My guess is you visit the dentist once a year or so, right? I hope!
OK, the eye-doctor?
Your family doctor?
I bet you’ve got a plumber you like.
What I’m getting at is…
There’s no doubt you deal with service providers of all kinds.
And the thing with service providers is there has be an element of trust.
It’s understandable you’d want one that has good reviews.
Has a decent and up to date website.
Has testimonials from other clients out in the open where you can read them.
It’s understandable that you’d expect some empathy from this person.
They should be willing to spend a little time with you, even if it just on the phone with no obligation to determine the next step.
But here’s what you CAN NOT and SHOULD NOT expect…
You should not expect them to “connect you” with “a few” of their current clients/customers or patients.
You can not expect them to willy-nilly give out contact information of “just a few” clients/customers/patients.
Every once in a while a “Scary Prospect” (who you might not even want to do business with anyway) will make this redonkulous request.
You point them to testimonials. You encourage them to “Google” your name and business. BUT STILL – they will INSIST that you “put them in touch.”
Don’t do it! Say NO!
- You end up playing their game – their way. You’ll always lose. You most-likely won’t “win the business” anyway. And even if you do – you might regret it!
- Legal. I’m no legal eagle – but I do know giving out contact info is a violation of some law depending on your profession. But even if it’s not breaking the law – it still can undermine the professional relationship you have with your client.
- It disrespects your client. Meaning. Could you imagine going about your life and a few times a month or even just on occasion you get an out of the blue phone call from someone asking you about “your business relationship and satisfaction with your (insert type of provider)?” Craziness!
Funny thing is these goof-balls will dress up their “request” as nicely asking for “references.”
With all the information out there online these days – you can do some damn good “due diligence” without expecting to be connected with busy people directly!
I say anyone who really thinks a service provider should willingly give out contact information of current clients is nuts.
Here’s my take on this. (Because I buy a lot of stuff too!)
As a client/customer/patient I would not want to be bothered.
I’ll gladly give you a LinkedIn endorsement.
I’ll gladly give you a testimonial to use on your website.
But – I will not gladly field phone calls or emails during my busy day to answer questions about you.
I certainly WOULD NOT appreciate you giving out my contact info.
If someone does their research and finds out that I have done business with you and they contact me as part of their research – I can understand that. But if they directly ask you for my contact info and you give it to them – I’m gonna be pissed!
As for the “prospective clients” who really feel they are entitled to be put in contact with references…
Think of how many people you do business with right now. Do you want their prospects calling you?
Let’s then assume you’ve got half of a brain and have collected testimonials and endorsements over the last few years that prove you’re the real deal. But still – people who come to you demand you give them these “references?” You might just end up thinking they’re nuts. (which – right now is how most of the world thinks of you).
So to recap…
Your standard reply when someone makes this redonkulous request should be…
“Feel free to browse our website for videos, testimonials and more information. Check out my LinkedIn profile for endorsements. And please feel free to ‘Google’ me. But, sorry – I can not violate the trust I have with my clients by giving YOU their contact info! If this does not work for you we are not a good fit for each other and you should look somewhere else.”