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Word-of-Mouth: The World's Best-Known Marketing Secret

Everyone knows about it, but hardly anyone does it well. It's time to change your approach to word-of-mouth marketing.
July 1, 2002
URL: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/53188

What if there were a way to build your business, year in and year out, regardless of fluctuations in the economy or the activities of your competition? Well, there is. It's called word-of-mouth. Word-of-mouth marketing truly is the world's best-known marketing secret. You're probably wondering how anything can be both the "best-known" and "a secret" at the same time. Easy. Practically every businessperson knows how important word-of-mouth marketing is. Yet almost no one truly understands how to build their business through word-of-mouth.

Some people think that word-of-mouth is a little like the weather: fairly important, but not much they can do about it. Many others think that it's just about good customer service, but it's not. Don't get me wrong-good customer service is critical for the success of any business, but if you expect happy customers to talk about you a lot, think again.

For the past two decades, I've talked to tens of thousands of business professionals about word-of-mouth marketing and customer service. I've described how the "average unhappy client" can talk to dozens of people about their bad experience. I've then asked my audiences if their "average happy client" truly talks to as many people as a potential unhappy client. In two decades, no one has ever said yes to that question!

Unfortunately, people are more likely to talk about your business when they are unhappy than when they are happy or satisfied. Therefore, good customer service generally reduces "negative" word-of-mouth. However, the good news is, there are many things entrepreneurs and business professionals can do to positively impact their business through word-of-mouth.

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How can you deal with negative word-of-mouth? Try these strategies .