Thursday, June 18, 2009

A Look into "The Entrepreneurial Mind" of Prof. Jeff Cornwall

Using Referrals for Word of Mouth
Word of mouth never just happens. Although it is a great way to bootstrap your marketing efforts, it does take, well, some effort.

1. Ask! Don't be afraid to be direct about asking for referrals. A great technique is to view every client you work with as though your sole purpose is to get a referral.

2. Create a referral program -- Offer service credits as an incentive to your clients who send you new business.

3. Spread the word by sending a description of your referral program to all of your satisfied clients.

4. A few other dos and don'ts:
  • Don't ask for a referral when presenting a bill.
  • When asking for a referral, also ask for a testimonial from the client. It's great for websites!
  • Ask people who perform complementary services to you for referrals. (i.e. If you are a contractor, why not ask an electrician or plumber who may be on the same site?)
  • Have some type of printed marketing material handy to provide clients with that describes everything you do-- and give them a few copies to spread around
My Take

Prof. Cornwall provides some refreshingly practical WOM tips. Business owners and sales representatives need constant reminders about these, because, while appearing simple they are constantly overlooked.

With growing usage of Web-based social networks it seems natural that businesses will use them as a medium to engage customers, ask for referrals and provide word-of-mouth tools - and even rewards - for their clients use.
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