People only remember the extraordinary, strange, wild, surprising, and unusual. You need to make sure your ideas and marketing reflect these reactions. This does not mean you have to have a product or service that is completely out of the norm, in fact, this could easily drive customers away. You need to have a product or service that is high quality and easily marketable, then you need to market it as extraordinary and new.
As you research word-of-mouth, there are some questions you need to ask along the way:
What are the users willing to tell the non-users?
- Exactly how do your customers describe your product?
- What are the non-users willing to ask the users?
- What are the things they need to know but are unwilling to ask?
- What happens when these issues are raised?
- Exactly what do your prospects have to know to trigger purchase?
- Exactly how do your customers answer the objections, concerns, and qualms of your prospects?
- How do your customers persuade their friends to use your product?
- How do your customers suggest they initially get to know or try your product?
- What warnings, safeguards, tips, and suggestions do your customers suggest to your prospects?
- Are your sales messages, positioning, and important facts about your product getting through and surviving word of mouth?
- What messages do you need to inject into the marketplace to turn the tide in your favor and how will you deliver them?
There are two main reasons why word of mouth research is so important:
- To get the real impression and feedback from customers
- To define word of mouth itself and the concept it creates
There is a simple formula that can help you conduct your word-of-mouth research. It is called the “2-2-2” model.
What this breaks down to is:
- 2 groups of customers
- 2 focus groups of prospects
- 2 mixed groups (enthusiasts & skeptics)
In these groups you need to ask the following questions:
- What would you tell a friend?
- How would you persuade a skeptic?
- What questions would you anticipate from a skeptic?
- How would you answer their objections?
The best way to conduct these groups is by teleconference. This ensures you will get a good variety of demographics for your customers and potential customers. It also allows people to feel safe and more able to express their true feelings. These teleconferences should not be conducted by you, but by an independent party to avoid adding pressure to the situation.
We are going to transition a bit and talk about how to construct a word-of-mouth campaign. First, we will talk a look at the essential ingredients you need to put together a campaign. These ingredients are:
- A superior product.
- A way of reaching key influencers in your marketplace.
- A cadre of experts willing to bat for you.
- A large number of enthusiastic consumers.
- A way of reaching the right prospects.
- One or more compelling stories that people will want to tell to illustrate your product’s superiority.
- A way to substantiate, prove, or back up your claims and how the product will work in the real world.
- A way for people to have direct, low-risk experience, a demo, sample, or free trial.
- A way of reducing overall risk, an ironclad guarantee.
Once you have those ingredients ready to use, you should consider the situations in which your company can benefit from a strong word-of-mouth program. Some of these situations are:
- When there are credibility problems
- When there are breakthroughs.
- When there are marginal improvements.
- Where the product must be tried in large numbers or over time.
- Where there is a high risk in trying the product.
- With older or mature products that have a new story that people tend to ignore.
- With unfair competitive practices such as spreading rumors or telling lies about your product.
- When there are governmental or other restrictions on what you may say or claim directly.
While most of the word-of-mouth tactics are positive for your word-of-mouth program, there are a few products to avoid using in this program. They are:
- Products where a seminar would not provide meaningful added value.
- Products that cannot be tried and where there is no consensus among experts.
- Products that are clearly inferior, without having a compensating superiority for similar products.
- Products that are so personal or emotional that rational discussion is irrelevant to the decision.
- Products where the decision value is so small (low price/low volume) the medium will not be cost-effective.
This wraps up this post on word-of-mouth research and how that research can be used when putting together your word-of-mouth campaign. If you need help with the research and a plan to use the results of that research, try our GUIDED TOUR to get all the help you need with our top-notch resources and tools.
Today we’ll start a new series talking all about Word of Mouth and how it can make or break your business in an extremely short amount of time. In this first lesson, we’ll get a feel for what exactly word of mouth is.
Word of Mouth is easily the most powerful form of marketing and is absolutely free. People talk about ads they see, experiences they have, and the products they purchase. If you treat people right and spread the word about your new products/services positively, you’ll attract the right customers and clients who will sustain your business for a long time.
Now, as positive as word of mouth can be for your business, the other side of the coin is how negative it can be as well. Bad news seems invariable to travel faster than good news, and if you have a less than high-quality product or weak customer service system, then your customers will tell everyone they know not to buy your products and services.
The age of technology has proved to be a fantastic benefit in the world of word of mouth. With blogs, podcasts, online marketing, forums, social networking, and all the other online mediums available, it is easier for consumers to share their experiences. And, remember this is all free advertising for you.
Let’s take a minute to discuss the importance of shortening the customer decision cycle to help customers/clients choose more quickly and easily. There are three great ways to increase sales by shortening the decision cycle. They are:
- Increase the overall dollar amount customers spend on each purchase.
- Increase your number of customers.
- Increase frequency of purchases.
Let’s take a more in-depth look at decision speed. Offer simplicity, ease, and a fun purchasing atmosphere and you’ll help your customers make their decisions quicker and more confidently. When this happens your customers will buy more frequently, spend more money than usual, refer friends, and decide to purchase more quickly. This can raise your market share by over 100 times.
The time it takes your customer to decide and purchase far outweighs any other component of marketing. When you focus on customer decision speed, it forces you to take a hard look at your company and brand image, positioning, value, customer service, guarantees, and product quality.
The next area I want to talk about quickly is how to minimize the friction, or stress, involved with decision making. No matter how easily people find decision-making, we all experience a certain amount of anxiety when making a purchase, especially from a new source or for a large amount of money. When you help minimize this emotional response, you will soothe your customers’ anxiety, and they will make their decision quicker and more confidently.
There are a few secrets to accelerate the customer’s decision making progress:
Your benefits, features, claims, and promises must be obvious, clear, and concise.
The information you offer must be complete, easy to understand, credible, and balanced.
Use comparisons that show a marked difference.
Your guarantees must be rock solid and more than the customer expects.
Make trial periods easy.
You must have simple evaluations of your products or services.
Testimonials need to be relevant and positive.
Your support, delivery, and other operational systems must be perfect.
Your website can be as good as you make it. You can offer more than information. You can offer an experience that guides your customers gently through the decision-making process to make it easy for them to buy. Take it a step beyond by offering toll-free support numbers, software downloads to help with the process or other classy and informative ways to reassure your customers that you are there with them every step of the way and have nothing to hide.
This wraps up the first post in our series on word of mouth. If you need help identifying your target market and the issues they are experiencing during their purchase that makes their decision time long, try our GUIDED TOUR and work with one of our coaches to come up with the best way to smooth out your purchasing experience.
Next time we’ll move forward with word of mouth and talk about the power of word of mouth and what precisely this powerful tool is, and what it can be used for.
Last time we talked about how to start multiplying on the resources you worked on maximizing. We covered the following areas:
- Call in the Troops
- Bring ‘Em Out of the Woodwork
- Black Sheep Clients
Today we’ll talk about the next three:
- Olympic-Size Sales Staff
- Open Water Fishing
- Call for Back-Up
Olympic-Size Sales Staff
Now we all know you can’t have a sales staff of 10,000 who work around the clock for free, but there is a tool that will do precisely that… direct mail marketing.
Direct mail is a written piece of sales and informative copy that offers information about your company and your products/services to potential customers/clients. You can create sales letters, brochures, or proposals to be mailed out to a list of leads.
This approach can not only open your door to thousands of new customers/clients, but it can also save you thousands of dollars in advertising.
Open Water Fishing
You have to be careful not to waste your time on clients who are not interested. You have to focus on bigger fish. Remember the lessons we talked about previously, how you should always be targeting higher-quality prospects.
To do this, you have to take the time to research and learn about your potential clients to make sure you are targeting the right companies to work with. Ensure they are companies who will benefit from your products/services over a long period of time.
If you’re not sure where to start finding big fish clients, go back over our previous lessons or look into purchasing a direct mailing list that specifically targets the clients you need. You can buy or rent lists with name, title, job specs, and contact information. This gives you a starting point to finding high-quality clients.
Call for Back-Up
Don’t be afraid of telemarketing. It’s a powerful tool than can be done tastefully and be highly effective. However, keep in mind, when not handled correctly, it can bring about negative reactions. To be successful with telemarketing, you need to use these tips:
- Your first line of defense should be mail marketing.
- Test before you start a telemarketing campaign.
- Set the price for your offer.
- Use a progressive approach with your campaign.
Progressive contact helps build trust and allow the potential customer/client to establish a positive relationship with you. These are the progressive steps you should take:
- Put your prospect at ease.
- Present your offer in a natural, conversational way.
- Avoid being argumentative or pushy.
- Always be honest.
- Perfect your 30-second elevator speech.
- Clearly state your name, business name, the reason you’re calling, and where you got their information.
- Offer the benefits of your products and services.
- Mention one of the features that back up the benefits.
- Ask preliminary questions that will give you information about the prospect.
These step-by-step methods can help you be successful with a telemarketing campaign and avoid a negative response that could stigmatize your business forever.
This wraps up these three areas of multiplying your resources. We’ll continue with this series for the next two posts to give you all the resources you need to get the most out of your current resources.
If you need help working through any of these processes or areas, try our GUIDED TOUR to access our wealth of resources and tools.
In the last post we talked about negotiating with your big fish and nurturing and building on the relationships you are creating. Today we’ll talk about the power your fish has and how to utilize that for your benefit.
One of the most critical aspects of this is to keep your cheerleader cheering. This refers to the ally you created in the company and who needs to stay loyal to you to continue a profitable partnership with your fish. You can keep your champion going by offering or doing several things to show appreciation. Some of these things are:
- Share the limelight.
- Help them thank their company with new products and services.
- Emotionally connect them to your company.
- Know when to leave them alone.
- Keep your “family” happy.
- Stay on the front lines.
Now that you have some ideas for building solid relationships, you need to seek out people to build these relationships with. These alliances will help you get more prominent clients that stay with you forever. You can often get in the door by offering them something in exchange for something they need:
- Better work experience
These are all great ways to feed your alliance. You need to go into a relationship considering the things a big fish can offer you besides money. These can include:
- The opportunity for your business to expand
- The opportunity to learn from the experience and find ways to grow
- The opportunity to improve your processes, systems, and other means of doing business
These are some of the best ways to keep your alliances going strong, and your partnerships fresh and content.
If you need help with any of these tactics, try our GUIDED TOUR for great tools and resources that can help you every step of the way.
In the last post, we started our series on catching big clients, or “fish,” that will sustain your business over the long run. Today we’re going to take that a step further by talking about understanding and thinking like a big fish company and how that can help you plan your approach and find success.
Before you can start the process of landing big clients, you have to make sure your entire team is on board with your approach and vision. There are six keys to finding big client success. They are:
- First Impression: You must remember you have one shot to land a big client. If you make a mistake, they aren’t going to consider you again. Never give them a reason to doubt your abilities.
- First Priority: Your fish must always feel like they are your first priority. Returns calls and emails immediately and find solutions to their problems or questions as quickly as possible.
- Flexible: You need to be flexible in your negotiations. If they need a unique service or for you to customize a product, say yes for the benefit of the long term. A little hassle now will be a big pay off later.
- Long-term: This goes along with the last one a bit. As you are approaching and negotiating with big fish, you need to think about the long term benefits for your business. If you go for a one-time big score, you will lose their interest.
- Have Fun: Work should be fun, even when trying to land big clients. In fact, this should be the most fun. You are sharing your vision with new people and including them in your future success and likewise. People simply work better in a fun, happy environment. Your passion will also be contagious and pull the fish into your vision even more.
- Help Them: If you take just a little bit of time and offer your clients ways to save money or time by introducing them to potential business partners, this will show you really are invested and interested in their business. Strive to find a balance between your business needs and your client’s needs.
You can also use a few tactics to bring in a big-company vision to the people on your team. You can:
- Post these six keys for all to see.
- Put together a performance-based incentive program.
- Conduct frequent team meetings.
- Use a “right now” policy that dictates big fish calls be answered immediately.
- Offer awards/recognition for big-company ideas and executions.
- Put together a training and certification program based on the six keys above.
These six keys and tips will help you instill a big-company mindset through your company, which will help you be more prepared and more likely to land your big fish. Once your team is thinking this way, you’ll be unstoppable.
If you need help putting together an incentive program or other way to push your team toward the big-company mindset, try our GUIDED TOUR to work with one of our coaches or check out our resources and tools.