Never blindly trust any reference conversastion

mrt 7, 2023

References from potential suppliers can be tempting to rely on during a selection process. It is important to remember that references do not always provide a complete picture of reality.

A “recent” experience I had perfectly illustrates this. After a thorough selection process, there were two suppliers left neck and neck. Both had won the trust of the client and the rates were minimal. We decided that reference conversations would be the deciding factor. After conducting the conversations, it was clear that one of the suppliers stood head and shoulders above the other, and the choice was made.

Unfortunately, we soon noticed cracks after going into production. The proposed architecture did not provide the desired continuity and the knowledge was lacking to come up with a suitable solution.

The customer’s experience contrasted sharply with the experiences of the references. This raised the question of whether the reference customers had told the whole truth, or whether the supplier had “lied” about their capabilities in this area.

It is important not to blindly trust reference conversations. A second conversation with a (colleague) reference can prevent this. Keep asking critical questions and listen to your intuition.

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