I have spoken with hundreds of business owners and I have asked most of them how they get their customers.
One common thing I have noticed from small businesses is many of them rely purely on word of mouth.
Word of mouth is probably one of the best forms of getting customers because it’s inexpensive and can generate extremely high quality leads.
But if you only rely on word of mouth you’re playing on easy mode, for these same reasons. We’re all amazing at sales when we’re selling to our mom’s best friend and we can all close consistent deals when we have consistent referrals coming in.
I think many in this situation don’t realize that they are playing on easy mode. Getting leads from outside your network is much harder, you may have to do outreach, follow up multiple times and prove to the person they can trust you.
You will deal with rude prospects and time wasters that had no intention of working with you at all. You will have to spend many hours on outreach and invest back your profits into advertising and marketing. Sales and marketing will be a fulltime job for you or someone you hire on your team.
You will have to improve your sales process to deal with the tougher prospects, and maybe even your product offering. Only businesses that have perfected all the stages of their funnel will be able to succeed here.
Most business owners relying on word of mouth will never try playing on hard mode, because they are too used to getting leads for free. They are not ready to invest in marketing and advertising as it’s a big commitment with no guarantee of return. But if you can figure out how to play on hard mode, and hire the right people to make the process scalable you will will be able to take your business much further.
So word of mouth can be the best form of marketing since it can generate you high quality leads that can lead to a quick sale. But it can also be a crutch, and the thing holding your business back from being able to scale reliably. Word of mouth combined with a solid sales & marketing strategy is the best option for businesses looking to scale and willing to invest in their future.
Check out this LinkedIn post where I shared an experience related to this with one of my clients: