• The Power of Word of Mouth

     

    Most of us remember the commercial that said, "I told two friends, and they told two friends, and so on, and so on, and?", well you get the picture. This commercial, which represented Breck Hair Shampoo, ran so many times that even I remember who the commercial represented.

    The reason I mention this particular commercial is not because of the number of times it was aired but rather because of the message it was sending. This company knew the importance of potential clients hearing something about their product or service that impressed someone else.

    It's called Word of Mouth and it can make or break the success of almost every aspect of our lives, especially our business lives. In our personal lives, if we like something, we will talk positively about it to others. This, in turn, will show them that this is something good and that they should check it out.

    It could be anything from a favourite plant that flowers throughout the growing season, to a fabulous doctor who has the bedside manner of an angel. If we are happy about something, we will likely talk about it to others.

    In our business lives, positive word of mouth generates referrals and referrals generate business. So, word of mouth is one of the most important marketing tools that can contribute to our success. What could be better than a customer mentioning how pleased they were with a service you provided to others who may need this service? Free advertising? that's what word of mouth is.

    Not only do we love to be the recipient of positive word of mouth, we should also realize that others are in the same boat as us and rely on word of mouth to help them succeed as well. So, if you like something, be sure to tell others about it, especially if they are in need of something you had a great experience with.

    Word of mouth is also known as a verbal testimonial. The words of praise literally come right from the horse's mouth. It's a very powerful recommendation to physically hear someone bestowing the virtues of a certain product or service, or the company behind this great find.

    Now, let's flip the coin here for a moment. We've mentioned about the benefits of positive word of mouth. But, what about the pitfalls of negative word of mouth? If someone spreads the word that your service is fabulous, new business will come your way. However, if you provide a service or product that someone is not happy with, they will either never recommend you or they will tell three times as many people about the negativities they have experienced. Providing an exceptional service or product, coupled with "beyond the call of duty" customer service, can have a positive effect on your business. But, not providing what you customers deserve can bring down the curtain faster than you can blink.

    For example, I recently had a run in with a supplier who I would never recommend to anyone, not even my fiercest competitor. This company took over 3 months to provide me with the product I needed. Each time I called their office, I would either get an answering machine and have to wait days to get a reply or I would get the old " it will be ready by Friday" response. I was not impressed! In fact, when I did finally get the finished product, I was not at all happy with it. Oh, and I never even got an apology for the delay or the discount I requested because of my displeasure. In short, they seemed to not want my business now or in the future. I think I'll comply.

    Word of mouth is very powerful, both positively and negatively. Of course, we should always strive to gain positive referrals? that's my goal. It can have a tremendous impact on our success. So? get out there and tell two friends about this article? and so on!

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