The Word Of Mouth Influence Hierarchy
The hierarchy organizes activities of financial professionals who brought in 10+ clients a year using word of mouth influence into four levels
You just ordered a meal at a restaurant. You’re hungry and can’t wait for your favorite dish to be served. You try to be patient, but it seems to be taking forever. When your meal finally arrives, you enjoy it, but your view of the restaurant is poor because it didn’t meet your service expectations.
Similarly, your clients have expectations of your practice. And they’ll tell others whether or not you’re meeting their expectations. This is often referred to as word of mouth influence, and it can get prospects interested (or disinterested) in working with you. If clients share stories with friends about how you exceeded their expectations, those friends may want to become clients too. The trick is knowing what your clients expect, then making sure you’re meeting, and hopefully exceeding, those expectations.
Oechsli did research with financial professionals who gained 10 or more clients by word of mouth influence, meaning these new relationships were unsolicited. These financial professionals didn’t ask for referrals—the business came to them. Oechsli has created a four-level “Word of Mouth Influence Hierarchy” that identifies behaviors correlated with referral flow. The first level of the hierarchy is exceeding clients’ professional expectations.