Taking Charge

The best word-of-mouth programs I’ve seen happen by design, not by accident or wishful thinking. Unfortunately, many businesspeople view word of mouth somewhat like the weather: “Sure it’s important, but what can I do about it?”

Based on more than two decades of research, observation, and practical experience, I’ve found that in addition to focusing on the important issue of customer service, the average businessperson has much to do in order to build a referral business.  Word of mouth can be planned and nurtured.  Anyone, including business owners, entrepreneurs, sales representatives, staff employees, even individuals serving in a volunteer capacity in any field, can accomplish plenty with a well-structured and systematically executed word-of-mouth plan.

All too often I have seen businesspeople waiting for business to walk through the door. They think because they are good at what they do, people should be flocking to them.  I’m afraid the truth is, it doesn’t work that way!  You have to take charge, no matter what business you’re in or how good you are, and bring the business to you.

I once saw a cartoon strip of two large, ravenous-looking vultures perched on a tree limb, overlooking a dry desert plain.  After quite a while, one vulture turns to the other and says, “Wait for something to die?  Heck, let’s kill something!”  So it is with word-of-mouth marketing.  You can’t simply wait for people to come to you.  If you do, one of your competitors who also provides good customer service will most likely find them before they show up at your doorstep.

If you want to succeed, you have to go get your business, or better yet, have someone else get it for you through referrals.

3 thoughts on “Taking Charge

  1. Thanks Ivan for reminding us all that we’re here in a competitive world where the only thing you have to wait for is a fat paycheck — and for the rest, you have to go out there and get them yourself. I think, social networking has made us quite lazy these days in making real and meaningful engagement with people or prospects. Sad, but true. Word of mouth still works best, I guess and having a top influencer do it for you is another challenge.

  2. Thanks so much for giving us this reminder, one thing we have within BNI is the ability to use our sales force to go on the street and I identify people who can use our services. We just need to make the first move. Thanks Dr. Misner once again for this blog.

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