Sales Strategy

🤝 Win With 1 Question

How the customer answers this question is among the strongest predictors of winning deals.

January 12, 2024

🤝 Win With 1 Question

"Can you be a reference?"

A yes (almost) guarantees that the customer is renewing, buying more stuff, or will use our services again.

It works with prospects, too, on the new business side of selling once deals are in the later stages:

"If we finalize this partnership, and after we show you value, of course, would you consider serving as a reference? In exchange, I'm happy to share a few references for you to speak with."

Let's dive into the power of asking, "Can you be a reference?" and how it can elevate our sales game.

The Game-Changing Question: "Can You Be a Reference?"

Imagine this account (or customer success) managers: we build a habit of asking this question of every customer we manage. Add this as a "Yes" or "No" field in our CRM.

What happens all too often is we scramble to help our friends on the new business side when prospects need references right away before signing a deal, or we heavily rely on and exhaust the same customer who has given the last five glowing reviews for us.  

Asking this question of current customers is the best predictor of future business (definitely renewals and probably expansion revenue, too). With a "yes," we're sitting pretty.

If the customer says "no," it presents a nifty opportunity to dig in and understand why. It may be company policy. But it could be because of underlying concerns with our product or service.

This question uncovers those yellow and red flags. Once this customer discontent is exposed, we can work to save the account and update our future forecasts on the likelihood of renewing.

Why This Question Works With New Sales:

Instead of waiting for the prospect to bring up references (which we know they will), take the initiative and ask, "Can you be a reference?"

This question establishes confidence and trust, accelerates the prospect's decision-making, and subtly tells them, "We value our customers' time."

Sales reps should always be more than happy to share references, but make it clear to the prospect they should reciprocate with the same favor once they become a customer of ours (and we deliver value).

Proactively asking this question puts the sales rep in control as the deal crosses the finish line.

Data Points to Support:

  • A study by Nielsen found that 84% of consumers trust recommendations from friends, family, and colleagues.
  • Research by Invesp revealed that testimonials and case studies influence 70% of B2B buying decisions.
  • According to a survey by Gartner, customers are 4x more likely to buy from a company with trusted references.

"Can you be a reference?" isn't just a question – it's a strategic move that can tip the scales in our favor. Give it a shot, analyze the results, and watch our win rates soar.

Cheers to winning deals with a single question!

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