Obtaining Letters of Endorsement
Your list of established customers whose businesses have customer bases compatible with yours, is a gold mine in terms of recommending you to their customers and related organizations. These customers are valuable in that they are an ideal group to ask to refer you to their customers and contacts. One way they can introduce you to their contacts is through a letter of endorsement, if this is something they are willing and able to do.
You can facilitate this process for your customers willing to write this letter, by offering to write it for them (or hiring a professional to do it). Before you write the letter, talk to your customer and ask some questions, to be able to make some objective decisions. Why do they do business with you? As they understand it, what is your unique selling proposition (USP)—what makes you you? Ask professional, courteous, yet probing questions that will enable you to find this information out from them. Using actual events and experiences is a plus.
For the letter of endorsement, you can propose to your customer that they make an offer to the recipient of the letter that not only makes your customer look good and is profitable to them, but makes you look good and is profitable to you, as well. You can then write the letter, and allow your customer to view it and suggest any changes. Of course, you should make these changes, within reason; after all, the letter is, essentially, from your customer, and will have their name on it. Finalize the letter, have your customer sign it, and mail it for them, ensuring that your customer’s return address is on the envelope. Handwriting the address, as well as using an unusual stamp (and not a metered stamp) will definitely be more likely to grab the attention of the recipient.
Using letters of endorsement from current customers in the attempt to gain new customers may not necessarily be a common practice in marketing, but for your strategic marketing efforts, this is a great way to reach prospective customers. It provides a personal touch to the person opening the envelope, and enables you to market yourself in a way that is not seen by other companies, whose mass printed envelopes with metered stamps are no different than the many pieces of mail received by businesses that end up being sorted into the junk email pile.