Two Sundays ago, I got engaged. For the last couple of weeks I’ve been on cloud nine, and I cant stop staring at my new bling. Everything about the ring (and my fiance) is amazing, but it’s a size too big, so this morning I took a walk over to Downtown Crossing, the jewelry Mecca of Boston, to have the ring resized with the jeweler who had designed it. I’ve strolled through this area of town before, but I’m usually too busy people-watching (if you’ve ever been to Washington Street before, you will know what I mean) to notice that there are literally hundreds of jewelers on the main drag which is no longer than the length of a football field.
How on Earth did my fiance find a jeweler he would end up buying from amidst a sea of sparkling storefronts? There is no way that he could have just walked up to one out of the hundreds of stores and said, “Yup, this is the jeweler that I will spend my savings with…” Spending a large sum of money with a business that you have never heard anything about is just too risky.
Working for a Boston venture capital firm, this phenomenon got me thinking about expansion stage companies, and how the most successful businesses that OpenView has worked with have a reliable product that is in high demand, coupled with top-notch customer service. Your customers need to be raving about their experience of working with your product and the people. Word of Mouth Marketing and Influence Marketing are KEY to the success of any business that is trying to make It to the next stage of growth, particularly if you are starting off as a small fish in a big pond. Check out my colleague Jill Mirandi’s post about this topic that she wrote last week.
So why did my fiance choose Anthony of Boston Platinum on the 3rd floor of the Jewelers Building: It was a referral from a good friend who had just bought a ring for his fiance, and this friend had only wonderful things to say about the product and the experience. Anthony treats his customers with the utmost respect, and he makes them feel as though they are his top priority. Customers’ praise on major Social media sites is another way that the cream rises to the top, regardless of the industry. For instance, check out what people had to say about Anthony on Yelp.
CEOs who are at the point where they are looking for an investors should take a look in the mirror and ask themselves, ‘have my customers had a good enough experience with my product/services and customer support team that they would refer people in their professional OR personal network to my business?’ If you can answer yes to that question, then you are on the path to having a very successful business. At the end of the day, there is no more cost effective form of marketing than having your customers doing the work for you…