Customer Referrals Are Word Of Mouth
Customer referrals have always been a powerful way of generating and closing sales. Way before the Internet existed, the effective Sales Representative would be trying to generate good customer testimonials to help convince prospects. Particularly when selling complex products or services, a satisfied customer can quickly give assurance that what is on offer will deliver satisfaction.
An interview that Andy Sernovitz had with Gary Spangler of DuPont brought this important factor home to me.
The key point being made in the interview is that B2B and B2C contacts are becoming increasingly similar and that word-of-mouth (WOM) works equally well for both. Even B2B business is done between two individuals, who are individuals first and members of their companies second.
A more fundamental reminder for me was that the Internet is all about making connections. Customer referrals can be establishing a connection between prospects and satisfied customers. Gary Spangler said that over the last year he had seen much more interest among business buyers in customer referrals. I would suggest that this is not that their interest is heightened but rather that they are becoming aware that the Internet facilitates such exchanges. Certainly any effective seller will ensure that the buyer’s appetite for WOM contact is satisfied.