Do we think we are really that different from the stereotypical cavemen?
We’d point to the civilised way we typically live, sat on comfy sofas, with our sophisticated homes and the astounding technology we hold in our hands which are thousands if not millions of times more powerful than the first computer which appeared in 1946.
It seems ludicrous to compare us with the caveman.
Mankind has been around for 2,500,000 years. The people we are today, homo sapiens, began to evolve 200,000 thousand years ago.
The steam engine was invented in 1698 or 317 years ago.
The industrial revolution kicked off 225 years ago.
But since we first exited the caves and stood upright, we have changed comparatively little when viewed against the almost vertical graph of the technological revolution we are in the midst of if plotted against our age as a species.
That’s why there is an immensely powerful secret lurking beneath the surface – it only requires a little scratch to see it. It’s a secret which can unlock an exceedingly powerful way of attracting clients.
We think mankind is changing just as fast as the huge leaps forward in technology. Wrong. Strip away the technology, the electricity available at the flick of a switch, and dump us in a remote part of the world, and we revert to type.
Robin Dunbar calculated that we have the capacity to maintain relationships with around 150 people. About the size of a small village.
And that’s how at our very core we act. We act like members of a much smaller tribe. And when it comes to purchasing decisions, survey after survey confirms that we prefer word of mouth in it’s various guises over all other forms of marketing.
So, we’ll trust the word of a friend. We’ll seek online reviews much more. In other words, we’ll tread the same path if someone else in our little tribe has trod before and survived.
Nowadays we live in virtual tribes. But the underlying DNA that runs our mental machinery is still in charge whether we like it or not.
This means the survival of our group is paramount. We depend on each other. That’s why we love bad news.
Vomiting after a restaurant meal? Who do you tell? It’s everyone. And rather vocally – perhaps even instantly via social media.
It’s to help your fellow tribe members survive and avoid danger. A great restaurant experience isn’t as urgent. There’s no danger, so no need to spread the word as quickly or as widely.
If you look up Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs, survival very much comes first. Further up his famous pyramid of human motivations is stuff like belonging to a group – the area in which good news lives.
So we do like to share good news, but typically it’s situational. Just 5 days ago, I was chatting about this restaurant example with a friend, and argued that I wouldn’t typically share the fantastic Mexican meal and restaurant experience of 2 days prior.
At that point, she said if I like Mexican food, a good friend of hers had opened a Mexican restaurant a mere 5 minutes away from where I lived. Why hadn’t she ever mentioned that before?
So, How Can You Give Positive Word Of Mouth A Gentle Push
The simple fact is we are pre-disposed to sharing good news because it assists our fellow tribe members. But it happens sporadically and situationally – i.e. when a friend complains about whatever, if we know a better solution, we’ll recommend it.
The intent is there, yet remains latent and untapped, just waiting for a prompt.
Think about the last great experience you had as a customer. Did you tell absolutely everyone you knew who could benefit about it?
If you were prompted to, would you tell them?
This is where most businesses simply take no action. They are afraid to ask their delighted clients to recommend them.
When I first started out on my path of discovery about word of mouth, I was producing client case studies. This is where I produce a story about a positive customer experience by interviewing the client.
I have now lost count of how many I have done. But not once has a delighted client declined to share their positive experience during a telephone or face-to-face interview.
A multi-page brochure or website about your wonderful product or service with thousands of words, can be outshone with a sentence or two from a delighted client in a short one-page article.
Just doing a little on word of mouth, encouraging your clients to recommend you can trounce thousands of pounds in marketing spend.
Take it further and make it a part of your business and central to your marketing focus, and you can thrive where others falter.
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