Recommendations are an important tool for gaining the trust of potential customers! I still remember the colorful expression of a client who said: “I don’t want to serve the needs of your first shaving attempt!” Let me explain for the ladies that teenagers’ first shaving attempts are usually disastrous – a lot of bleeding cuts and unevenly shaved areas. The recommendation provides a guarantee to whom it may concern that you’ve learned how to excellently shave yourself 🙂
In more than 90% of the cases when I asked for a recommendation I received the answer: “Write something down and we will sign it”. It’s just typical. People prefer not to bother with such things and a lot of the experts who are great in their areas of competence are usually not very good at writing.
I offer you a simple but tested structure of a recommendation which you could use in any case:
The best choice is to write RECOMMENDATION so that it becomes immediately clear what the document is about.
2. To the attention of whom
If there is no explicit requirement to have this part, you could ignore it. Some tender procedures, however, require recommendations which are especially prepared for this purpose.
3. Since when you’ve been working with the company you recommend
The exact period of time during which you worked together.
4. What has this company done for you
Description of the matter of your business relations – it might be a particular project or your mutual work in general.
5. How was the job performed
In time, professionally, with devotion, taking into account all the specifics of your business model, not disturbing the working process of your company, regularly communicating about the work’s progress or any problems etc.
6. What was the effect of your mutual work on you
Profits earned, economies made, satisfied customers, optimized processes, happy employees…
7. Statement of the recommendation itself
“… This allows me to recommend XXX as a reliable, professionally working supplier of XXX which XXX …”
8. Who is recommending
There is no absolute answer to the question whether the recommendation should be dated or not. If it is about a very specific project which is unlikely to be soon repeated but you want to use its recommendation for a long time, then omit the date (otherwise, after some time the document will be old-dated). If you regularly get recommendations, then include the date, because in this way the document gains credibility.
I would suggest that you write the recommendation on a branded sheet of paper and keep it no longer than one A4 sheet.
And finally, if you write the recommendation for the praise of your own company by yourself and give it to your partners just for a sign, don’t use copy/paste to make your life easier! If you still decide to use the easier way, you should expect some troubles when enclosing several recommendations together since they would have the same content but would be written by different people in separate organizations