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List Moderator: Published by:
Adam Audette LED Digest
June 3, 2003           Issue #1592

--== Marketing Web Services ==--
~ Rod Aries

~ Rod Aries
"In order for 'word-of-mouth' to work, you have to
have clients to spread the word..."

From: Rod Aries
Subject: Marketing services

I always shudder when I read this about how short-sighted, or
lacking in comprehension, this comment is...

"word-of-mouth" is a great way to sell.

First, I agree that "word-of-mouth" is great way to sell, but almost always when I hear that comment, it originates from:

  1. someone who is broke
  2. someone who is lazy
  3. someone who has the money but is tight-fisted
  4. someone who doesn't know where to market
  5. someone who doesn't understand marketing
  6. someone who is actually getting a lot of "word-of-mouth" business, but, upon further review, realizes that if they had marketed more, they would have an additional, massive amount of "word-of-mouth" business, because instead of 20 happy customers, over a three year period, touting their pleasure with your service, you would have 50 clients, in a two year period, doing the same thing.

Essentially, "word-of-mouth" is an avenue of marketing, but it occurs AFTER you have clients, so it can take a long time to develop if you have a slow acquisition rate. Ideally, you shorten the time cycle so this can occur sooner rather than later.

Just a quick review: Marketing sends traffic to your site, Sales is what you do after traffic arrives.

In the real world, I was doing the publicly traded company, corporate-officer thing, with hundreds of employees. Then I got tired of people and problems - I just didn't want an endless array of, "Frank parked in my parking spot," "The vendor is late with their delivery," "Don't invite Katie to the meeting, it doesn't involve her department (I am mad at her)," "Remember Josie from two years ago, she just got a lawyer saying something about discrimination..." 

Since I had acquired a dozen properties for my company, I joined a commercial real estate group, thinking I knew a lot about it. I didn't. I got in with the largest apartment brokerage firm in San Diego, and all the principals were established and "word-of-mouth" worked for them.

They would come in late, get a phone call from someone, who was a friend of a friend, wanting to list a $4M property, sign them up, then take off for the day. Gawd, I thought, that is "word-of-mouth". It only took about 6 deals a year to live very comfortably.

I realized that they had 10++ years of experience over me. So, I did my own "word-of-mouth" program, I cold called (and I hate cold calling), and for 6 months straight, I called every day - all the time. I convinced myself that if I wasn't on the phone I wasn't making money - even though I wasn't making money.

Here is what happened - I went from the new guy with no listings, to closing about 50 deals in two years. I had a ton of "word-of-mouth" clients, but I didn't get them until AFTER I had clients. Interestingly, some of "my clients" were former clients of other brokers in the office.

NOTE: I am not advocating you spend / waste unreasonable sums of money or enter into a race to grow a company to 1,000 employees, what I am advocating is that if you have capacity in your company, be it a one-man show or larger, you need to market to get business, in a responsible, cost-effective, yet aggressive way.

The faster you get business, the faster you reach the capacity you want, and with "word-of-mouth" you will be able to sustain that income and ultimately, if you don't want to grow, you will be able to pick and choose from prospective clients.

The moral of the story: In order for "word-of-mouth" to work, you have to clients to spread the word, and if you want to shorten the "word-of-mouth" time cycle to get those clients, you need to front-load the number of clients you have. Of course besides marketing you have do quality work and keep your customers happy so they will spread the...


At your service,

Rod Aries

High Traffic Internet Marketing

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