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The New Stuff

Word of Mouth - From Your Lips to the Client's Lips

What is the most powerful and valuable marketing resource you can have that you cannot buy? Your visibility and credibility. Your sterling reputation. One of the best ways to achieve that positive reputation is through word-of-mouth promotion. As Michael E. Cafferky, author of Let Your Customers Do the Talking, suggests, the reason word-of-mouth is so effective is that it is a natural, powerful, low-cost, and low-risk way to promote your business.

Also it's psychologically grounded: People like to talk, give advice, and make recommendations based upon their experiences.

Consequently, when customers or clients derive benefit from you ..., when they are satisfied with your service or product, they will hold you in high esteem. They will come to know, like, and trust you. They will have confidence in you. Furthermore, they will want to share with others their special knowledge of you and their gratitude for what you do.

Being concerned about quality and customer service is all very well and good for establishing and maintaining your reputation, ... but you need to help speed the word-of-mouth process along.

Fortunately, there are literally hundreds of simple actions you can take to do so.

But what you need to do first and foremost with a customer or client, is spend some time with them, not only before but also after the transaction. You need to relate to them as a person, not as a "buyer." This means getting them to talk about themselves as well as share their thoughts, feelings, attitudes, beliefs, and/or opinions.

How do you do this? You do this by asking them questions and then having them" tell you more" about what they share with you. This is not your typical police grilling. instead it is a friendly interchange. It's essential to remember that everyone wants to feel that what they think and feel is recognized by others as having worth.

After your initiation of a relationship with your customer or client, you need to follow up. But follow-up is frequently the bane of our business existence. Therefore, think of it as wanting to pursue a successful first date.

You cannot assume that the good feelings engendered by the date will simply continue by themselves. Unattended fires eventually burn out. This means you have to fan the flames. ... But, you have to do it in a friendly, indirect way. That is, you don't slap them about the head and shoulders with frequent sales offers.

That's feels very intrusive, slick, and crass ... as if you're not concerned with them as people, only with getting them to pony up some bucks.

Instead, you start with a personalized "thank you" or "welcome" note. This acknowledges to them their importance to you. It also recreates their warm first impression of you. You could let them know that you will be sending them a periodic hardcopy newsletter or ezine with helpful tips and solutions to common problems.

In your newsletter or ezine you could ask them in a brief survey what their most burning question. You could also ask their advice on how you can make what you do easier, more comfortable, more convenient, or more on-point for them. To reiterate, your clients love to be asked for their thoughts, ideas, and advice.

This demonstrates that you value their input and want to serve them even better. Furthermore, it helps keep the relationship embers warm as it keeps your name on the top of their head or the tip of their tongue. This way it can fall naturally onto the ears of others.

Signe A. Dayhoff, Ph.D., teaches professionals and entrepreneurs who are uncomfortable promoting themselves or have ineffective marketing strategies how to create profitable visibility and credibility confidently, professionally with integrity at low cost without selling through a relationship-based method called the "VODKAA Process."

Dr. Signe is a social psychologist and coach-consultant who has specialized for the last 24 years in teaching how to boost trust and liking through creating rapport with prospects, how to polish interpersonal skills and increase effective speaking and small talk, how to eliminate marketing reluctance and replace it wiith confidence and relationships, and how to become a valued and accessible educational resource to prospects and clients alike.

Author of five books and over 100 published articles, she has worked internationally with CEOs, attorneys, physicians and other health-care providers, CPAs, FBI agents, TV producers, writers, seminar presenters, computer programmers, and small businesses, for example.

Subscribe to her free monthly Get Your Ideal Clients Tips self-promotion ezine and claim your complimentary Marketing Self-Assessment at