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The Importance of Letters of Introduction

By: Beth Morrisey MLIS - Updated: 5 Nov 2010 | comments*Discuss
Letters Formal Introducing Business

Letters of introduction are an easy way for a freelancer to get in touch with potential clients, describe his or her business and how it could help that client.

Letters of introduction, as the name implies, are first and foremost methods of introducing a freelancer and his or her services. These are formal letters, so the tone should be polite and professional, but they should not be sales pitches. Following up on these letters is a good idea, and some increase in business should occur from this targeted method of marketing.

Letters Of Introduction: Content

Letters of introduction must describe a freelance worker, and this description must be targeted towards a specific market. For example, a freelance photographer who works with a variety of subjects will still want to highlight their sports photographs if they are writing to a sports magazine.

In addition to describing their work, letters of introduction should also contain contact information for freelancers so that the potential client can get in touch as desired, and they should contain what exactly the freelancer desires. If a freelancer is looking for work, this should be stated. If a freelancer is looking for a meeting, this should be stated. If a freelancer is wondering if the client is open to working with new people, this should be stated.

Obviously letters of introduction can work from a general template, but they should be customised and targeted for each potential client to make them specifically relevant to that client.

Letters Of Introduction: Tone

Letters of introduction are business letters and should have a formal tone. Many freelancers advocate that these letters should be brief, to the point, and formatted as a business letter rather than as a informal note or chatty email. Some freelancers may decide to use less formal tones in their letters of introduction, but they should recognise that potential clients may wonder why they are acting as if a relationship has been established before it has. Any materials sent to accompany a letter of introduction should match and uphold the tone of the letter as well.

Letters Of Introduction: Following Up

Letters of introduction usually require some follow up on the part of the freelancer. While some freelancers may get lucky and have a potential client contact them after just one letter, more likely freelancers will need to send a follow up email or make a follow up phone call a few weeks after the initial letters were sent. A second round of follow ups may even need to be undertaken before a freelancer gets a response to their efforts.

As a general rule of thumb, freelancers should feel free to stay in polite, professional contact with a potential client until they receive a reply. However, freelancers who are unsuccessful after multiple attempts may want to move on and return to that potential client at a later date.

Freelancers are often interested in introducing themselves to potential clients without having to pitch anything at that time. Letters of introduction are a perfect vehicle for freelancers to get in touch with potential clients but not need to try to sell anything in that instance.

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