Talking Behind Your Back is Good
Most of us grew up with the concept of “Don’t talk behind someone else’s back”. A similar philosophy is “If you’ve got something to say, say it to their face”.
But this is not how the world works.
Especially when it comes to your clients and prospects.
In most cases you will be the last point of contact. Before they speak with you, your prospect will have asked their friends, colleagues, neighbours and advisors. And they will have reviewed your web site – all before they pluck up the courage to speak with you directly.
You see, people are generally scared of making decisions. And the bigger the decision, the more scared people get.
So they search for answers. For reassurance. For understanding. And for the confidence that they will make the best decision.
That is where word-of-mouth comes into play. Word-of-mouth is simply the act of one person speaking to another. It is natural – and unavoidable.
Some people say you can control word-of-mouth. As a marketing consultant I say that at best, you can try to influence it. Controlling word-of-mouth is a tall order for anyone. But you can be successful in guiding the development of word-of-mouth.
You can do this by:
Having a system to satisfy clients. Do a fantastic job.
Letting clients know you really care about the outcomes you provide. Be interested in their results.
Stay in touch with clients via reminders, newsletters, or personal contact.
Impress them so much that they will want to tell their friends and colleagues.
Tell them who would make ideal new clients for you.
Prepare your clients on what to say when they talk about you and your services.
And they will remember you when someone asks them for their opinion.
You can also attempt to activate referrals (referrals = word-of-mouth that results in someone contacting you) by using incentives of one sort or another. This needs to be done in a careful manner. You don’t want to pressure your clients, or offer what might be seen as inappropriate rewards. You don’t want to seem desperate either.
Importantly, don’t make the mistake of relying only on referrals for the development of your business. We all want business to roll in on it’s own. But we also know we need to guide the acquisition of new clients. We need to choose carefully. We need to develop new markets. Relying on word-of-mouth doesn’t always give us this power over our future.
When it comes to getting more clients – you really do want people to talk about you behind your back.