A reference account is an early user of a firm’s product who is willing to give a testimonial regarding his or her experience with the product. For example, imagine the effect of a spokesperson for Apple Inc. saying that Apple used a new computer hardware firm’s products and was pleased with their performance. A testimonial such as this would pave the way for the sales force of this new firm’s hardware, and the new firm could use it to reduce fears that it was selling an untested and perhaps ineffective product.
To obtain reference accounts, new firms must often offer their product to an initial group of customers for free or at a reduced price in exchange for their willingness to try the product and for their feedback.
“A reference account is a customer agrees to be interviewed by a prospect to confirm that you can deliver as promised.” In most of the cases, prospects or prospective clients don’t call reference accounts. In case, the prospect calls, there are also many things that may go wrong like you can’t control what s/he says, s/he can unintentionally sour the prospect, s/he may share too much, and the like.
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