Word-of-Mouth Takes Action – Adapted from The Entrepreneurial Mind by Jeff Cornwall
A recent poll found that 82 percent of small businesses use word-of- mouth to grow their business, and that 15 percent rely almost exclusively on word-of-mouth. However, what many businesses fail to recognize is that word-of- mouth rarely just happens. They fall victim to the myth of “if we build it, they will come.” Nothing could be further from the truth. Spontaneous word-of-mouth is a rare event. Successful word-of-mouth promotion requires actively finding ways to motivate customers to talk about a business in a positive way.
Here are some ways to encourage word-of-mouth referrals:
- Motivate customers to talk about you through excellence in customer service. Customer service is not what it used to be, so if you can create an exceptional experience, people will tend to talk about it. The service must be consistent, genuine and enthusiastic.
- Create incentives to spread the word through a referral or thank-you program. Offer customers a future discount or send them a small thank-you gift, such as a gift card, for each new customer they send your way.
- Ask your customer to “sell” for you. There are certain businesses that the customers desperately want to see succeed. This most often happens when you fill a niche that has not been addressed in the market. In this case, ask your customers to spread the word. Let them know that you cannot succeed without their help bringing in new customers.
According to Robert Lambert, professor of marketing at Belmont University, “When a product is complex and difficult to evaluate, and when risk is involved in the buying process, consumers often look to others to provide strong word-of-mouth endorsements. This form of advertising can be more effective than any paid advertising. It has the added benefit of reducing the costs of attracting new customers” for the business owner.
Although word-of-mouth is often considered free advertising, it is most effective when some time, energy, and even a few marketing dollars are committed to it. This is why we want to make sure that you know we are looking for more clients just like you! We have found our best source of new clients is from our existing clients. If you know of a manufacturing or distribution company in the Upper Midwest with an accounting or system problem, simply make an introduction between us and the company you’d like to refer. We’ll contact them for a get-acquainted call. If it’s a fit, we’ll set up an on-site meeting. If it’s not a fit, we’ll let them know why and make any recommendations possible.
Every time you refer a qualified prospective client to us which results in a meeting, Business Automation Specialists will reward you with a $100 Visa Gift Card or a $100 donation to the charity of your choice. The reward is up to you (and possibly your company policies) and there is no limit to the number of prospective clients you can refer.