If you’re involved in BNI or any other networking community, and I sure hope you are, then you already understand the power of Word-of-Mouth Marketing. The reason it works is because what others say about you is far more powerful than anything you can ever say about yourself. When people who know and trust you enthusiastically talk about you to others, the result is far more impressive than any amount of advertising or other forms of marketing you might be doing.
Chances are good that a number of your networking teammates really believe in you, your business and your product or service.
In the 1980’s, a series of incredibly effective TV commercials turned a financial services company into a household name. The ads showed a busy social party where the room buzzed with people talking about various things, including their stock brokers. Amid the noisy bustle, one person would say something like, “My broker is E.F. Hutton, and E.F. Hutton said…” at which point the entire room would grow completely silent as everyone waited to hear what E.F. Hutton had to say. These ads ended with the slogan “When E.F. Hutton talks, people listen,” a phrase that became ingrained in popular culture.
There are a number of people within every networking group who have the same kind of influence. Better yet, chances are good that a number of them in your group really believe in you, your business and your product or service.
They know you well. They like you. They trust you implicitly. They may or may not have done business with you, but they enthusiastically talk about you. And because they are influencers, when they talk, people listen. These people will be the walking and talking marketing ambassadors for your business.
Finding your EFH team members
Who makes up your strongest EFH team members? Focus on quality not quantity. It would be unrealistic to expect everyone in the group to make up this team because even in the best groups that just isn’t possible. There will be a few members who naturally fit better then others with you and your business. The goal is to pick three people within your networking group who can provide you with that kind of enthusiastic word-of-mouth impact to promote your business.
This isn’t the same as a Power Team. BNI Power Teams are industry-focused, getting industries linked together so that they can provide related services more easily. In comparison, your EFH team is all about individual chemistry and can cross industry boundaries quite easily.
When you consider who your three team members should be, use the following as a guide:
- They are influential people whose recommendations and testimonials might carry special weight with your preferred/ideal clients (see the recent post on profiling your ideal clients).
- They know you and trust you. In fact, they have a special bond that could even be described as being “raving fans” of you and your business.
- They are willing to establish a reciprocal referral relationship with you. It must be reciprocal or it will quickly lose steam.
- They are in touch with your preferred client base regularly, but for different reasons than you. Your businesses compliment each other but don’t overlap. This allows the referral stream to flow naturally and continually back and forth.
Don’t just take anyone, even though most or all of your networking team members may be great candidates. Narrow it down to three people who are the best fit. By focusing in this way, you can maximize the impact with the least amount of extra time and energy. This becomes especially important as you work on the next part of the process: the work involved in nurturing your EFH team.
Roll up your sleeves and go to work
Next, work hard to develop a two-way relationship with those three. This means working hard to give them what they need, so that they can be encouraged to give you what you need.
Be proactive in thinking about their businesses.
Refer them as often as possible.
Find and send them articles and pieces of information that can help their business.
Hold one-to-one Business Building Interviews as often as possible so that you can equip yourself with stories and other detailed information you can use to talk about them. Make it an honor for someone to be on your word-of-mouth marketing team.
When you build and nurture your EFH Word-of-Mouth marketing team, you develop an exceptionally effective close-knit network that rapidly expands your influence as a business professional or expert.