Selling Your Services
Your company logo might go here.
Dear First Name of Customer,
Thank you for your kind words about the level of service (name of your company) provides to (name of their company). I very much appreciate you letting us use your quotes on our website and printed material. As agreed, it's also okay if we occasionally provide your info for someone to contact you by telephone, as well.
Our commitment is to do a great job for you, each and every time. If there's ever a time you feel that has not occurred, please contact me directly at (phone and email address). Thanks again!
You might consider writing your thank you note for this purpose and others using the WorldSweeper.com postcard section. Your clients will find it distinctive and unusual to have your thank you not accompanied by the picture of an old time sweeper.
Now, let's move on to getting the references you want and need. First, consider what you'd like your reference customers to say (based on what they might say on their own anyway) because most of the time when you ask them they'll say "Just write something up and send it to me, I'm sure it'll be okay." So, be ready to suggest what you'd like them to say.
Choose from among your possible reference clients the different topics you want covered. For example, you probably want to cover:
You will want a copy of the logo of each reference company. Although you can probably get on from their company website, these are typically low resolution images unsuitable for use in print. Ideally you will get each reference client to put their reference information onto their letterhead, which may then be scanned by you for use. Alternatively, ask them if they can send you a high-resolution electronic logo file via email.
Easiest of all is if they send you a Word or PDF document with their final reference info. Then, you can 'grab' their logo and quotes for use in making up your handouts and website info. And, you can just print out copies of the file for use as a handout.
Otherwise, scan each reference letter (or get it scanned here or elsewhere; don't fold the paper because the creases will show up on the scan!) and then print out the scanned image as needed on your own color printer. These may then be handed out as needed. You will also want to make up a one-page handout that has each reference company's name, logo and selected reference quote on it, along with your own logo/name/contact info.
On your website, have a page that corresponds to your one-page handout, with names/logos/quotes. I recommend that you do not link that page in your website. When you do, it is much easier for your competitors to get an 'easy shot' at those good customers. Rather, you memorize the location (www.yourwebsite.com/references/) so you can provide the link to anyone who asks.
For the same reason, you do not want to put any references onto your brochures. If you lose one of your references to a competitor, you don't want to be stuck with 500 full color brochures you can no longer use.
That is an overview on how to get references, something every business should be doing. Make requesting references a part of your contact routine with your current customers. Even your worst case scenario is a good one: You may find your current customer is unhappy with your level of service, which will give you time to correct the problem before you lose them to a competitor!
In the long term, you will find that having a strong reference list is a great help in turning prospects into customers.
Ranger Kidwell-Ross is a graduate economist, business consultant, award-winning author and editor of WorldSweeper.com.
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