to your profile
To add skills to your LinkedIn profile:
- Go to your LinkedIn profile
- Scroll down to the section that says Skills (it’ll be near the bottom)
- Click the + button to add new skills
- Type your desired skills into the box that pops up, or select from your custom recommendations
When adding skills, consider what you’re best at, and what might make you stand out in your field.
You’ll also want to order your skills strategically.
The first three skills are most important for selling, because they’re the only ones people will see on your page without expanding your skill section. You don’t need to make sure your entire list of skills is perfectly ordered, but definitely ensure your top three stand out.
To reorder skills:
- Scroll down to “Skills” on your LinkedIn profile
- Click the pencil icon
- Click the ellipsis icon (...)
- Click “Reorder”
- Click and drag your desired skills to the top
Step 2: Ask connections to endorse you
Have you ever woken up one morning and thought “I’m going to endorse my colleagues on LinkedIn today.”
We all feel a little bit awkward asking for a pat on the back, but you’re probably not going to get many endorsements organically.
Compile a list of connections that you’ve worked with (either clients or colleagues) that you have a good relationship with.
Draft a short, generic message to these colleagues, stating your goal (i.e. “I’m trying to build out my business) and how they can help by taking two minutes to endorse your skills. Ideally, you should also customize each message with a line about a positive experience you’ve had together in the past.
And that’s it! Add your skills, poke your connections, and you’re done!
As we mentioned above, you want to focus most of your efforts on three skills. You have two options to draw attention to those top three.
- The first is to contact people who can honestly endorse your top three skills, and request those specific skill endorsements.
- If you’re less comfortable asking for specific endorsements, you can reorder your skills based on what people endorsed most that also fits your goals.
It’s worth noting that LinkedIn also tells clients how many of your endorsements are from:
- The last six months
- Previous colleagues
- Other people highly skilled in the same thing
You may want to periodically repeat this process to keep your profile fresh, and seek endorsements from previous colleagues or people who also have a lot of endorsements in the skills you’re targeting.
How LinkedIn endorsements improve your sales
Earlier we mentioned that endorsements increase credibility and visibility. So let’s talk about how, exactly, that makes it easier for you to win new clients.
You’re probably already doing some social selling on LinkedIn. Anything from posting about hot topics in your industry, to using Sales Navigator to send InMail (LinkedIn messages) to potential clients about your business, falls under the category of social selling.
InMail is one of the most popular selling strategies. It’s full of business decision makers, as well as individuals who spend extra time on the internet promoting themselves and engaging with others to make money. Both of those tend to be good potential client bases.
By using LinkedIn Sales Navigator (LinkedIn’s sales tool), you’re able to send direct messages to any of those people, even if you’re not connected. Simply filter to your target audience, and get in touch.
But what happens after someone looks at your message? They’re likely going to view your profile—so make sure it leaves a good impression.
Some quick profile wins that will help turn prospects into clients include:
- Getting LinkedIn skill endorsements
- Uploading a professional photo and banner image
- Adding a portfolio to LinkedIn
- Fully filling out your profile with past experience, your “About” section and headline.
All of these tips will improve your credibility and provide some insight into who you are and what you do. A strong profile (with endorsements) will help push a prospect down the sales funnel.
Making the sales process even easier
Luckily, getting LinkedIn endorsements is a pretty low-effort sales tactic. But it’s also a small part of your overall strategy, and many other tactics take a lot more time and effort.
So how do you make time for all of the more time-consuming steps?
Unsurprisingly, there’s AI tools for that. You can use AI for LinkedIn messaging to help optimize your outreach. LinkedIn AI helps you book more sales calls with qualified leads (the people who will actually become clients), so you can spend more time on paid client work.
Start optimizing your sales process with LinkedIn AI.