Improve Word-of-Mouth Marketing with Conversation Capital
If you do build a great experience, customers tell each other about that. Word of mouth is very powerful. – Jeff Bezos
Word-of-mouth marketing gets results. Why? Because potential clients will almost always trust the recommendation of a friend or associate over a catchy slogan or an advertisement in the phone book. So how do you improve your word-of-mouth marketing? First you need to take initiative and be more proactive in your social interactions; each time you interact with someone you either take advantage of the opportunity to promote your business or you generate small talk which does nothing to benefit your business.So how do you stop the small talk and get down to business? Here are four things to remember as you engage in conversation.
Practice Assertive Networking
We realize that promoting your business is not something with which you feel completely comfortable. And when we tell you to be assertive, we’re not asking you to be pushy or annoying. We’re simply suggesting that you view each interaction as an opportunity to share something about your services in order to get the word out.This requires that you recognize the value of each interaction. Be it a party, a convention, city council meeting, or a surprise run-in at the grocery store, your every interaction provides you with the opportunity to promote your business. Successful business owners recognize that time is money, and all the time you spend conversing with people can translate into a larger clientele.To be assertive you must exhibit confidence (not arrogance) in your expertise. You must be willing to hand out business cards and plug your services whenever possible. Again, we’re not suggesting you be pushy. However, we are suggesting you recognize that you provide services you can be excited about; when you’re passionate and excited, this can help your contact become excited as well.
People love to hear stories, especially when well-told. They solidify an experience and bring it to life for the listener. Imagine how much more powerful your marketing approach could be if you infused it with effective storytelling. Conversation Capital is sharing your professional experiences as stories that amplify your brand and connect listeners with your business in a significant and memorable way. Consider ways you can use Conversation Capital as you network.
People can recognize and appreciate authenticity. Forget about being nervous; be yourself. This requires you to be interested in your listener, and to listen in return. Be willing to share your good and bad experiences, always focusing on what you’ve learned and how that has enhanced your business. People will appreciate your honesty and trust you as a result. And as you interact with people remember to treat them well, always putting your relationship with them above any transaction that may result.
The great thing about word-of-mouth marketing is that it can transcend the realm of real-time interactions to electronic interactions. Sharing your stories on a blog can help you practice the art of Conversation Capital, giving you the time to compose your experience thoughtfully before sharing it with readers. And blogs continue to gain popularity. Many professionals are creating blogs that demonstrate their ability in a very concrete way; authors share insight and experiences that enable them to gain credibility and start a word-of-mouth marketing campaign that proves to be more profitable than many would imagine.Allen Bostrom, President and CEO of Universal Accounting Center has a blog that does just that. Allen’s Blog offers practical advice to other accountants and tax professionals in story-form. You can learn from his experiences and feel a kinship with another financial professional who has been both where you do and don’t want to go. See what you can learn from Allen’s Blog.Word-of-mouth marketing is a valuable tool. If you’re not attending to your daily interactions, you’re not taking advantage of this tool. Put some time and effort into your Conversation Capital. The more you practice the better you’ll get. And in the end, you’ll be surprised at how much your business improves as a result.ReferencesConversation CapitalLee, Sid. “Building Strong Brands by Leveraging Conversation Capital.”Sabra, Ponn. “Stop the Small Talk.” 18 October 2007. WomenEntrepreneur.com