By definition, a letter that introduces your new business should talk about you. However, an effective introduction makes your prospect, rather than your business, the centre of attention. Research your potential customer well before you write. Discover his business style, philosophy and "hot buttons," especially as they relate to your line of work. Learn the challenges, trends and buzz words of his business and find out if you have any friends, colleagues, interests or activities that overlap. Ultimately, you will want to draw upon this research to personalise a memorable letter of introduction and convincingly demonstrate how your new business could benefit your prospect.
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Precede your salutation with a subject line to catch your prospect's attention. For example, "Subject: New Architect on the Block Has a Combined 90 Years of Experience." In business letters, subject lines are optional but provide a heads-up that many busy executives appreciate.
Begin with a formal "Dear Mr. Kelley:" followed by a friendly, personable remark based on your research. For example, "It's amazing that our paths have never crossed. Our mutual friend, Kathy Gilley, assumed we knew each other well considering our shared interest and support of our local museum. She suggested that I write you to introduce myself and our new firm, XYZ Design."
Present an overview of your new business and clearly relate it to your prospect's mission. For example, "After 15 years in the business, I formed XYZ last year specifically for builders like you. Word has it that you exact the best from your creative teams. Our licensed architects are prepared to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with you through the heat of battle to deliver the first-rate environments that have distinguished you over the years to your own demanding clients."
Overcome any perception that your new business is untested or unproven by highlighting your experience and special training. For example, "XYZ is new but well-seasoned. We have a combined 90 years of experience among us, including more than 120 comparable homes around the country, 18 awards for design excellence, and 12 published articles in national magazines."
List other company features, once again relating every selling point to your prospect's business. For example, "Our top-of-the-line technology will enable you to clearly communicate concepts to your clients for approval," or "Our sustainable design expertise will enhance the marketability of your new homes."
Suggest a way to meet face-to-face to continue the discussion and provide your contact information. For example, "Mr. Kelley, I would appreciate the chance to meet with you over lunch and perhaps give you a sneak peek of our latest project before its ribbon-cutting next month. I will call you on Monday to see if you can find time in your busy schedule to do this. If you need to reach me sooner, call me at (phone number) or e-mail me at (e-mail address)."
Close with "Sincerely yours," and then sign your name over your printed name and title. You may add a postscript or "PS" at the bottom of your letter to reference any attachments or enclosures, such as a brochure.
Tips and warnings
- Contact mutual acquaintances for additional insight on your prospect and permission to use their names in your letter, if appropriate. If a mutual acquaintance is a client, then mention it in your letter. For example, "I am currently working with Kathy on the addition of a sunroom to her home."
- Use a block or semi-block format on your business letter. Correct spelling and grammar errors prior to printing and sending your letter.
- Use regular mail for most introductions, unless urgency dictates using an overnight delivery service.
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