She said my research wasn’t real research.

I told her I ask my clients if they’ve asked every one of their clients for a referral. That’s each person they’ve met during the buying process. The answer is always no.

She said this wasn’t her experience and wanted to know the source of my research.

I told her this was my research from asking this question in client engagements over the last 25 years.

Then, after she bragged about her eons of success—yes, even with referral selling—she said she was mostly interested in seeing the research I referred to.

“But now I understand you were making a broad-brush statement that wasn’t specific to one body of dedicated research.”

Whoa, that was a slap in the face. This was very, very personal.

I recoiled, because she gave no weight to what I call “feet on the street” research, versus data-based research from major companies like Forrester, Gartner, Salesforce, and others. These organizations do cohort studies over time, showing comparisons and trends.

BTW, I always quote research when it applies to what I’m writing. I reference Gartner when they say the biggest challenge for salespeople is getting access to their buyers. (A referral introduction solves that challenge.)

Do you think “feet on the street” research carries any weight at all? (This has nothing to do with following your gut, which is important, but not for this discussion.)

Has something like this happened to you? Have you been challenged on data from your experience? Share your thoughts on my LinkedIn post.

(Featured image attribution: Daria Shevtsova)