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Using third party letters in your sales cycle can be very effective.  Often, prospects who are deciding to become clients are faced with many decisions.  They wonder whether your product or service is right for their company.  Even if they feel that it is the right thing for their company, there is a certain amount of risk involved. 

Change for any human being is uncomfortable. Your job as a professional salesperson is to minimize that risk, and show prospects that you are going to help decrease the amount of pain they are experiencing and increase the amount of return on their investments from whatever they are buying from you. 

Often, prospects won’t verbalize the discomfort that they are experiencing when trying to make that decision.  It is clouded or shaded by comments like, “Well, let me talk to Mr. Jones and some other people in the office.”  What that really means is (assuming that you are talking to the decision maker), that they need to talk this through, perhaps share the risk of this decision.  The use of third party letters can often help you show the prospect that other people have, in fact, made the change, taken the risk, and have been very happy with their decision. 

Endorsement letters don’t come in automatically.  You should add this to your post-sell process with your customers.  Shortly after the sale, you should call the prospect to see how things are going, and if there is anything you can do for them.  At that point, ask for a third party endorsement letter.  You may have to prompt the customer about what to say, because the fact that you have asked for a reference letter is sometimes too broad and too vague for them to supply you with the type of endorsement that will be most useful. 

You can narrow down your request for a third party letter with some specfics that you would like to see in the letter, and that will help your client give you a very precise and professional endorsement letter. 

How do you use endorsement letters? 

1.  If you give presentations or have prospects into your office, hang the letters on the wall.   Display endorsement letters throughout the office.   This is a subtle approach which allows the prospect, at his/her leisure, to look over the letters. 

2.  If you sell outside your office, put the letters in your presentation folder and use them at the appropriate time in the sales process.

3.  Put your third party letters in a three ring notebook, each having its own individual sleeve.  Organize them by the solutions they address, so you can use them more effectively.  You can show your prospect that a customer with similar pain overcame it with your company’s help. 

Third party letters can be a handy tool to give your prospect the extra piece of mind he or she needs to confidently become your customer. 

Reprinted from The President’s Club Report, ©1994, Sandler System, Inc.   All rights reserved. 

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