Get engaged in the conversation, that is! OK, OK . . . now that I have your attention, let me explain.
In my book Truth or Delusion I bring up the point that word-of-mouth marketing is always working, it just may not be working in your favor. Believe it or not, you’re getting word of mouth every day. It just may not be the kind you’re thinking of–the good kind. The thing is, negative word of mouth has legs and the average dissatisfied customer gripes to 11 people about his experience, and these 11 in turn tell five others apiece.
Therefore, you need to get engaged in the networking process and the resulting conversation by formulating a strategic plan to control what’s being said about you. Among other things, this is done by focusing on good customer service to reduce negative word-of-mouth and ensuring that your marketing message is conveyed accurately so your prospects know what to expect.
It’s especially important to be engaged in the conversation when it comes to online networking. Take the headline of this blog, for example. Say somebody were to see it, not read the rest of the blog, and then begin posting comments on blogs and social networking sites all over the web claiming that “Ivan Misner has a new blog urging people everywhere to get married!”
You may be laughing, but occurrences like I just described happen all the time. And guess what? If you’re one of those people who refuses to get involved in “that online/social networking stuff,” then you aren’t engaged in the conversations that are being had about you online. And when somebody says something negative or incorrect about you or your business, you can’t redirect the conversation in a positive direction to save face or correct what’s been wrongly stated about you.
Whether networking online or face-to-face, the dialogue is going to happen with or without you. The basic point is, if you don’t participate in the conversation, you’re not in control whatsoever. If you do participate, then you can publicly say who you are and steer the conversation in a positive way.
Check out this recent blog entry by my friend Dave Goetz, “They are Laughing at You.” It’s a perfect illustration of everything I’ve talked about in this blog and it tells a GREAT story about a college professor who refused to engage his students in any way as he endlessly lectured to them for hours. It’s no surprise that the students found a way to engage each other in conversation during class but the professor lost all control of what topics were being focused on as well as what was being said . . . Like I said, the dialogue will happen with or without you.