Occasionally you might find a need to ask permission to quote someone, particularly if you work in marketing, public relations or corporate communications. You might even need to quote a high-level manager or CEO. The scenario is very common in public relations, such as when you are announcing a product that has been reviewed by a noted expert or analyst and you wish to quote that expert in a press release.
How to Write a Letter Seeking Approval for a Quote
Research the correct person to approach. If you are looking for an analyst from a firm, you must determine who has expertise in your industry and covers it on a regular basis. If you are trying to promote a product or service, this person will ideally already have tried the product or is otherwise familiar with it. If not, make arrangements for a briefing or product trial before you make the quote request.
Review the firm’s – or individual’s – quote approval procedures. An analyst firm is accustomed to such requests and will likely have the proper procedures posted on their website. It is important that you follow these procedures if you want your request to get attention. If they want you to draft the desired quote, then do so. If they only want parameters for a quote, such as what it will be used for, then send only those parameters. Also, the request may need to go through a marketing or communications office rather than the individual directly, so make sure you send the request through the proper channels as indicated.
Put your request in writing. Even if you have already spoken to the person on the telephone and secured a verbal approval, confirm it in writing. Make sure you keep a copy for your records, so if you send the request via email, keep both an electronic and printed copy.
Send the firm or individual who is quoted a copy of the finished product before it goes public, and state – again – exactly what the intended use is, how the information is being sent, and who will see it. If it is in a press release, send them a final copy with the words “Confidential. Not for Release” written in bold across the top. Highlight the quote, and state exactly how it is being distributed – for example, over a newswire or emailed to business editors or local newspapers.
Send a handwritten thank-you note to the individual quoted and to anyone else who assisted you in procuring the quote.You can send a note via email in addition to a handwritten note, but not in lieu of one. Odds are you will make a similar request in the future, so you want everyone’s experience with you to have a positive, lasting effect.
Familiarize yourself with the person from whom you are requesting a quote. Read other quotes from him and try to stay in line with those quotes. If you can see from previous quotes that he never says, “I love this product!” then do not ask him to give you that type of quote.
Do not be tempted, under any circumstances, to use the same quote in your next communication piece, unless it was clearly outlined – and you have in writing – that the quote can be used in multiple materials over a certain time period. You will risk damaging your credibility and ruining the reputation of your company.