Think of a couple of your favourite clients. If they asked you a small favour, it took you seconds to do, and it would make them happy, would you do it?
Your Suppliers As A Word Of Mouth Channel
That’s what many of your suppliers would think too. And they can become a channel for your word of mouth stories.
But just like you’d feel put out if a client asked too much, so would your suppliers. So you do have to be respectful. And realistic about the extent to which they can help.
So what can you do? You can call or write to your suppliers. Perhaps starting like this in an email:
Subject: A small favour…
How are you? Well I hope. I was wondering if you could help me out? I’m looking for new clients, and wondered if you know any…
1. Be Specific
Let’s get back to that 80/20 thinking. Who are your best clients? Are they businesses or consumers? What sector are they in? What size? Location? If they are consumers, what is their profile?
If you can describe your very best clients, that’s the first step. If you said “anyone really”, then your chances of a referral decline. Instead, finish that request with something like this: “…companies or people that would need our services – for example [insert your examples here]”
2. Do They Have A Newsletter? Ask Them If They’d Run A Story
Many of your suppliers have an e-newsletter. In fact, which of them send you one? Maybe start with them so you can continue your message with:
“…Maybe you could mention that in an article I can write for the next edition of your e-newsletter?”
A newsletter requires content. And busy suppliers will welcome something they can say which helps their clients.
The question is simple – can I help your clients with some expert knowledge on what I do – for free?
This is where you can blend education and client stories together. Outline how (a potential client) can overcome a challenge.
Illustrate the article with excerpts from your client stories.
But also ask your supplier for an introduction such as:
“Guest poster this month is one of our valued clients. They show you how to [overcome a particular challenge your services or product addresses], but they also showcase [your client] and how they experienced [the results].”
3. Create A Win-Win – Mutual Newsletter Recommendations
Do you like that supplier? Would you in fact recommend them? Well why not create a story for them and put it in your newsletter?
They are much more likely to reciprocate – despite the fact they may wish to keep you onside – but win-wins are always better.
Checklist For Your Supplier Word Of Mouth Request:
- Ask for referrals to specific types of clients
- Ask them to disseminate your client stories via their newsletter
- Or, using a word of mouth consultant, offer a mutual newsletter story as well as a recommendation email going to specific targets
Ask The Author A Question – And Get A Personal Answer
Your message goes directly to the author (you aren’t subscribed to a list):
Either copy, adapt and paste these questions, or ask your own about this topic or any other topic concerning growing your business through word of mouth:
“Yes, but this doesn’t apply to me because [your reason]…so, what can I do?”
“I am in the [insert business type] sector, how can I grow my business through word of mouth?”
Or you choose?