A charming email popped up in my inbox the other day from a total stranger:
I’d like to add you to my network on LinkedIn as I feel that we maybe able to offer some support to yourselves. We currently work with a wide range of different companies including providing I.T purchasing support for [one if the UK's to property companies] and onsite support for [a major European bank].
Interesting, isn’t it, how the use of inappropriate client references can undermine your story, rather than enhance it.
As an evaluator, I want the confidence that follows from knowing you’ve done similar things for other clients in the recent past; that that work is viewed as successful by key individuals in their organisation and that you have delivered real, quantifiable benefits. “Are you confident they can do it?” is an important challenge that I need to be able to answer, for my own peace of mind and to reassure any senior executives on high who have final sign-off on the contract award.
But, as a principal director of a business with 25 or so staff worldwide, “we’ve done work with major corporations” hits all the wrong notes for me. “We don’t understand the needs – or the financial cost base – of companies like yours” is an entirely counter-productive message, and a salutary lesson in how not to use proof points.