These are one-page letters sometimes called testimonials, and they are an excellent selling tool for small businesses, especially if you’re a new company. With a short track record, you need to prove to new prospects that you know your industry and have satisfied customers. Shortly after a sale or delivery to a customer, ask for a letter of recommendation that you might show to other prospective customers. Let the customer know that it can be short—two or three sentences will suffice—because the person reading it won’t spend much time on each one. In many cases, the new prospect will just glance at the letters and assume they are praising you and your company.
When requesting letters of recommendation from customers, stress that the letters need to be on their company letterhead and signed. The act of writing a letter of recommendation actually tightens your relationship with the customer as well. Chances are if they write the letter, they may feel as if they should give you the next order as well.
Getting testimonials is an ongoing challenge because they are usually dated, and you don’t want to use them if they’re several years old—they lose some of their value. Also, your prospect may wonder what’s been going on since then and why you don’t have any current ones.
If you aren’t using letters of recommendation now, start asking for them today. You need all the ammunition you can get to make business sales, and proof of satisfied customers is a step in the right direction.