In our previous post, we talked about how to conduct Word of Mouth research and then put that research to work. Now, we’re going to give you some great tried and true ways to use Word of Mouth when building and executing your campaign.
We’ve done it in a list form, so you can go through and highlight the ones you want to put into action. These are offered by George Silverman which you can find in his amazing book The Secrets of Word-of-Mouth Marketing.
Here they are:
- Give them something worth talking about.
- Cater to your initial customers shamelessly.
- Give them incentives to engage in Word of Mouth.
- Ask them to tell their friends.
- The customer is always right.
- Always tell the truth.
- Surprise the customers by giving them a little more than they expected.
- Give them a reason to buy…Make them come back and refuse service from anyone else other than you.
- Make eye contact, and smile…Even through the telephone.
- Find ways to make doing business with you a little better: a warmer greeting, a cleaner floor, nicer lighting, a better shopping bag, extra matches, faster service, free delivery, lower prices, and more selection.
- Never be annoyed when a customer asks you to change a large bill even if he doesn’t buy anything.
- The customer is your reason for being. Never take her for granted. If you do, she will never come back and she will go straight to your competition.
- Always dust off items, but never let the customer see you doing it.
- Never embarrass a customer, especially by making him feel ignorant.
- Never answer a question coming from a desire to show how smart you are. Answer with a desire to help the customer make the best decision.
- When you don’t know, say so. Do whatever you can to find out the answer.
- Every customer is special. Try to remember their names.
- Don’t allow known shoplifters into the store.
- Don’t ever let two sales staff talk when a customer is waiting. The worst thing you can do is count your cash while a customer is waiting.
- If you can suggest something better, they will be grateful. Always respect their choice.
- Never pressure anyone into buying anything.
- Never knowingly give bad advice. Just help people come to the right decision.
- Personally visit the store of the competition or assign people to visit and report back to you.
- Hire a shopping service to prepare periodic reports on how your people are treating your customers.
- If you hear of a store where the management is insulting the customers, buy it, then put up the sign “Under New Management” outside. Then sell it later based on the increased sales.
- One expert (in the drugstore’s case, a nurse or physician) who is convinced you are better brings hundreds of customers and their friends through Word of Mouth.
- Always look for ways to make a stranger a customer.
- People will walk several blocks to save a dollar, or see a smile, or be treated right.
- Always run a sale promotion or an offbeat event. Make them come back to see what you are cooking up next.
- Use the best sign-maker you can find and pay him more than anybody else.
- If someone is mad at you, they will tell everyone who will listen for as long as they are angry, maybe even longer. So correct any dissatisfaction, and ask customers to send their friends.
- Treat your employees and salespeople who sell to you the same way you treat your customers.
- Have a zero error system. There may be terrible consequences, for instance, if a mistake is made filling a prescription. Have people check each other’s work for safety.
- Occasionally make intentional mistakes to see if people are checking.
- Always measure your performance.
- Always ask a customer to “come back soon.”
- If customers say they are moving away, offer to send them their favorite items by mail.
- Tell jokes.
I know this is a lot of information to digest, so we’re going to wrap up this lesson and leave you with the homework of going through and taking a look at the tips and tricks that best fit your company, products, services, and target customers.
If you still need help igniting your Word of Mouth campaign, take a look at the RevSherpas Online Small Business Academy. Our E-Marketing platform provides you with pre-built industry-specific advertising libraries and templates that help you develop million dollar messages, create competition-crushing marketing, and attract and win new clients.
For today’s lesson, we’ll discuss how to unleash the power of positive Word of Mouth marketing.
To begin, here is the proven six-step process to successfully harnessing Word of Mouth:
- Understand your customers’ values and priorities…this helps you understand why they would buy your products.
- Understand the different adopter types: innovators, early adopters, middle majority, late adopters, and laggards.
- Identify which decision stages are needed for your product to be adopted.
- Use the information from steps 2 & 3 to figure out which wording and Word of Mouth tactics will work based on the needs and decision-making process of your respective adopters.
- Put together the resources for the highest Word of Mouth impact.
- Create and implement your Word of Mouth campaign.
Next, let’s move on to the 35 ways to unleash the power of positive WOM:
Experts can come in many forms and all their opinions should be taken into consideration when putting together a WOM campaign. Some experts to gather information from include:
- Experts’ roundtables
- Experts’ selling groups
Seminars, Workshops & Speeches
These venues are a perfect opportunity to gather information. People who attend these types of events are used to giving feedback, so you can use a survey or other method to gather information you can look over later. Some events to use are:
- Speakers programs
- Group selling
- Dinner meetings
- Peer selling groups
- Teleconferenced experts’ panels
- Trade show events/opportunities
“Canned” Word of Mouth
The concept of “canned” Word of Mouth is using hard and online products to get feedback and offer information at the same time. Some ideas for these are:
- World Wide Web
As we’ve highlighted before, a referral program can help with a variety of things in building your business. By using some of the following tactics and opportunities you can find out exactly what you need to do to generate positive Word of Mouth. These tactics and opportunities are:
- Referral Selling Program
The concept of “new” media is the use of up and coming media sources and opportunities to get the word out about your products and services and listen for the feedback about them. Here are some of the “new” media options:
- Web-based word of mouth, such as forums, e-mail, etc.
- Call centers
- Faxback services
Using Traditional Media for Word of Mouth
Using traditional media is a great way to get feedback. These are still considered mainstream ways of interacting with the public and consumers. Some traditional media outlets are:
- Customer service
- Word of Mouth in ads, sales brochures, or direct mail
- Salesperson programs, sales stars, or peer training
- Word of Mouth incentive programs (“Tell-a-friend” programs)
- Customer gifts they can share with their friends (articles, how-to manuals)
Internal Word of Mouth
- Encourage employee Word of Mouth and sharing feedback with family, friends, and others
- Offer rewards or commission for Word of Mouth success
As you can see, there are a plethora of ideas you can work with to increase your level of positive Word of Mouth marketing.
What have been your success stories for obtaining a consistent flow of positive Word of Mouth buzz and referrals from your customer base?
Please leave a comment below.
The last 2 posts covered the first four of the killer mistakes you can make that will not only make you lose your biggest and best client but possibly your entire company. Our first blog post in this series covered: 1) Not meeting the client’s expectations and 2) Mishandling a client crisis. Then, our second related blog post addressed: 3) Taking on more than you can handle and 4) Putting all your eggs in one basket.
Today, we’re going to talk about the fifth killer mistake:
“Up Cash Creek Without a Paddle”
Even when business is good there’s still a chance of running out of cash flow. You have to always be prepared for a slow in sales or a surge in expenses.
One of the keys to balancing your cash flow is to get your clients to pay on time. This can seem like a nightmare at times, but it’s absolutely essential to running a successful business. Here are some tips to speed up the payment process:
- Always send invoices on time and adjust your records for potential audits.
- Learn how the client processes payments on their side and find out precisely where to send invoices.
- Find out who’s in charge of processing orders and payment, so you know who to contact if needed.
- Have a follow-up procedure in place, just in case.
- As a last resort, call your contact to ask questions.
- Always make sure your invoices are correct before sending them out.
You also need to make sure your cash flow is protected. You can do this by:
- Always know which accounts need to be paid and when.
- Negotiate with your suppliers for the lowest cost possible.
- Have a bank contingency plan in place.
- Build your own inventory network.
These are all great ways to protect the cash flow of your business and prepare for large client transitions and slow sales.
These last few lessons are all about finding and catching your big fish clients. These clients are essential to your success and your need to take the time to work through each of these steps carefully and correctly for the ultimate and long-lasting customer experience.
If you would like to receive and discuss more in-depth additional Cash Flow Optimization Strategies to insulate and expand your business, please contact us.
On a related note, is your region, business, or favorite retailer impacted by the national coin shortage? If so, please leave a comment with your firsthand account below.
In our most recent post, we covered two of the five biggest mistakes you can make in dealing with “big fish” clients. Now, we’ll cover the third mistake, which is “Taking On More Than You Can Handle,” and the fourth one which entails “Putting All Your Eggs In One Basket.”
Taking On More Than You Can Handle
When you take on too much, your business can’t keep up and therefore you can easily lose control of everything and find yourself barely functioning. No doubt, you want your business to be successful. However, you need to have a plan for how you will handle the growth. Your clients expect great customer service and high-quality products/services, but they lack a deep understanding and high level of appreciation for your behind the scenes operations to get those things done. They just expect it.
But, as a business owner, how do you know when you are taking on more than you can handle?
To uncover whether you are in over your head due to rapid growth and thus negatively impacting your customer experience, be on the lookout for these alert signals:
- Clients are increasingly upset.
- Clients’ needs aren’t being met.
- Clients are suffering from you always trying to keep up with new business.
- SLAs are being missed.
- Employee morale is low.
- Quality of deliverables and service is declining due to the vast amount of work.
- You have to react in emergency mode to save accounts.
- You feel as if there is a new “fire” to put out every day or week.
- Profits are going down.
- You are just trying to pick up the pieces of your business.
- Your clients/customers leave.
- Resources are being reallocated.
- Resources are vastly lacking.
- You, your team, and your clients are frequently in a panic.
There’s also a trick called the “Mock Fish Plan”. This plan can help you react positively when you are facing some or all of the aforementioned trouble signs so that you can get your business back on track. Specifically, this plan will:
- Help increase sales in a short period of time.
- Alter your products/services for the better.
- Fulfill the promises you made to your clients.
There are six steps to this plan:
- Bring in your best team and have them all help to meet the Tier 1 client’s needs.
- Review your operational system.
- Anticipate future problems better.
- Communicate more clearly and proactively.
- Include costs in your quotes.
- Always have a back-up plan.
Putting All Your Eggs in One Basket
It’s imperative that you do not allow your company to become dependent on any one large client. Eventually, or for certain periods, there is going to be a slowing down period with your big fish. In order to stay in the game, you need to diversify and not put all your eggs into one basket as they say.
If you’ve ever mishandled a big fish client, you could drive away potential fish as well. In order to keep balance and prepare for a strong future, there are a few things you can do, including:
- Stay in the loop and try to know what’s going on inside your number one client’s company.
- Constantly reinvent yourself and stay at the top of your industry.
- Stay exclusive.
- Try to secure multi-year commitments and contracts.
- Spread your contracts out.
- Price your products/services correctly.
You also need to work to reduce your dependency on your big fish. This can generally be measured in sales or profits. Take a look back at the process in prior blogs we’ve used thus far to snag more fish to keep this all in balance.
These are the ways you can help avoid the critical mistakes that can make you lose your best clients that you worked so hard to win. Next time, we’ll address the last of the killer mistakes and how to prevent it from jolting your business.
As a reminder, our Small Business Growth Academy has all the tips and tricks you need in your marketing outreach, business development, and client retention efforts ranging from lead generation to sales conversion to client nurturing strategies, including many pre-built industry accelerators designed to shorten your learning curve, implementation duration, and time to market or launch.
To better acclimate yourself with the cutting-edge capabilities of the RevSherpas Growth Academy, click here to watch a brief overview.
There are five critical mistakes you can make that will kill a deal with any client, big or small…new or existing. They are:
- Not meeting the client’s expectations.
- Mishandling a client crisis.
- Taking on more than you can handle.
- Putting all your eggs in one basket.
- “Up cash creek without a paddle.”
Each one or a combination of these can not only kill the client relationship but also have the ability to take down your company as well.
Over our next few blogs, we’ll drill down into each one of these. In this lesson, we’ll cover the first two.
Not Meeting The Client’s Expectations
It’s essential you give your client exactly what you promised during the negotiation portion of your sales cycle. If an event does happen where there is no way to meet the client’s expectations, not only do you have to find a way to fix the situation, but you also have to uncover where it all went wrong.
A couple of matters could have contributed to this problem:
- Bad salesmanship
- This could mean the salesperson was trying too hard to seal the deal and didn’t listen to the client’s needs. We all know this unfortunately happens a lot.
- Lack of communication
- This breakdown occurs between the salesperson and your service operations department. This event occurs more than you think. Inevitably, the sales rep gets blamed by the client and internally, but that is not always fair. Many companies need to improve their onboarding and transition management processes to ensure the new players in client service or the implementation team are up to speed on the client’s primary objectives and ready to properly support the new client even though they were not involved in the sales pursuit discussions like the salesperson was.
In order to avoid these mistakes, you need to put a clear plan of action into place that all of your sales staff needs to follow:
- Think before you speak.
- Give yourself a break.
- Perfect your process.
- Pre-format over-deliverables.
- Stay hands-on throughout the entire process (both internally and externally).
- Define success.
- Don’t vanish once the deal is closed.
Mishandling a Client Crisis
A client crisis will happen, but how you respond and fix it will define your company and set the tone for future interactions with your clients. You need to respond quickly and effectively. This will help you gain even more trust and confidence from your client.
Some simple tips can help you deal with any client crisis:
- Take responsibility and apologize to the client no matter who is at fault.
- Act swiftly and effectively.
- Step in, connect the dots, and take control of the situation.
- Never point fingers or place blame.
- Stay in constant communication with your client.
- Stay calm throughout the situation.
- Keep your eye on the ball.
Now, that you know the top two mistakes you can make to destroy a top-tier client relationship, you’ll know better how to avoid making these mistakes in the first place and know how to put a plan of action into place in case of a crisis.
Next time, we’ll talk about the 3rd and 4th killer mistakes you can make in working with your upper echelon clientele.
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