Word-of-Mouth Marketing FAILS – Successful Entrepreneur Laments (mp3)

You can download my interview with Frank Gillham (it’s just 6 mins.) here:
http://expertsmp3.s3.amazonaws.com/FrankGillham-on-Marketing-with-JohnFox.mp3

Just after completing my third webinar on my new Book Publishing Workshop last week, Frank Gillham called.

Frank is founder/CEO of Funding Architects in Tyler, Texas. Known as “capital campaign strategists,” his firm works with non-profits on their capital campaigns.

His pitch is simple:

While leaders of non-profits (churches, for instance) are skilled at their particular mission, it’s rare if that same leader is capable to raise the funds necessary to support the cause. Given that most capital campaigns occur (at most) every 5-7 years, there’s little opportunity to develop any fundraising expertise.

The cool thing about Frank is that he’s not some young pup. Frank is 80-years old. He’s even got a 10-year plan! And no, he’s not retiring any time soon.

But his phone call to me was about his greatest regrets: Relying on Word-of-Mouth Marketing.

What’s wrong with Word-of-Mouth Marketing?

I’ve always said that if you’re going to rely upon Word-of-Mouth Marketing as your main source of leads, you better have a lot of mouths talking you up. It’s a numbers game.

But Frank’s complaint about Word-of-Mouth Marketing had nothing to do with it being a numbers game. No, Frank’s issue is that Word-of-Mouth Marketing isn’t strategic. By definition you can only get more of the same customers you already have.

That really struck me as some very wise advice. I thought about it over the weekend, and then called him Monday to have him repeat it so I could record it and share it with you.

It’s just 6 minutes. Well worth a listen. Feel free to forward.

Download and listen here:
http://expertsmp3.s3.amazonaws.com/FrankGillham-on-Marketing-with-JohnFox.mp3

I look forward to your comments.



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  • http://www.knealemann.com Kneale Mann

    Hey John,

    We discussed this on our call this week. Colleagues, clients and prospects all seem to default to the same response when we ask the simple question about building their sales pipeline. They say clients/customers comes from referrals and word-of-mouth. Two issues are going on – they may not trust you and/or they don’t actually know how they are building their business.

    I have a client who says “the mind reading machine was stolen and authorities have no leads” which is a great reminder that we cannot hope others know what we offer or how to work with us.

    I consulted a large real estate firm for 18 months and reminded the team often that there are three main events that happen when you become a real estate agent – you get your licence, get your office and get your clients. And what is unique in this industry is that every year, they start with zero clients. The pipeline is people buying and selling homes which means each client will do it (on average) every 3-5 years so you know A LOT of relationships to stay in business.

    Sales is a numbers game but simply asking a lot of people isn’t enough if you’re asking the wrong people for business. I can say that with great certainty as I see over 250 meetings in 18 months with many prospects who weren’t going to hire me. It’s a tough lesson to learn.

    The process begins with you and as Frank points out – and far too many seem to do this – people are not clairvoyant when they are looking for your services.

    We need to be clear on what we offer, ask the right people, ask those we work with and have worked with for referrals and be on the front lines as you pointed out in the interview. Great reminders.

  • John Fox

    Great points, Kneale. I’d also add this: If you’re co-opting your friends, relatives, colleagues and other business contacts as your sales force, for goodness sake, make it easy for them to refer the RIGHT customers to you.

    Real-life story for me: After doing the same thing for the last 20+ years, you’d think my family would know what it is that I do. But no.

    My sister (God love her) asked if she could introduce me to people she knows. And then she says, “So remind me again, what is it that you do? What are the kinds of people you’d like me to introduce you to?”

    To help her (and me), I sent her the following profile of the person/business I do my best work for:

    . CEO/owner
    . Business-to-Business (B2B)… No consumer, retail, or professionals like Dentists, Doctors
    . In business at least 3 years… not a start-up
    . At least 3 outside sales reps. Extra points if they sell through distributors, resellers, VARs
    . Consider themselves to be “a best kept secret” or a subject-matter expert
    . Dissatisfied with their marketing (their sales reps are screaming for leads) and want to invest
    . Probably have a stale website that’s doing little to generate leads for them
    . Most likely sell some kind of technology OR they want to reposition their product in a new way to take advantage of technology.

    Do you have a profile like this to provide to your referral network?

  • http://www.sagestrategy.com/ Business Plan

    This is such a fantastic wealth of information and ready-to-use tips! Thank you . Congratulations!!