Digital Sales & Marketing
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Free digital sales and marketing courses

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Digital Sales & Marketing World 2021

The premier, hybrid event for growth-focused business leaders, digital marketers, and sales pros. Virtual passes are free for IMPACT+ Pro members. In-person passes on sale soon.

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Digital sales and marketing services

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They Ask, You Answer
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Free They Ask, You Answer course

Learn the principles of the They Ask, You Answer by taking our most popular course, taught by Marcus Sheridan himself.

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Turn your company into a high-performing digital organization with our flagship coaching program, Digital Sales and Marketing Mastery.

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Case studies

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They Ask, You Answer, the book

“One of the 11 Marketing Books every CMO should read.” — Forbes

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Virtual Selling
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Virtual Selling Mastery

Equip your sales team with proven methods to connect with today’s buyer, shorten the sales cycle, and close more deals, faster.

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Virtual Selling Summit 2021

Your one-day virtual selling crash course! Today, sales reps are struggling to sell remotely. Learn how to close more deals in a virtual world.

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Video
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Free video sales and marketing strategy course

Zach Basner teaches you the fundamentals of making video for sales and marketing work inside your organization.

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Video Sales and Marketing World 2021

Video Sales & Marketing World 2021 is in the works. In the meantime, enjoy the 2020 event on-demand - free for IMPACT+ Pro Members.

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The Visual Sale, the book

Learn how to use video to ignite sales, accelerate marketing, and grow your business in a virtual world in this book from Marcus Sheridan and Vidyard’s Tyler Lessard.

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Master video inside your organization

Video is a critical component of any high-performing digital sales and marketing program, and is a key part of Digital Sales and Marketing Mastery.

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Website Optimization Summit

Learn how you may be unwittingly undermining the money-making potential of your website and how to fix it! Watch the opening keynote for free on-demand inside IMPACT+.

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Why Past Client References May Be A Bad Idea: Sales Objections Part 4 [+Video]

Why Past Client References May Be A Bad Idea: Sales Objections Part 4 [+Video] Blog Feature

October 9th, 2018 min read

This is the fourth installment in my series on Agency Sales Objection Handling.

Did you miss something?

Part 1 of the series was how to handle a prospect who says “send me more information”.

Part 2 of the series covered the elusive “let me think about it” response.

Part 3 of the series helped turn a prospect’s prior negative experience into a positive one.

Ever get to the end of a new business proposal only to have the prospect ask you for references? What have you done in that instance? Does it hurt or help you to use past clients as references for new ones?

In this article, I’ll explain why it's a bad idea to use past clients as references and go over the best strategy to turn a prospect into a client without them.


The request for references is either a serious sales objection or the simply the presence of doubt in the prospect’s mind.  

If someone is asking for references it means there's still something they're uncertain about when it comes to working with you... And bottom line, that means there's a hole in your sales process.

Yes, some people just like to double check that they’re making the right choice with references, but if they’re doing this, it’s also possible that somewhere in your sales process, you failed to earn their trust fully or to prove your value.  

Frankly, giving references hurts your agency business, and here's why:

  1. You disrespect your clients’ time. When a prospect calls your clients it takes up their valuable time. They are spending time helping “sell you” when they should be using their time working in their business. Letting your prospects call your clients is a lack of respect for their time. Eventually, your clients could come to resent you for sending prospects their way.
  2. You may put your strategies at risk. A lot of prospects will move from asking questions about results, to ask questions specific to your agency’s strategy and processes. These topics are intellectual property, and (not knowing any better) your amazing clients might start giving away your secret sauce for free. Yikes!

So, when people ask for references, try to avoid it.

What you can do instead of giving references:

When a prospect asks for references, counteract by asking what questions they have and if there’s anything, in particular, they're still unsure about. You want to see what else you can clear up for them, instead of letting a reference or testimonial talk them into (or even out of) working with you.

First, find out what’s missing and why they want to speak to a reference. Answer all the concerns and objections you can.

Next, tell them exactly why references may not be what they need.

Finally, tell your prospects you want to share a case story or two instead of a reference. These can often accomplish the same trust-building that references can without monopolizing a client’s time or putting your IP at risk.

Overall, try to answer all the rest of the questions and handle any objections they might still have. If, after more discussion, they still want references, make sure to have some you trust and have discussed being contacted with previously.

Be sure you check out next month’s edition to this series. And, if you have a sales objection you’d like me to cover send it to me at https://jasonswenk.com/AskSwenk/

Become the #1 sales professional in your industry

Join us LIVE on Tuesday, May 4th for The Virtual Selling Summit and learn how to stand out as a salesperson in today’s virtual world alongside 1,200 other sales professionals. Learn how to create emails that captivate your target buyers, improve your use of sales technology, and have faster sales cycles. In just one day, walk away armed and ready to close more deals digitally.

Presented by IMPACT and Vidyard, join some of the best virtual selling experts in the world like: Marcus Sheridan, Liz Moorehead, Tyler Lessard, Dr. Devan Kronisch, Anita Nielsen, Myriah Anderson, Chris Duprey, and more!

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May 4, 2021 | 10:00am - 5:00pm EDT

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YOUR ONE-DAY VIRTUAL SELLING CRASH COURSE
In today's world, sales reps are struggling to sell remotely. Join 1,200 sales professionals and learn how to create emails that captivate your target buyers, improve your use of sales technology, and have faster sales cycles. In just one day, walk away armed and ready to close more deals digitally.
Hurry! Get your ticket for only $59 through April 23rd.
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Learn how to stand out as a salesperson in today’s remote world at the Virtual Selling Summit on May 4th.