You Can Build a Business Others Love Recommending
Do you rely on word of mouth marketing to promote your business? Are you wondering how to get more people to recommend your product or service? Would you like to learn how to build a business that others recommend highly?
Today you’ll discover what motivates people to give you recommendations. We’ll also examine the importance of attracting the right online influencers to recommend your business. Lastly we will look at the six steps that I use to get more positive recommendations for my business and how they can help you.
Let’s jump right in and learn how you can build a business that others will love recommending.
Know Why Your Customers Recommend Your Business
I was visiting my cousin in Connecticut when I had my first encounter with the popular East Coast grocery chain, Stew Leonard’s. While chatting over a couple of beers, my cousin gushed about how much she loved her grocery store.
She insisted on taking me along to the store to pick up some wine for dinner. She wanted me to understand what the Stew Leonard’s experience was all about. I suspect the real reason was to pay for the wine. She made an incredible incredible word-of-mouth recommendation about a store that she obviously loved!
What is Stew Leonard’s Rock of Commitment?
Prominently displayed at the entrance to every Stew Leonard’s store is a three ton rock of commitment. Stew Leonard’s Customer Satisfaction Policy is displayed on each of these rocks.
Stew Leonard’s Customer Satisfaction Policy is very simple and easily understood by everyone:
- RULE 1. THE CUSTOMER IS ALWAYS RIGHT!
- RULE 2. IF THE CUSTOMER IS EVER WRONG, REREAD RULE 1!
Stew Leonard’s Customer Satisfaction Pledge is so strong that it’s etched in granite. Stew Leonard’s does a great job connecting with people and they built sociability into their business from the very beginning. Their customer experience is designed to make every customer feel that they are truly part of a special experience when they are in the store.
There are some fairly consistent things, particularly in the age of social media, that companies should do to take advantage of this level of brand affinity. People love to share their experiences.
People feel compelled to share positive experiences with their friends. If you figure out why your customers recommend your brand, you then have an even greater ability to help them to do it.
Social Media Super Charges the Power of Online Recommendations
Online recommendations have a dramatic influence and a much bigger reach than face-to-face recommendations. Marketers have always felt that word-of-mouth recommendations were the Holy Grail that they were searching for. Today, social media transforms that power as if it were on steroids.
Now when someone says something positive about your brand, that endorsement can potentially reach millions of people.
Online Recommendations Can Explode and Go Viral
There are basically two types of recommendations that you can receive: implied or explicit. An explicit recommendation is told directly in person, through a post or from an online review that something about your business is great.
An implied recommendation can be something as subtle as liking a Facebook page or sharing a blog post. Even an implied recommendation can be powerful and influential.
Why do Your Customers Choose to Make Recommendations?
There are many reasons people eagerly offer recommendations to brands they love. We take our cues from others and tend to mimc what they do. If someone tells us how great a brand or service is and clearly are benefiting from it, we naturally feel that we want some of that.
We assume that if others benefit, it will benefit us as well. Quite simply, everything ties back to how others influence the decisions we make.
Your challenge as a marketer or business owner is to target the most passionate and socially influential of these individuals and give them a great way to experience your brand.
How do You Earn Positive Customer Recommendations
I recently read a terrific book by Paul M. Rand that is very pertinent to our topic of discussion here. In his book, Highly Recommended: Harnessing the Power of Word of Mouth and Social Media to Build Your Brand and Your Business.
In his book, Paul lays out six key steps to earn more positive recommendations:
- Develop a clear story about how people should talk about your brand
- Live your brand
- Be human and transparent
- Stay engaged
- Evaluate and evolve
- Structure a recommendable organization from the ground up
Think how you want people to recommend your brand and help them to do so. Set up your business in it’s entirety to deliver on that promise. Then monitor and track what people are saying, with particular attention to where, how and why people are saying it.
Each function in your business or organization has a crucial role in how your different partners will each view and recommend your business. This is not just a marketing role or responsibility. Everyone in your company should be focused on how people talk about you in everything they do.
What Post-sale Actions Will Encourage Recommendations
After you make a sale, don’t jump in immediately and ask for a recommendation immediately after a sale. The first thing you have to do is ensure that your customers are truly satisfied with their purchase. And find out if they have any questions.
Once you are assured that their experience was a good one, you can gently ask for them to share their great experience with others. You’ll find that many people are flattered to be asked and would be willing to write a review for you.
Monitor what people are saying about you and acknowledge it. If someone says something nice about you or your company, say thank-you. In addition, encourage them to stay connected and engaged with your brand. In his book Paul M. Rand calls this “high-fiving” your fans and you will be amazed at the results when you do it right.