You know the saying, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know”? It’s who you know is all about word-of-mouth marketing. Earlier this week I needed:
- To hire a realtor
- To hire an electrician and
- To conduct market research
My search for the realtor began on the local Chamber of Commerce site for the city where I needed work done. The Chamber is kind of big and so is the city so I quickly got overwhelmed. I thought about reaching out to realtors in my neighborhood, but I needed someone who knew the city where I needed to negotiate a lease. So I reached out to a colleague who is well-known in the city. He recommended a realtor and within 24 hours, I had spoken to the realtor twice and emailed with him once. Within 72 hours he had already worked through an issue with the seller’s agent (after 5 on Friday of a holiday week), assigned an associate to work with us, and the associate called me before the week was out with confirmation that we were all set for an upcoming showing of the property. Home run! I was feeling really good about these guys because my colleague recommended them, but now I am on cloud nine and I haven’t even met them!
My search for an electrician started by essentially cold-calling some electricians in the city- only to get no response. So I contacted another colleague and got a referral. I sent an email- not even a call- and got not one, but two emails from two different company representatives within two hours. It turns out they were not the right kind of electrician for my needs, but one of the gentlemen called me and we talked for half-an-hour. During our conversation I learned that this nice man’s business was right around the corner from the place I was looking to lease-imagine that! I was able to find out from him some valuable information about the history of the location, occupancy of the entire neighborhood and some scoop on local competition. Oh and before we hung up, he gave me a referral of a good electrician who as he said, ‘has been around for 30 years and that’s good enough for me’. Me too. Market research AND a referral for an electrician. A two-fer during a 30-minute phone call with a man who wasn’t even able to gain any business from me. Another home run for me and let me tell you, one for him too b/c I am definitely going to recommend him next time I come across someone needing his kind of work.
So that brings us back to the electrician. I emailed the electric company that the nice man recommended. By now it was about 3 or 4 pm on New Year’s Eve, so I wasn’t expecting to hear from anyone. I was wrong… I got an email from a woman assuring me they could meet our needs for our upcoming meeting and that ‘Rusty’ would call me on Thursday morning. New Year’s came and went and wouldn’t you know, my phone rang bright and early Thursday morning? It was Rusty. And guess what? He was looking forward to meeting me for my upcoming meeting and he already had the address including the suite #. So not only did they communicate with me, but they communicated with each other. From my perspective they already have excellent customer service and they haven’t even done any work yet! Priceless!
Folks this is the power of word-of-mouth marketing. In this fast-paced, self-centered, age-of-entitlement world we are living in, I encourage you to take some time to get to know the people you work with, go to church with, belong to associations with, walk on the treadmill next to, and sit next to at your kid’s archery tournament. You never know when you’re going to need a referral, a job, a dog-sitter, a realtor, an electrician or some market research. It’s all who you know.