Friday, January 19, 2007

Week 22 - Word of Mouth is Critical

Word of mouth advertising overlaps some other areas such as endorsements and referrals. For example, a referral or endorsement might come from a friend in the street who is essentially spreading your message through word of mouth advertising. Ultimately word of mouth will be driven by the overall experience you provide to customers. I cannot stress this enough. It is no good having a nice referral card for your customer to hand around if you disappointed them during their last visit.

To me, an amazing experience is always based on a genuine desire to educate customers and further, help them find the best solution to their problem (even if it is not yours!)

Think about the types of questions you ask when you are buying a product or service you know little about. Guess what? We all ask simple questions we think we already know the answers to! That’s right, if we are buying a car, we might ask how many kW’s the car has or what the engine size is, without really understanding how this will affect our driving experience. We ask these questions because we don’t want to sound stupid, the exact same reason that people used to ask a vacuum cleaner salesman “how many watts does this model have?” So this is a critical point, if you educate the customer, they won’t feel stupid any more. More importantly they will ask the RIGHT questions. When people asked a vacuum salesperson about “watts”, what they really should have been asking was “which vacuum will most effectively clean my house, year in, year out?”

When prospects start to throw questions at you regarding one or two features of your product, you need to find out what the client is actually asking. What problem is this person trying to solve?

Above all, both you and your employees need to be conscientious about developing word of mouth networks. The goal? Every person who walks though your door ends up being a salesperson or ambassador for your company, always willing to spread a clear and concise message.

“…devote 75% of your marketing dollars and energy to establishing and maintaining word of mouth networks” Tom Peters, “Thriving On Chaos”

1 comment:

Simon said...

As usual, you are right on the money!

When you take a close look at your customers you can see a definite progression from Customer to Loyal Customer to Best Customer to Advocate.

The scary thing is that Advocates sit at both ends of the spectrum! WOM is happening - either for or against you!!

What's needed is for people like you to develop a model to measure the effects of WOM, so that the beancounters can quantify the benefit and become more committed to their Advocates and driving positive WOM.

Keep up the tips - I'm lovin' it :)