Entrepreneur Garden 30: Please Let Me TESTIFY.

Remember back in 2nd grade, when life was simple? The most responsibility that I had in my life was making up my bed and finding a way to convince myself to stay seated in class and not speak out of turn. You see, I really liked to talk (which makes perfect sense now) - but then, there was just something about being a seven year old with a lot to say that didn’t sit well with my teachers. It’s no wonder that one of my favorite activities in elementary school also involved talking - playing the game telephone.

For those of you who may have fading memories, telephone was the game were you and all of your classmates sat in a huge circle Indian style… (wait, that’s no longer PC)… let’s just say criss cross applesauce… and the teacher would be the “operator” starting off by whispering a phrase to one student. For the sake of this post, let’s say that the phrase was, "EntrepreneurGarden is the best business blog in America." That first student would then tell the student next to them and then that student would tell the next, and so on, until the phrase made it all around the circle - but they could only say it once, so if that student wasn’t paying attention, the message was sure to change. By the time the message got to the very last student, she would announce to the class what the telephone message was: "When I’m in Indianapolis, I go to Boogie Burger to get a garden burger with American Cheese." WHAT?! In the business world, this is a beautiful little thing we call “word-of-mouth”.

Usually, word-of-mouth is a great tool for getting new customers. Your previous clients tell their friends, and then they tell their friends, and in a perfect world, these referrals grow your business and you have a constant stream of new customers. But this isn’t a perfect world. The problem with word-of-mouth is that sometimes the messages that you or others are sending often get rearranged in the process of being passed from person to person. 

When people have a great experience, they tell one person. When they have a horrible experience, they tell ten people. It isn’t fair, but it’s a harsh reality. In this day of social media access, the messages that your customers are sending will have a lot more reach than that. It’s not uncommon to see tweets about disgusting food or rude service - it could be one cook or one waitress having one off day and now that one message sends ripples through social media, possibly changing your brand’s perception, all because of that one bad experience. But those seeing the messages don’t know that - and those who have never even been to your business may immediately associate you with those bad traits.

"We don’t believe you.. you need MORE PEOPLE." - JayZ

When people hear about the positives or negatives of a business, a lot of times, their next step is to visit that business’ social media account and/or website to get more information. This is your golden opportunity to control the conversation. It isn’t enough for YOU to say that your sweet potato cheesecake is the most delicious dessert in the state, because you’re biased. People want to hear this from others. In the world of business, testimonials are like Willie Wonka’s golden tickets and new customers are snatching them up to enter your establishment. In general, as a part of our human make up, people tend to follow what the group believes - why else is Nicki Minaj still a factor? and your business is no different. A few well-placed testimonials sprinkled throughout your social media networks and website can make a world of difference; and you are the operator in this game of telephone.

How has EntrepreneurGarden.com helped YOUR business? I’d love to hear from you. Please drop me an email testimonial: EntrepreneurGarden@gmail.com