As you grow your business on the internet, you’ll find that as you gain more and more fans, you’ll also gain more and more detractors.  Even the best restaurants in the world, for example, will find negative yelp reviews, often from their competitors, often from angry customers and often just from people who just don’t get it. Similarly, any business that does anything online will find often vocal critics. As you get more and more popular, you’ll find this to be the case. General Colin Powell said, “Trying to get everyone to like you is a sign of mediocrity.”  However, because of the internet, those “negative” comments are easier to find and often can affect your business. One way to deal with the criticism is to get a good list of business reference letters that you can show potential clients about yourself.

I’ve been in the interactive marketing and advertising business for almost 15 years. During this time I’ve founded three publications, a major interactive display network, a major performance marketing and email company and have written for almost every major publication in the industry. It’s made me quite well known, provided me a constant stream of income and a even more consistent stream of detractors.  Occasionally a client comes to me and goes, “I just read on someone’s blog that you are really a spy for the Israeli Mossad, what’s up with that?” (True Story)  Most of the times they also notice while there is 5% negative comments about my work, there is thousands of websites and interviews about my ethical internet marketing goals, my organizations. For the client who wants more, I send them to my Pace Lattin reference letters section on Scribd.

This is a small collection of some of the best reference and referral letters that I’ve received in the past two years, including a letter from a Three-time Nobel Peace Prize Nominee. While I have many more thank you and reference letters from people, I felt that these were the best ones that I’ve ever received. I actually ask everyone that I do business with to give me a letter about the work I’ve done, something that I learn years ago from a FDNY Chaplain that I worked with after 9/11. He said that even in his work, that he found that there were always people who put down what he was doing – which at the time was helping firefighters recover from their biggest loss.  He asked everyone he knew to send him a letter about his work and kept it in a huge folder to show anyone who wanted to know what he did.  Now we have Scribd and other document functions which work much better.

The key in presenting reference letters is simple. Keep all that you get, but only highlight the best ones. When I ask for reference letters, one key thing I always tell people to do, is speak from the heart about what they know about me. It creates more personal letters that let those who read it, know who I am. Since I am a very vocal writer, often people only see that side of me.  According to my friend Tim Ferris, 10% of the people out there will always take things personally. The internet has created the ability for those crazy 10% (who voted also for Ross Perot) to speak out on whatever they want, from their belief that Aliens were involved in 9/11 to that Pace Lattin is really a Zionist Spy.  Letters of recommendation should be from those who met you, know you and appreciate the work that you are doing. It’s the easiest way to address these nutcases without actually addressing them.

Lastly, remember to thank those that give you letters of recommendation. They are putting their reputation, their business name along with yours. They have allied themselves with you publicly and said, “This guy is good, I want you to do business with them.” This means that you need to put those people at the top of the line when it comes to doing favors and remember to take care of them. They’ve done something nice for you, you need to show them that it was warranted. Because it’s human nature, they will always remember that they did this for you, and will actually draw them closer to your cause and business. Similarly, they will expect that in the future you will be the person they spoke kindly about.