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You smell the fresh cut green grass. The baseball field you see is so well manicured professionals would be proud to play on it. The four bases are an equal distance apart. The base paths are so clear and easy to follow.

If only business could be so easy and have only 4 bases to get to before you score big revenues.

How base pads are the 4 Steps to Converting More Recommendations, Referrals Into Paying Customers

by cliff1066™ of Flickr

There are many avenues of business. But the one business owners often tell me is their biggest source of new customers is word-of-mouth. Business owners often tell me “my advertising is almost all word-of-mouth. I do a few little paid ads but it’s mostly word-of-mouth.”

If you’re familiar with the 80/20 rule, also known as the Pareto principle, that’s what we’re going to focus on here. We’ll make the assumption based on data and feedback from business owners that word-of-mouth recommendations can lead to at least 80% of sales and business growth… when done properly.

The baseball field has 4 bases. These are the “4 Bases” to turning a word-of-mouth recommendation into a paying customer or patient. Author Malcolm Gladwell showed most recommendations come from what he labeled a “weak tie”. The “weak tie” means that say Sally recommends your business to Jenny. Jenny only sees Sally once or twice per year. So the recommendation is valid but Jenny’s going to do further research by googling you and more.

1st Base

Online customer reviews are the key to getting to and rounding first base. If you have under 10 reviews or your most recent 3 reviews are four months old and older then your business isn’t past first base. Once you get to 10 reviews and beyond as well as having a review or two that’s within the last 2 weeks, then you’ve rounded first base and are heading for second base.

At this point when a customer googles you, your business looks legitimate. This prospect sees that you’re still operating because of your current reviews. And they see you’re also established because you’ve got over 10 reviews.

The catch

Unfortunately, there are many websites that seek customer reviews. The two big ones you’ll probably want to focus on are Google and Yelp. You’ll want to get to 10 reviews and beyond on each of these sites. So your goal is more than 20 reviews total.

Google your business. Google your competitors.

Which two or three reviews sites does Google’s show in those top 5 unpaid listing spots?

This little bit of research gives you the answer to which two or three reviews sites you must focus on in your industry. When Sally recommends your business to Jenny, Jenny is going to Google your business. Make sure you have good reviews on the two or three review websites that Google shows to Jenny.

2nd Base

Getting to and rounding second base involves media credibility. If you can get featured on many major media websites, then you can use those logos on your website. This ratchets up your business’ credibility in your prospect’s mind massively. The prospect sees you’ve got all this media coverage and your competitors don’t. Who do you think the prospect will continue with?

3rd Base

Getting to and rounding third base involves a personal connection with this prospect Jenny who’s researching you. The most powerful and only real way to do this online is through… video. Video can take many forms. The ones you’ll want to focus on are an “about your company” video which tells Jenny a little bit about you and the key players in your company. It also tells about your company’s philosophy and company culture.

If you can get interviewed in a news style video interview and add this to your website it boosts your credibility. The third type of video you want to have are “topic expert” videos. Basically, you know the topics and questions your customers are asking. You and your team get on video talking about industry topics and answering these questions which proves your expertise.

Finally, maybe the most powerful form of video… customer reviews.

Here’s an example:

With smart phones these days it’s super easy to get customers to give you their feedback on video. Just ask “You’re pretty photogenic. Would you talk for 20 seconds about your experience with our company?” If they say ‘yes’, then just fire up your smartphone’s video recorder. Publish these customer review videos prominently on your website. Nothing sells better than proof. The most powerful form of proof is a video of a customer praising and recommending you.

Home Plate

Coming into home plate and scoring involves customer follow up. By consistently communicating with your customers via e-mail, postal mail, and even phone will allow you to score repeatedly. Your customers will buy from you much more often and tell all their friends about you. The most profitable businesses in the world make this the linchpin of their business strategy.

So get out there and start “rounding the bases” in your business. Where you have weak spots assign a team member and develop internal company processes so you’ve got each of these bases covered. The profitability of your business will soar once you do this.

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