Something to Talk About
Do you enjoy making recommendations? On my last trip to Shanghai, I went out to dinner with a group of expats to a restaurant called People 7. The person who made the reservation was given a two-digit code: 64. When we approached the restaurant, all we could see was a concrete wall with an opening. There were no lights and no signage— just a dark staircase lit by candles, leading up to a grouping of nine lights in three rows of three.
One member of our party reached out and touched the 6th light and the 7th light, and a door opened on our right, revealing nothing more than a mirror: we had gotten the two-digit code wrong. He then pressed the 6th and 4th lights, and a door opened on our left letting us into the restaurant packed with patrons. The restaurant does no advertising, and there isn’t even signage or lighting to alert people to its presence. It’s all word of mouth.
PLEASE DON’T TELL
Recently I was in Chicago for a conference and had the opportunity to listen to Jonah Berger, PhD, a researcher for the Wharton School of Business. Dr. Berger is the author of two books, Contagious: Why Things Catch On and Invisible Influence, and he was discussing social currency. Dr. Berger told an interesting story of a hot dog stand in New York City marked with a large hot dog–shaped sign with the words “eat me” written in what appears to be mustard. A long flight of stairs leads down to a hole-in-the-wall restaurant offering 17 varieties of hot dogs. But sitting in the corner of the restaurant is a vintage phone booth with a classic rotary phone. If you pick up the phone and dial the #2, release it, and hold the receiver to your ear, a voice will come on the other end of the line and ask, “Do you have a reservation?” Of course you do not have a reservation, but today is your lucky day and apparently they can let you in. The back of the phone booth then swings open and you are allowed to enter a secret bar called “Please Don’t Tell.” No signs, no advertising—just an entrance through a small phone booth—and the bar is always packed. It has never advertised, yet it is the most sought after drink reservation in New York City, according to Dr. Berger.
Jim Meehan, the brains behind “Please Don’t tell” says, “The most powerful marketing is personal recommendation. Nothing is more viral or infectious than one of your friends going to a place and giving it their full recommendation.”
According to Dr. Berger’s research, 40 percent of what people talk about is their personal experience or personal relationships. People are more than willing to share their opinions and experiences, and there is substantial research and science behind the reasons why. Clearly word of mouth is a prime marketing tool for business.
What are your clients and customers saying about you? Have you asked them why they like to do business with you? When was the last time you actually talked to your customers or clients? Do you call them rather than emailing them? Have you asked them for a referral?
The more your clients or customers hear from you, the more they can buy from you. If you would like to find out how to increase your revenue and grow your business by word-of-mouth advertising, give us a call.