Top 5 Reference Killers

top-5_reference_killersReference selection for a proposal can be like nitroglycerin – choose the wrong ones and start looking to the next bid because you’ve just obliterated this one.

Who would have thought your reference choices could be so dangerous? But they are.

Now, I’m guessing David Letterman doesn’t know why the references you choose can hurt your chances of winning. If he did, he’d put them in a Top 10 list and count them down to 1.

Dave was busy, so here are 5 reference killers. Avoid them, or else.


All the references you provide are significantly smaller than the job your bidding


None of the references you provide are in the same industry as your prospective customer


You provide a reference with a contact who’s no longer working there


You provide a reference your prospective customer is in life-and-death competition with and they could never hire you because you work for their competition

And now, for #1

You provide a reference who has just fired you
(so what if you didn’t know it at the time?)

Lessons to be Learned

If you avoid the above killers, or even better, do the opposite you’ll have improved your chances of winning bid competitions.

What other reference killers have you come across?

Chris Arlen
President, Revenue-IQ

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