The Power of Word of Mouth Referrals

July 2020

Last year, 92% of my business came through referrals from clients who recommended me which led me to thinking about the power of word of mouth referrals in business. It can build a reputation, but can kill it too. Listen to this short clip and discover the three things you must do to gain word of mouth referrals.

The Power of Word of Mouth Referrals

This month we’re talking about the power of word of mouth. Now, I happen to be going through my 2016 figures last weekend, and to my amazement, I found that 92% of my business came from word of mouth referrals. Now, not blowing my own trumpet, but that figure even took me by surprise. And then it got me thinking. Why was it so high? I was discussing it with Sarah, a previous client and marketing expert. He said, “Well, look, there are three things that people value most: trust, communication, and above all, knowledge that you will do what you say you’re going to do. You have all of those nailed.” Well of course, I blustered the compliment while secretly high-fiving myself under the table. But look, joking aside, she is spot on with those three things.

I believe they should be sacrosanct no matter what business you’re in. Absolutely demonstrates that you care and have the needs of your client at the forefront of everything you do. I can bet you think of a dozen times when you’ve been let down in all those areas. The builders who go AWOL halfway through a project, the colleague who never responds to an email, customer services who say they’ll call you back and they never do. And what do you do when you’re looking for a top-notch restaurant or need to find a good tradesman for a job? You ask the people you know for help. As a result, you’re more likely to use that trade or service that’s been recommended to you by a trusted source. Lower risk, no hassle. Makes sense.

The power of these three things were demonstrated very clearly in a recent case of a client of mine who is trying to sell her home. Before I became involved, she promised a top-service marketing package by her previous agent. Through rose tinted spectacles, she envisioned a world in which her house was being fought over by a queue of adoring buyers. The first six weeks they went really well, lots of viewings, agent did a solid job of keeping in touch, but when it hadn’t sold after eight weeks, it was as though the agent had vanished into thin air. So suddenly she was the one chasing with the phone calls and the emails, and it made her feel like a nuisance. Thankfully a friend of hers recommended me, we quickly got to grips with the situation, upgrading photography, overhauling the whole brochure, marketing strategy, online entries, viewing arrangement, etc. We relaunched the property with renewed figure. The agent delighted to have some additional ideas from a property consultant who has 15 years of experience plus an increasing client contact.

As a result, in five weeks of the relaunch, we’ve secured the buyer. Client’s obviously delighted, agent back on the right terms with refreshed enthusiasm, and myself keeping a proactive check on progress. However, underlying problem lies where everything had gone amiss previously. The client told her friend who mentioned it to another on Facebook, who then shared a post about it. Like a virus, the bad experience had been disseminated across hundreds of people within minutes. Whilst the end result was good, the damage had already been done. As I said, one should never lose sight of the power of word of mouth. Whether you’re in business yourself or a client looking for a good product or service, a good reputation can take years to earn, but only a moment to lose.

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