4 Ways To Handle - "I'd Like To Speak To Someone You Work With"

“All sounds good. Before I get started, I would like to speak with someone you work with.”

If you were anything like me earlier in my sales career, I would pounce on this. I had my few good old reliable clients that were always happy to speak to potential new customers.

I’d connect them with a reference.
I’d put them in the pipeline for this month/next month.
Follow up again at the agreed time.

Except, only half of them ever spoke with the reference.
And of those who did speak to a reference, none would actually come through. When I say none, it’d be less than 5%.
It would get dragged out for weeks/months with another excuse, and another excuse.
The pipeline would look good, but the results from referrals didn't.

I didn’t notice this amongst all the other sales until I got better at tracking my data.


A prospect doesn’t really want to speak to a client as a last step.
There’s something you missed.
And, unless it’s a rare exception, you’re about to waste both yours and your client’s time by making the connection.

If you learn how to handle this properly, you'll get to the truth and have an honest conversation about that.
If it is that they want to say no, but are too afraid to, you just saved yourself and the client a couple of hours.

I’ll preface this by saying that the best outcome is to not have the objection come up. These options are great for figuring out what you’re missing, then reworking your script.

Option 1

P: I’d like to speak to someone you’ve worked with before I get started.

S: Ok Name, do you mind if I ask you a question?

P: Sure.

S: Are you sure? You’re probably not going to like it?

P: It’s ok, ask.

S: I’ve been on a lot of these calls, and I can tell you without fail, when someone asks to speak to an existing client, they never end up coming on board, regardless of how highly the client speaks of us. There’s usually something else that we haven’t spoken about or covered that’s a red flag from their end. And that’s ok, if it’s a no, it’s a no. We’ll part the call as friends now. But the question I have is:

A: What would speaking to a client give you that you don’t already have?

B: What have we missed here?

The truth comes out.

Option 2 

P: I’d like to speak to someone you’ve worked with before I get started.

S: Yeah, we used to do that, but our CEO NAME stopped it. We would go to the effort to connect people, half would never show up and to be honest, the ones that did show up would never buy. We had some people trying to keep our clients on the phone for over 30 minutes. We were just wasting everyone’s time.

As I’m sure you can understand, the type of people we work with don’t want 30 minute calls from people asking a bunch of questions.

That’s why we went heavy on testimonials and references before we hop on this call.
You mentioned you’d already watched those?

P: Yeah, I did.

S: What’re you hoping the existing client would say that all the testimonials you’ve already seen hadn't covered?

P: Ahh well (insert real objection here)

Option 3

P: I’d like to speak to someone you’ve worked with before I get started.

S: And what are you hoping they would say?

P: Ahh well you know it’d just be good to ask them questions about what it’s like to work with you?

S: If we focus in a little more on that, do you mean the people, the results, the client base, or something else?

Option 4

Create an ABC reversal by following this newsletter. https://www.jameslawrence.co/blog/the-abc-of-reversals?cid=9ea4a33c-ebea-466c-b9e0-1b28142930b0

Action Steps

Practise each of these 5 times. Say it out loud.

One will feel a lot better than the others, whether that be your style, your client base or your team dynamic.

Role play with someone else. Under pressure in that moment, if you haven’t role played, you will mess it up.


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