#6 – Word Of Mouth Can Actually Hurt Your Business

Michael MignognaLeave a Comment

episode 6 word of mouth marketing
Scrappy Wins
Scrappy Wins
#6 - Word Of Mouth Can Actually Hurt Your Business

“Word of mouth is how I get most of my business.” Sound familiar? If you’re a small business owner, you’ve probably uttered those words once or twice. And that’s great! Word of mouth is fantastic. Or is it… In this podcast I go into detail about how word of mouth can actually work against you and the exact things you can do to prevent that from happening. Check it out. And don’t forget to subscribe via the podcast app on your iPhone or iTunes on your computer.



Hey, this is Michael Mignonga and welcome back to Scrappy Wins. Today, I’m going to talk about word of mouth marketing and how it might be killing your business. Here we go.


So the big question is this: how are small business owners like us, who don’t have huge digital marketing teams, who don’t have web developers and designers, who neither have unlimited funds nor unlimited time … How can we get the digital marketing stuff done and the exposure we need to build our businesses while remaining profitable?

That’s the question. In this podcast, I’ll give you the answers. My name is Michael Mignogna and welcome to Scrappy Wins.


I’ve been thinking about word of mouth marketing a lot lately, because I hear it from so many current clients, I hear it from prospective clients that I’m talking to about whether or not digital marketing would be an effective means of getting new business for their business. There are many, many, many small businesses out there that do not do much marketing at all. They rely solely on referrals from friends, referrals from past clients, and things like that. That is a fantastic thing to be able to live off of. If you’re able to do work that’s good enough that it generates enough business to keep you going, that’s fantastic. It’s a little scary, because you have to rely on your past clients to basically market for you and to spread the word that you are worth hiring.

If you do a good enough job, people will vouch for you. The thing that I want to talk about today, which I think is a little bit counterintuitive … Or not so much counterintuitive, but I think it’s something that people don’t even consider, is that word of mouth can help your business a lot. There’s also a chance that it’s hurting it, because it goes both ways, okay? Just as easily as people can recommend you, they can also recommend that people do not use you. I think what’s really a powerful thing for small businesses to get in the habit of doing is not only asking people if they’re happy, but asking people if they’re unhappy. Figuring out ways to figure out if they’re unhappy.

The question is how do you find out if your clients, both current and past, are happy or unhappy with the work that you did for them? Put simply, you have to ask them. I’ll get into how to do that shortly.

Let’s say they give you negative feedback. They weren’t happy with some aspect of your business or when dealing with you. What do you do? What is the opportunity there? Because it’s actually huge. The opportunity there is to fix whatever it was that they’re unhappy with or to … Not just fix it so that you don’t do it again in the future, but fix it with that actual client. You can actually say, “Oh, you didn’t like the way that we repaired this thing on your house? Well, let me fix that for you at no charge.” “Oh, you didn’t like the way you were treated at the front desk of our office? Well, why don’t you come back in and get this procedure or product for no charge? We would love to make it up to you somehow.”

Sure, it costs a little bit of money, but it costs a lot more money if you think about what the lifetime value of that client or customer would have been had they continued buying your stuff and purchasing your services, and how much more money you would have made had they been happy and recommended you to their family and friends and whomever.

Word of mouth is super powerful. That’s absolutely true, but it’s powerful both ways. It can get you more business and it can also lose you a ton of business. It’s important to make sure that you provide a truly good product and service. Then, when you do screw up, because it’s inevitable that it’s going to happen, that you’re aware that you screwed up and you’re aware that someone is unhappy and that you fix it. Fixing it, oftentimes, results in a fan for life. People that will tell the story of how you fixed it. They will evangelize your product and service for you, right?

The question is how do you find out if people are not happy? There are a couple different things you can do. Asking is obviously the simple answer, but how do you ask? One of the things you can do is reach out either by text or email shortly after having given a service to a particular client or sold a product to them. You can say, “Hey, so-and-so. Thank you so much for your business … Or thank you so much for purchasing our product or using this service, blah-blah-blah. I just want to know if you would ever recommend our business or product or services to a family member or a friend? Just reply back yes or no. Then, no hard feelings either way, but I just would love to know because I care. Regards” and then your name. Done. Right? Now, not everyone’s going to answer that. That’s true, but some will.

The one’s who are particularly upset might reply no. They might go off on a tangent on what it is that they weren’t happy with. That’s awesome. It’s not great that they weren’t happy, but it’s great that they’re sharing why. It’s an amazing opportunity for you to get, hard as it is, feedback that matters. Because then you can reply and say, “Oh, my gosh. I’m so sorry. Let me fix it.” Then, you can come up with ways to fix it. Then, you can fix it in the future so that it doesn’t happen again. That’s a really powerful thing to do.

Now, what if they reply back that yes they are happy? Well, that’s great. If they reply back that they are happy, well then you can reply to them and say, “Oh, my god. That’s amazing. I’m so happy that you’re happy. It was a pleasure serving you. I would love it if you would leave me a review on” and then you can pick whatever site you want them to leave you a review on. Google, Yelp, Facebook. Whatever site you want. That’s a great way to get more reviews for your business. Reviews are huge. I mean, I’ll go into detail about reviews in a future podcast, but online reviews are like gold nowadays.

Word of mouth. Word of mouth is really important, but it’s also really important to appreciate the fact that word of mouth goes both ways. It can both help and hurt your business. Word of mouth is great if the word of mouth is positive. If it’s negative, that’s dozens and dozens of people per unhappy client that you might never get to purchase your stuff or use your services. That sucks. The only way you know that is if you ask. Come up with a way to ask.

I think the advice about how to ask that I give is helpful and it works. Before I go, I’ll leave you with this. If you’re interested in this sort of technique, but you don’t have time to send emails or texts … You really should send both … To each and every one of your clients, and you also think it might be a little invasive texting them or emailing them from your business email address or from your cellphone, there is an amazing software that we use and that our clients use to automate this entire process. You upload a list of your clients. You could do it daily, weekly, or however often or not often you want. We can actually upload it for you on a weekly basis or a daily basis. What it does is it automatically sends out the text and email, or just email or just text depending on how you want to set it up. It asks if they would recommend your business to a family member or friend.

Then, there’s two buttons in the email. One says yes and one says no. If they click no, it goes directly to a page that is quarantined, meaning that it’s not public-facing. Only you the owner, and whomever else you give access to, maybe one of your administrative assistants or something like that, can see the negative feedback that they leave and the star rating that they give you. Only you can see it so that you can follow up with them, which is really, really amazing. You don’t have to worry about replying back on email a million times.

If they click yes they would recommend your business, it automatically takes them to Google or Yelp. The review screen is right there in their face so that they can click five stars and leave you an amazing comment like, “Awesome business. Love it. Recommend it to everyone.” Then, they click submit. One click and they can leave you a review. We have clients that have over 100 and 200 Google reviews and Yelp reviews because they are using this software.

You can do it yourself. The software does cost money, so you can do it yourself. In fact, there are ways to do it yourself that are really interesting and I can explain those in detail if you reach out to me or maybe in a future podcast. There’s some good information in this one, so you can kind of get started. If you’re interested in the software, I encourage you to reach out to me. It’s not expensive. It’s totally worth it, because honestly, think about it.

If you were considering getting a procedure done or buying a product or using someone for a particular service, and you had three companies or people that you were considering using. One of them had seven total ratings and a total 4.5 stars on Google. The other one had a 4.2 stars on Google and 10 star ratings. Then, the third guy had 4.6 star rating, which is not much better than the others or maybe even a little less good, but they had 150 reviews. That’s a huge deal. Personally, I would pick the one that had 150 reviews and more than four stars. It doesn’t matter if the other guys had 4.8 stars instead of 4.6. They only have seven reviews. I’m picking the one that has 150 reviews and more than four stars.

Your business can have that too. You just have to put the work in. You can either do it yourself or have the software automate it for you and it’s also more effective. Either way, it works. You just have to put the work in.

That’s really it. That was a lot of info, I think. I think it’s super helpful for small businesses looking to get more business and really have some ROI for the expense of the software. It’s completely worth it. Anyway, that’s my advice for the day. Word of mouth marketing goes both ways. If it’s positive, it’s amazing. Sometimes it’s negative and you got to know when that’s happening so you can fix it and so you can prevent it.

That’s it for today. I hope that helped anyone listening. My name is Michael Minyona. Reach out to me if you need me. You can check out this podcast by going to ScrappyWins.com. S-C-R-A-P-P-Y W-I-N-S dot com. That’ll take you right to the podcast feed right on my website. You can reach out to me via email: Michael@Minyona.com. That’s Michael@ M-I-N-Y-O-N-A dot com. That’s it. Get Scrappy. Get started. Don’t wait, because you’ll never be ready. Thing’s will never be perfect. See you next time.