The War Room

Customer References

For me, one of the most challenging parts of the sales process is when my prospects inevitably ask to speak with a reference customer. I sell to banks, and I've found that banks love to know what their peers are doing before making any decisions on new tech. Generally, they do not like to be first.

If I'm asked in the very early stages, I typically say something along the lines of how I'd be happy to connect them with a current customer when we've done our own due diligence first to determine their specific use case. "I want to be sure I'm answering all of your questions to the best of my ability first, and then if there's still some unknown you'd like to discuss with a customer I can make the connection." Something like that. I also include something about how I value my customers' time and I like to protect it the same way I will for you if we're able to earn your business.

Another challenge is when they ask for multiple references, or for a call on a very unique or specific topic that might be harder to align with the right person or customer. For any young startup, I imagine this is a common challenge. It's not like we have thousands and thousands of customers with the exact same use case as what the prospect has scoped.

What are some of your best practices? This is something I'm trying to get a lot better at.

Also, what's the best way to get a current customer to serve as a reference? There's can also be some reluctance on their end at times, as they'd be giving away strategy to the competition in certain cases.

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