Many of us would agree that the best form of "marketing" is word of mouth.
Somebody tells somebody else that if you want to buy your products and services they need to talk with you. Out of nowhere you get a call, email, text, dm saying "hey, I've been told I need to talk you".
In a structured form this is often called referrals. This is where you seek word of mouth recommendations. People do this as often they feel enriched just helping people, other people refer as they know that "you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours".
The problem with word of mouth and referrals is that it doesn't often scale
You go to a networking event and there are 100 people there, but how do you know which ones you need to speak to?
You go and get a drink and go up to the first person and how long does it take to qualify before you know they are the wrong people?
Like cold calling (telemarketing) you will know in your industry how many calls you need to make to make an appointment, the same with spam emails, you know how many emails you need to send to get a response. In both cases, the answer will be lots.
Let's say, it takes 10 calls to make one appointment, that means making one more call isn't good enough, you need to increase your call rate by a factor of tens.
If word of mouth marketing is so good, could we have word of mouth marketing on steroids?
Where word of mouth scales
Now imagine that networking event and you have a mate there and he or she is walking around and saying "if you are looking to buy x, you need to talk to Tim over there".
Now that would speed things up, yes?
How about if you had 48 people at the event saying, you need to talk to that person over there.
Just think about the scale you would have, the ability to speed up the qualification and your ability to talk to the right people. Here's a modern day, example.
Modern day, word of mouth marketing, at scale case study
As of the time of writing, they have had 48 people tell their networks to tune in.
That's 48 word of mouth referrals. 48 people saying, buy from Eric, Matt and Kevin.
The show is on for 45 minutes.
How much return would you expect from 45 minutes of cold calling, sending spam emails for 45 minutes or dropping advertising for 45 minutes?
But social media is about posting photos of your lunch!
In the breakfast burrito they
- Have guests on who are industry influencers or senior people in organisations
- Promote industry news
- Select a post of the week to highlight an individual from a particular organisation
It's informative, it's educational, it's entertaining ... there are no corporate brochures.
And every time they run it they get more followers and people who want to connect and more conversations. And conversations drive sales.
The is 21st century network and 21st century selling!
When you are sitting down working out where your budget is going to go in 2022, maybe the place to get a return is on social?
So who's doing this?
In case you missed it, the Bank of America’s Merrill Lynch have banned cold calling and have moved all their people to social selling. This isn't some trendy tech company that might have decided to do this on a whim, this is a very conservative financial services company that has made a decision based on data.
But surely cold calling has a better ROI than social selling? Not according to Merrill Lynch.
"They will also be encouraged to contact prospects over LinkedIn, which has a higher hit rate than cold calling"
“Social selling is not an option now it is the way of the world and you either learn and execute it or fear getting left behind”
Kevin Murray who is the Head of Sales at MacArtney Underwater Technology recently posted about his success with social selling here and wrote an article about the transformation that has happened in sales here.