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Action Plan Online, Part 9 of 12

When recovery is leaving you behind

Sep 1, 2010

by Lindsey Norris

Build your WOM

With the economy racing ahead at about the same speed as Potash Corp is eagerly racing towards a takeover by BHP (read: not at all) you’re probably looking for more customers. Why not use your current customers to spread the word? But generating word of mouth can be hard to do. Here, Lethbridge-based marketing consultant David Howse offers help. DAVID HOWSE’S WEBSITE:

Don’t mistake passive WOM for the real deal

Unlike business-to-consumer situations, “where a plate of cookies can make customers talk about you,” business-to-business arrangements can take more work, Howse says. Too many managers at smaller enterprises neglect WOM because of time constraints, or take it for granted because they have anecdotal evidence that customers are recommending them. But to be truly effective, you have to build a WOM strategy they same way you would any other marketing campaign. Ask how new customers heard about you, try to “wow” them and keep in mind the caveat of WOM: bad WOM spreads much faster and wider than the good stuff does.

Go beyond the call of duty

If there are things you can do or things you see that you can implement to save your customer money or time, by all means, do it. Just make sure you keep track of it and the cost to report back. “Start implementing the lowest costing ones at first, track how sales are affected, and keep adding value if improved sales justify doing so,” Howse says. Nothing makes people talk like saving money does.

Feed your clients

Literally. “A free lunch in itself can be WOM worthy,” Howse says. While there, talk about WOM. Then take it a step further and connect two of your clients. Before you know it, you are networking, and on your way to the holy grail of WOM – evangelization, when clients talk about you everywhere they go.

Action Plan 2010 in Print, Part 9 of 12: When recovery is leaving you behind

If you feel like your company wasn’t invited to the recovery party, consider pork.

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What to do when your business is left out of the economic recovery


September’s Action Plan Podcast: Tim Breithaupt of Spectrum Training Solutions, on selling in tough times
Click here to listen

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Tip Sheet

1 Cut costs and increase revenue
2 Look for ways to differentiate your product
3 Communicate with your supply chain
4 Treat your sales strategy as a hunter, not a gatherer
5 People are buying less. That means you need to sell to more people.

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