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Blog 168: Why Word Of Mouth Doesn’t Work (for you)

Updated: May 12, 2022

Here is the scenario – You have done or do everything right and you kill yourself for better service, but as far as word of mouth advertising is concerned, it’s all quiet on the western front.

The good news is there are a million reasons why this isn’t happening, and I’m going to share enough of them to fix your wagon.

1. You are delivering commoditized products and services, mistaking them for staged experiences and guided transformation. In short, you’re confused but you don’t know it because what you’re doing feels right. That’s why you should keep reading the blog, my friend. I’m here to save you.

2. Meh. Whatever you’re doing isn’t enough. It doesn’t delight, surprise or engage. It works, maybe even really well, and you get it done early and at a very competitive rate, but then again, who doesn’t? If you think this is exciting, wait till you hear about Walmart! Excellent products and services are not enough, and this isn’t exactly news.

3. You don’t create any easy or obvious reasons for people to bring you up in conversation. Spend more time with your clients. Create spaces and places and events for them to experience you. When you confine your time with your clients to transactions, you commoditize yourself. This is a choice and a bad one. I bet the places where you spend the most money don’t make you feel like a transaction.

4. What you do for them isn’t relevant enough. We pay the most for products and services that are the most unique/different and personally relevant. While I might be willing to pay $500 for a full set of golf clubs, a more passionate golfer might pay $500 for a single club.

5. Niche. Niche. Weird. The more unreasonable you become about who your work is for, the easier it is to establish greater relevancy with your clients. Do your work for people who care. When you make golf clubs (or financial plans) for people who are passionate golfers willing to pay $500 for clubs, they care about them. They think about it. They talk about it. They know other people who feel the same way.

I know I know I know … But I don’t sell golf clubs. It doesn’t matter. The price is the story we tell themselves. In a pinch, a golfer with a $5000 set of clubs could win a round with a $500 set of clubs. What the customer is buying is who she thinks the club helps her become. Full. Stop.

Look at parts 1 and 3 again.

6. Create something to buy into. What’s your big purpose? What is it that you want to help your clients accomplish beyond financial security? What are the consequences of knowing you? How do you help make them better? What are you teaching them? What are you connecting them to? Solutions? Ideas? Other people?

This is what your clients want to talk about. Interesting conversations, lessons, experiences, ah-ha moments, new insights, adventures and ideas. Right?

7. I could go on and on but I’ve made my point. Everything leads to the same conclusion:

People will talk about you or not talk about you based on how you make them feel.

You can’t rely on word of mouth to grow your business if you have any of the problems that I listed above. Any one of them and you’re in trouble.

You have to change what business you’re in. You have to turn financial planning from a commoditized service where you are paid to perform tasks, to a staged experience where you are paid to guide.

The investments and advice are just tools. Talk about them as little as possible.

What will change the game is changing the game.

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