In sales or in marketing, it is always better to have someone else do the talking for you in your efforts to position and promote your product or company. Having people similar to your prospective customer you are working with who talk about your product/company is very powerful. Not only will it help your efforts but it is also very helpful for your prospect. Having your prospect get a good feel is a given but alerting your prospect to ask the reference about the process they went through while doing their due diligence is very helpful for the prospect as well. This is sales 101 but is it really that simple?
The customer reference should be a staple in your sales process. Even if a prospect does not ask for a reference you should offer one up every time. Here at Data Age, we tell prospects we would not feel comfortable without them speaking to someone who has gone through the purchasing process because we feel that strongly about them making a sound decision regarding to their investment in us. Customer references have been part of the sales arena since people start to sell.
Timing of the customer reference is another story and one, which does need to have strategy around it. Dishing out a customer reference early in the sales process really can be damaging to both parties. For the prospect, a customer reference call made too early will not afford them a well-rounded conversation. The prospect should have all the information they need at hand so when the call takes place they can ask the tough business questions based on the information they’ve have gathered. This can really put a damper on the prospect the gaining full value from the reference, in turn it may not bring the full value the sales executive intended. References have been and will always be of great value in the sales executives tool box. Nurture them, feed them and use them wisely.