What makes a good recommendation?




Have you ever heard of “overchoice”? Even if you haven’t, I’m sure you’ve experienced it. Every time Yelp gives you 30 different sushi options and you can’t decide, you’re experiencing “overchoice.” It’s when you have so many options, it’s actually harder to make a decision (#firstworldproblems right?). So how does a service like Yelp tackle this problem? Ratings and reviews. 

Ratings and reviews do more than help you find the best sushi restaurant within 10 miles. They help people find the best shoes, skis, pet food, fishing poles, tents and more. We asked 500 people, 72% of them said they wouldn’t take buying advice from a person that’s not likely to be knowledgeable in the product field. When experts in a certain field recommend a product or service, they’re more likely to be trusted and in turn more likely to lead to a sale. So what makes these recommendations so special? Let’s break it down.

Experts recommendations are backed with plenty of knowledge.

If you’re looking to buy your first snowboard, you’re not going to ask your cousin who lives in Florida and has never seen snow. You’re more likely to listen to the sales associate at the local ski shop. Why? Because they’re experience and they’ve received training and education, whether through the school of hard knocks, or through product education programs like ExpertVoice. Even among experts, product education makes a difference. In a recent study, we found that retail associates sell 69% more than their peers if they did some training on ExpertVoice. When it comes to product recommendations, an expert’s opinion has a big impact on purchases. 


Expert recommendations come from firsthand experience.

So how do experts know what they know? If they’re a sales associate, they’ve probably had some training. If not, probably a lot of Google searches. But that’s not it. I asked some experts this question: “What makes a good product recommendation?” The overwhelming response was personal experience. Taylor Tolbert, an outdoor expert from Idaho says it best:

“I think the biggest thing for me is my own personal application to the product I’m trying to recommend! If I can’t share personal stories or have experience with it, I have a harder time trying to get others to use it.”


Expert recommendations are personalized.

Summer is here and you’re looking to really work on that beach bod. What are the right nutritional supplements that will help you reach your goal? This is when you turn to a fitness expert. With their training and personal experience, they’ll be able to recommend products based on your specific goals. Who knows, they may have had a similar goal in the past and can recommend what they used. Besides reaching goals, experts are also able to point out different products for different uses. Is a certain mountain bike better for shredding it downhill while another better for the uphill grinds? Bike pros and experts can answer that question. Expert recommendations should not be boring, basic product descriptions or a review of how long it took for you to receive your product. A good recommendation should include personal anecdotes, address pain points, be specific to the individual’s goals and uses.


Expert recommendations are honest. 

It’s always fun to sit down at a restaurant and ask your server, “What’s good here?” And have them respond, “Everything.” Let’s be honest, it’s unlikely that’s true. If something on the menu isn’t tasty, it’s safe to say that customers would like to know before they order. It would be helpful to have a friend who’s already been to the restaurant wouldn’t it? It would be even better if that friend was a foodie, or some would say, an expert. Aside from food, experts can let you know of any disadvantages in a product. Cabela’s employee and hunt and fish expert, James Chandler describes it best when asked what makes a good recommendation.

“Personal use over an extended period of time. Also objectively looking at the cons or drawbacks that the product might have.”


Customer reviews are good, but expert recommendations are better. They can help when you encounter your own “overchoice” dilemma. Experts can help you find exactly what you need. To top it off, you can trust their recommendations. At ExpertVoice, we understand and appreciate the value of our experts and their voices. If you’re an expert and want insider access to your favorite brands, discounts to take home and try products so you can offer better recommendations, signing up is easy, just click here.

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