If your strength is customer references then USE THEM!

I had a conversation today with a Sage partner whose clear strength is their superior customer service and in depth product knowledge. The trouble is that everyone says the provide (take your pick of modifier):

  • great
  • superior
  • outstanding
  • remarkable
  • excellent
  • extraordinary
  • amazing
  • incredible
  • astonishing
  • wonderful
  • stupendous
  • dazzling

customer service. Certainly no one says they provide absolutely abysmal service. The trouble telling a prospect is about as differentiating as being the clone of a fruit fly even if it is true.

What to do?

Well, if you really think it is true, you need to use it differently. For example, do not wait to be asked for references, instead, insist on using them. Tell a new prospect that one of the first things they need to do is talk to at least one of your raving fan customers for ten minutes. I mean it insist on it! Early on!

Why not create a customer reference program (not just a referral program). In exchange for agreeing to be a reference you will take them out to dinner twice a year where they can pepper you with any questions about technology they wish. By the way, you might get some business out of this as well.

3 thoughts on “If your strength is customer references then USE THEM!

  1. Hi Ed,

    I agree. Superlatives are freely bandied about in Marketing. How many businesses of any description truly offer exceptional service? Why should any potential customer believe what you say? I value a reference far more from someone I know or trust then any brochure. Next best is a customer reference I can verify.

  2. Ed,

    We were in a competitve deal this month against Dynamics GP. I identified a client that has similiar business requirements to the prospect and contacted their CFO to make a unsolicited call to the prospect. She was very happy to discuss her relationship with our company, to discuss the software, and eager to meet another end user in her industry using the same solution.

    After the call she, sent me a message stating that the call went very well and the prospect kept on her on the line for over 45 minutes asking questions.

    We won the deal this week and during the meeting to finalize the implementation project, I asked our new client why she selected us. She stated that the call from our client was a significant contributing factor in her choosing our solution and for deciding that we were the right Business Partner to successfully implement.

    Thanks for helping us to use one of our Net Promoters to be an advocate early in the deal – I certainly think it made a difference and we plan to use this proces with all new opportunities.

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