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Talkers: Who is spreading word of mouth about you?

Great word of mouth starts with finding your TALKERS — the people who are going to tell their friends about you. 

Four big ideas about Talkers:

1. Talkers aren’t necessarily your best customers. Just because somebody buys from you doesn’t mean that they are the kind of person who likes to talk to their friends. To sound fancy: Word of mouth propensity has no correlation to buying behavior.  So don’t just grab the big-customer list from your database and send a request for them to start making referrals.  You need to look for the kind of people who like to talk.

2. Talkers aren’t superhuman "influencers".
There is a popular myth (started with the Tipping Point) that if you get the right cool kid to wear the cool new shoe in the right nightclub, then badda-bing: everyone is wearing the new shoe.  I take the opposite view: talkers are regular people.  One PTA parent recommends more products than any hipster. Find those regular people.

3. Timing makes a talker.  We talk about a new jacket immediately.  We don’t talk about a new computer until it is set up and working well.  We talk about a new restaurant after our first visit .. and maybe never again, even if we become regulars.  Think about when your customers are most likely to be bubbling with enthusiasm.

4. Talkers aren’t necessarily customers at all.
They are fans, friends, employees — anyone.  Here is my running list of potential talkers:

  • emplyoees
  • customers
  • fans
  • suppliers
  • your salespeople
  • salespeople at your retail distributors
  • reporters
  • bloggers
  • newsletter subscribers
  • the guy who comes in to check out the new stuff in the store
  • family
  • receptionists at your client

(This isn’t a complete list … comment and add more!)

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