For the sales team to get clients bought in to providing customer references, they'll likely need to answer the question “what’s in it for me?”. This is only fair; like yours, clients' days are jam-packed from start to finish and so the worry is that the time they invest won’t bear much of a reward.
Fortunately, a customer reference is mutually beneficial for both you and the client.
Here are the top 4 benefits of providing a customer reference:
1. Raising their profile - a good reference programme will communicate the good reputation and brand of your customer. For individuals, references can be used as a measure of their personal success.
2. Positioning them as advanced adopters of cutting-edge technologies /services. This can boost their reputation as market leaders focused on delivering the best services or products for their own customers and partners.
3. Expanding their professional network by building communities, sharing ideas and best practices, and building their media profile within the press and analyst communities.
4. Exclusivity. If participation in the reference programme is by invitation only, your customer will feel honoured to be chosen.
Many feel that asking for customer references feels like you're asking the client for a favour. This isn't the case. Providing a customer reference is mutually beneficial for you, the client and your contact within it. There's no single positioning statement that will work in every case, but you can tailor how you sell your client on providing a customer reference based on the personality of your contact.