WOM: The Most Powerful Marketing Activity

Word of Mouth Powerful Tool

By: Christine Hollinden

Word–of-mouth (WOM) is still the number one way to increase revenues, yet many firms settle for hoping that clients will automatically spread the good word. Unfortunately, they don’t. Why? It’s not because your clients don’t like your services; it’s because most firms neglect to give clients anything special to talk about. Consequently, your firm loses out on referral opportunities, as well as the all-important client-loyalty factor.

WOM is successful only when firms make a conscientious decision to do something unexpected that makes your clients say, "Wow, that was a great experience” or, “that was interesting; the competition certainly doesn't do that!" That great experience is often the result of something small or unrelated to the actual service provided. 

In other words, the client’s perception as to what constitutes a great experience may not be impacted by the quality of accounting, engineering, consulting, architectural or other service provided – they hired your firm because they know you know your stuff! Your client’s view of an outstanding client experience may stem from something seemingly insignificant like how they were greeted when they entered your office.

Of all of your current marketing efforts – online and offline - nothing is more important than what you're doing to encourage WOM referrals. To be successful, your firm must be remembered; to be remembered, you have to give your clients something to talk about.

With thousands of similar firms competing for a small wedge of attention, what are you doing to stand out? Here are a few ideas to jump-start your WOM marketing:

  • Identify why your clients hired your firm in the first place.
  • Create sound bites around key message points (the differentiators) for your firm.
  • Communicate the messages (subtly).
  • Look at every client touchpoint (communications, meetings, documents, etc.) and change the experience.

People everywhere are busy. They forget about your firm – even when they think the service is outstanding. The real key to getting your clients to say positive things about your firm and to send you more business is to continuously supply them with reminders – case studies, press releases, white papers, and the all-important art of conversation. And, the most important thing to remember...ask for referrals.