In my prior blog post, “Six Keys to Successfully Manage the Growth of Your Business,” I enumerated the six keys to successfully managing the growth of your business. Let’s take a more in-depth look the second item on the list – Find, track, and develop the people who refer you business.

Word of mouth marketing was regarded as the single most effective marketing investment by more than half (55%) of the business owners surveyed in the SunTrust best practices survey. Today customers are inundated with marketing messages, emails, tweets and social media messages, too many to differentiate the messages. The one source that still stands out as reliable and credible is the referral from a trusted source (or word-of-mouth).

A good way to generate word- of –mouth is to use customer satisfaction surveys to identify your biggest advocates, discover unmet customer needs, and ask for referrals. You can also use these advocates as a dynamic, enthusiastic sales force for your company.

The following chart is a result of the SunTrust best practices study:

  1. Customer satisfaction surveys or suggests 27%
  2. Customer referral program 14%
  3. Excellent customer service 11%
  4. Partnership to share customer access (co-marketing agreements) 10%
  5. Local networking groups 8%
  6. Public relations to generate free press 8%
  7. Web search engines, listings or markets (e.g. eBay) 5%
  8. Newsletters to customers 3%
  9. Local sponsorships ( sports teams, events, etc) 1%

So the bottom line is capital or lack thereof doesn’t need to be an impediment to your growth strategy, just another challenge among the many faced by entrepreneurs. So do your homework, touch your customers and leverage the value in your brand.

Louis Partenza is a business leadership consultant and partner of Activate Group Inc, based in Miami, Florida. His firm works with companies to deliver transformational management and business coaching to their executive leadership. To learn more about business leadership coaching through AGI, please visit activategroupinc.com, contact Lou at (305) 722-7215 or email him.

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