I’d suggest asking the customer what they’d like to see. Have an open conversation with the internal champion or the purchasing person. “Let us review your financials,” is too ambiguous a request - and likely just a sales objection.
If three years of audited statements is an absolute requirement, find out early so you can stop wasting your time. If, on the other hand, they can get sufficient comfort with your code in escrow (they pay for the escrow, of course = a positive sign), make a business decision.
Don't guess what will work. Ask!
Jack Hembrough raises an insightful point: There can be many
reasons why a client would ask for financials.
You need to understand what the specific reasons are within the context
of the buying decision process of the organization you're selling to. You need to get at the root of the request
because, as Claus Skaaning said, you need a plan that will speak to the actual
concern. If you are a small software
company and your client would have to incur substantial organizational costs in
adopting and maintaining your product (essentially, as an economist would say, a
"specific investment" that would be worthless outside of your product), then a
natural concern would be how to deal with the contingency of your going out of
In that contingency, an escrow would be part of your plan
for speaking to the root concern (in addition to your argument for why the
specific investment should be made, despite the availability of other solutions
on the market). By contrast, as Jack and
Claus implied, the real concern could have nothing to do with financial
viability of your company. It could be a
smoke screen for an objection. Or it
could be that your champion doesn't really understand or know how to manage the
internal decision process -- merely asking for financials as a means of delay
while he or she figures it out.
Selling to a major client is tough. Good luck!
Tell your (directional) story in the most positive way. Major clients understand your value proposition more than offsets your early stage. I've built 5 global resell channels with SAP and IBM and in each case we were early stage.
Please contact me directly for specific examples at firstname.lastname@example.org.