Icon Key
Bookmark and Share


Business Development

Get Client Reference Letter

Print View |  Bookmark & Share  |  Comment |   |  Back to List |  << Previous Next >>
I like to have reference and testimonial letters addressed to me rather than to "Whom it may concern." Any time you need a written reference from a customer, it helps to give them an outline of what you want, as I did here.
In this case, I was seeking a reference about a workshop I taught. I included quotes from the workshop evaluations to give it authenticity. Ralph and I are still business friends 20 years later, even though he moved 1,000 miles away. Below you'll see my cover letter, followed by a fill-in-the-blanks sample.

July 8, 20—  

Mr. Ralph M. Black
Vice President, Human Resources
1700 Broadway, Suite 2000
Denver, CO 80202

Dear Ralph:

Here is a draft of the reference letter we discussed. It is only a draft. Please feel free to change it any way you like. The more it really represents the way you feel, the better.

I'm sending along a letter from John Blue at Texas-Louisiana Offshore Oil [This letter is not shown here.]  John wrote this himself. I didn't draft it for him, and it sounds pretty true to life.

You write whatever you feel comfortable with.

I really appreciate your help with this. I think it will do me a lot of good in my future marketing efforts.

I'm looking forward to seeing you at lunch next week. Let's hope the whole group shows up.

Sincerely yours,

William S. Frank
WSF:kam [my initials: initials of word processor]

Draft of Reference Letter / Ralph Black

Dear Bill:

Just a quick note about your recent Pre Retirement Workshop for us. These were trusted employees with long tenure, and we wanted to make sure they had good help (or, wanted to treat them right).

We chose you because _______________________________

As you know, the first day of the workshop was difficult, because we had misread the needs of the group. But you adjusted quickly, and pulled it off. As a matter of fact, the final evaluations were quite positive:

  • "The seminar has given me a little hope that the light is still burning at the end of the rainbow."  
  • "We appreciate the effort that Bill put forth to get our minds off ourselves and to realize that there is a good life yet to be led."  
  • "Softened the shock of early retirement."  
  • "Appreciate the many reference sheets for future study and use."  
You did a good job for us (or, you and I worked well together) and I look forward to a long lasting relationship (or, to working together again). 

Sincerely yours,  

Ralph M. Black

Print View |  Bookmark & Share  |  Comment |   |  Back to List |  << Previous Next >>


Add a Comment
Your rating:
Your URL:
Your e-mail:
Enter security code:
 Security code
(please enter the
numbers on the image)

William S. Frank, M.A.,
25 Reasons I love consulting.
by William S. Frank
  1. Brand. You are your own brand, and you can define it any way you want. For many years, I provided outplacement to the ex-employees of Schlumberger, the world's largest oilfield service corporation. When departing employees left the company, they didn't request outplacement in their severance package. They said, "I want Bill Frank."
  2. Demand. The world will always be full of terrible problems that need solving.
  3. White Hat. I can be a helper and get paid for it.
  4. Pay. I can be paid to do things I'd gladly do for nothing.
  5. Variety. Every day is different.
  6. Happiness. At this stage of my career, I only work for people I respect and care about. If a client micromanages me or is otherwise no fun, I complete the assignment and replace them.
  7. Talent. I'm using 110% of my talents and stretching myself to the max.
  8. Change. I can change my focus any day I want. If you're a McDonald's franchisee, you don't say, "Hey, I've got this great idea for a meatball sandwich—let's try it out today." In consulting you can adjust your focus hour-by-hour, as long as your clients still understand and appreciate what you do.
  9. Income. No one else would pay me as much as I pay myself.
  10. FUN. I can't think of anything I'd rather be doing.
  11. Retirement. I can write and consult as long as I am physically and mentally capable. Peter Drucker worked into his 90s, and when asked which book was his best, he said: "My next one."
  12. Job Security. Although clients come and go, no one can come into my office and say, "Pack up your stuff . . . You don't work here anymore." In 29 years, I've only had one employer: ME.
  13. Travel. I don't have to travel unless I decide to. I travel if it's both FUN and profitable—or at least FUN.
  14. Commute. I live five minutes from my office, a corner office in an upscale six-story tower. In winter, I leave a heated garage at home and drive to an underground heated garage at work. There's seldom time to hear even one song on the radio.
  15. Vacation. Consulting is more fun than vacation (except on Wailea Beach in Maui).
  16. Friends. I have developed hundreds of close acquaintances and several lifetime friends.
  17. Time. I can work as much or as little as I like: four-hour days or 18-hour days. (Of course, my income will reflect that.)
  18. Employees. I can work with employees, subcontractors, partners, or alone—I've done it all.
  19. Passive Income. I've developed several products that provide "mailbox money." I earn while I'm sleeping.
  20. Ethics. I've never had to violate my values or personal code of ethics. I've never had to lie, purposely deceive or harm others, or promise things I can't deliver. I go to bed with a clear conscience. That doesn't mean there's never any conflict. But the conflict is conducted according to generally accepted business practices.
  21. Virtual. My career is fairly portable. With the Internet, e-mail, cell phone, and FedEx, I can work nationally, even internationally from my office—or anywhere in the world.
  22. Purpose. I make a difference in peoples' lives every day. I see it in their faces, hear it in their voices, and read it in their thank-yous.
  23. Experience. Every painful or joyful life experience makes me a better consultant. So does every person I meet or book I read. Grey hair can be good in consulting.
  24. Structure. I have to work very hard, and the clients expect superb results—but I get to structure my days, weeks, months, and years.
  25. Boss. Most of the time, I love my boss.
As I was posting these letters online, I realized I want to communicate my love for consulting. It's just a great business. The single letters, taken together, may create a picture of enjoyment, but in a burst of creativity I listed some of the reasons consulting is such a good fit for me—and perhaps for you, too. They are not prioritized; this is just how they came out.