Networking Expert Donna Fisher

Who she is: Donna Fisher is an entrepreneur at heart. She loves creating and growing fun and profitable businesses. For 20 years, she has had her own business as a speaker/trainer for corporate meetings, conferences, and conventions. A Certified Speaking Professional designation (CSP), she presents programs on “People, Power, and Possibilities.”

What she does: Donna is the co-owner and president of HiHat, Inc., a manufacturing and retail business for drums and percussion instruments. The growth of her store, Percussion Center—156 percent growth from 2002 to 2009 and 20.8 percent from 2007 to 2008—led to the creation of her training program, “Drumming Up Business.” In 2004, her creativity and love of crocheting led to the development of three new products, the camishawl, the Sharap and Chakra Shawls. Her product line is Soft & Luxurious, custom-designed and hand-created, wearable textiles.

Why she does it: “My mission is to be a catalyst for people to communicate and relate with respect and dignity and connect with people to make a difference,” she the woman who has also written five books: “Power Networking,” “People Power,” “Power NetWeaving,” “Switched-On Networking,” and “Professional Networking for Dummies.” They have been translated into four languages, recommended by Time magazine, and used as reference books in corporations and universities.

How to Spur Word-of-Mouth Marketing to Fuel Success

By Donna Fisher
Professional Networking for Dummies

If I am not treated well at my local dry cleaners, I not only won’t go back there, I will tell others of my unpleasant experience. People talk! We talk about our frustrations, disappointments, poor service, and inadequate products.

Statistics indicate that every unsatisfied customer tells at least eight people about their unpleasant experience. People tend to readily talk about unsatisfactory service, and yet what you want is to have them talk about great service.

Imagine if every person who came to your business told eight people about how you are enhancing the lives of people every day. The people you serve are your best vehicle for positive word-of-mouth marketing.

Here are some great tips for generating word-of-mouth marketing.

1. Create a memorable, easily repeatable value statement. Decide what it is that you want people to say about your business. What do you want people to think of when they think of your business? Make it easy for people to talk about you by giving them the words to say.

2. Provide quality service, and most of all, treat people with respect. Make sure respect is present in everything you do and say. Respect creates a feeling of honor that nourishes people at a soul level. Communicate your commitment to “respect” by the way that you speak; for example, “We respect the difficulty you must face when …” “We respect your need to …” “We want you to feel like you’ve been treated with the respect you deserve …”

3. Ask people to spread the word. Ask people to help you reach others who can benefit from the services you provide. With a little encouragement, individuals will help you spread the word to others throughout the community.

4. Give people something great to talk about. Do something exceptional that makes people want to talk. What can you do that will just naturally get people talking? It could be a community project, a new service, an in-house program. Be willing to be creative and do something extraordinary that gets people’s attention.

5. Stay in touch with people. By staying in touch with people, you increase the chance that they will mention and recommend your business to others. There are always plenty of reasons for being in touch with people. Make sure you don’t get too busy to ignore those nudges to call people. Be aware and alert to opportunities to be in touch.

6. Acknowledge people. Acknowledge people for being clients, contributors, vendors, community supporters. Make sure that the people in your life realize they contribute to the work that you do. Include people in celebrations and acknowledgements regarding the impact that the business is making in people’s lives.

Does your community really know about the value and benefit of your services?

If not, they should, and it is up to you to get the word out. You can initiate a word-of-mouth grapevine that creates positive visibility and exposure. Creating this type of visibility is critical—it is the way that the people who want and need what you have can find you.

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