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Word Of Mouth Can Be Your Best Marketing Tool
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By Richard Barry

Motivating Others To Tell Your Story For You

Sales-focused business people love buzzwords. Seminars, books and articles all push the hot marketing solutions, and salespeople and students of marketing incorporate the new vocabulary into their discussions. If you're looking for a revolutionary way to get customers, there's no shortage of phrases to use: database prospecting by the numbers; multi-level targeted/direct marketing; lead compilation from channels of distribution focus; cold call'em when they're warm.

Sales and marketing departments will find that there are definite benefits to using some of these approaches. Unfortunately, there are limitations to a strategy that puts too much emphasis on reaching prospects who know little or nothing about the firm or its products and services.

Our studies and experience indicate that businesses see better results by focusing on a simple marketing tool, one that's been with us for hundreds of years: word of mouth. This back-to-basics approach-- one that is too often overlooked--pays the most dividends for fewer dollars.

According to demographic research, 40 percent of Americans turn to friends and family when shopping for legal services and medical care, as well as for someone to work on their car. Positive word of mouth is also critical for business-to-business firms. Without positive word of mouth, banks, restaurants and other industries would have difficulty surviving.

Here are some ways to use word of mouth, along with some reasons why a marketing plan should not be without this component.

A motivated prospect is 80 percent more likely to make a buying decision.


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