In References, Risk, Value

Client Referrence, Donald Kelly, The Sales EvangelistIt can be frustrating for prospects to ask to speak to your current customers, and it can leave you wondering, “Should I Give Client References?

It can be tricky to balance this need, because you don’t want your current customers, the ones you’ve developed into raving fans, to be constantly bombarded by prospects.

Root cause

Throughout the process, your prospects are trying to determine whether you’re a good fit and whether you can truly help solve their problem. I recommend that you develop a wide base of people that can give you good support.

But let’s address the root cause of how your prospects got to this point. In my experience, it’s because they don’t have confidence in you as an organization, so they are seeking third-party validation. They don’t want to make a bad decision.

Put yourself in your buyer’s shoes. His job or his reputation may be on the line. His company may not have a lot of money, so they can’t waste it on buying the wrong product or service.

Diffuse risk

This issue usually traces back to a fear of risk, so you must diffuse this fear.

It’s not bad to give customer references, but client testimonials might work better. You can collect them in video form or as case studies.

In last week’s episode, we discussed the importance of leave-behinds, and testimonials might be a great option for you, especially if you’re in a high-risk industry. Leave behind video testimonials of your current customers addressing some of the common questions or the challenging objections you routinely hear.

You can leave them information about your past customers’ pain and how you’ve addressed it. You can also indicate that you’ll discuss these topics more on your next interaction.

Your prospects simply don’t want to be guinea pigs.

Value

You know your product or service is fantastic, but your prospects don’t know that yet. Give value in order to help them understand.

Use videos, case studies, and client testimonials on your website to communicate value. You can also create YouTube videos to help your client when he does the research you know he’s planning to do. They’ll establish a level of comfort with your product or service.

If I’m your customer, I’ve got my own business to run. I’m too busy to answer all your customers’ questions and to do all your selling for you. Referral phone calls interrupt my day.

Compromise

Perhaps the best option, then, is to offer to provide testimonials and case studies first to see if they can address the most frequent questions. Then, if the customer still has a level of uncertainty, you can consider providing referrals.

You can even explain that you’re trying to be considerate of your current customers just as you would do for this prospect someday when they’ve become your customer, too.

Make sure you minimize the prospects’ risk. Give them an opportunity to alleviate. Use leave-behind to help you accomplish that. Tell stories of clients that had similar challenges.

 “Should I Give Client References?” episode resources

You can connect with Ebony at her website, www.ebenumequationcoaching.com, or on LinkedIn @EbonySmithCoach.

You can connect with Abdullah at tharooa@paykoncept.com.

Connect with me at donald@thesalesevangelist.com.

Try the first module of the TSE Certified Sales Training Program for free.

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