A little eye communication goes a long way for WOMM

6a00d8341d71f353ef0120a599f079970cLast week I wrote on various aspects of eye communication. A couple of experiences prompt me to write again – on how eye communication impacts word of mouth marketing.

And how important is word of mouth marketing?

  • 80% of reviews are positive…because people want to share things they enjoy. Known as the “J-Curve”
  • 90% of people who write reviews do so to help other people.
  • In 2007, “Trust in someone like me” tripled, which trust in companies dropped. (Think of what it is today!)

(For more stats, check out Bazaarvoice – the leader in WOMM)

Last week, I became a disgruntled customer at my local market because an order I had placed a week before had yet to be filled, and I was having friends over that night. I went there and the manager looked me directly in the eye throughout our conversation. As a result, I found myself calming down, seeking to work towards resolution. In the end, I left the establishment satisfied and eager once again to recommend the place to others.

Then recently I walked in to a store as a potential new customer, prepared to spend some good money to update a few home furnishings. Rather than engage me while discussing options in the store, the salesperson completely avoided eye contact, looking at my watch, my clothes, and pretty much anywhere else he could other than my eyes.

Combined with a generally unpleasant demeanor, this lack of eye contact cost this business not only a sale but also any positive word of mouth marketing. Being a small, specialty store in my neighborhood my negative experience leads me to give less-than-positive reviews to my friends in the community – bad WOMM.

As communicators, we have a toolbox of behavioral skills we enlist to communicate effectively; of all the skills in our toolbox, eye communication is the most important. As I wrote in You’ve Got to be Believed to be Heard:youve-got-to-be-believed-to-be-heard-300x457

“Eye communication ranks first because it has the greatest impact in both one-on-one communications and large group communications. It literally connects mind to mind, since your eyes are the only part of your central nervous system that is in direct contact with another human being. When your eyes meet the eyes of another person, you make a First-Brain-to-First-Brain connection. When you fail to make that connection, it matters very little what you say.”

My point?

With the growth of the Web 2.0 generation – focusing on branding and marketing through social media et al – the significance of powerful, effective interpersonal communication often gets lost in the shuffle.

WOMM reflects the reputation of a brand – a reputation built on communication experiences. Interpersonal communication is still the basis of a reputation. And the primary communication skill that can make or break a positive communication experience (and thus, a reputation) is eye communication.

Remember your eye communication next time you’re trying to make a sale, or just sell yourself; your WOMM is on the line.

4 comments on “A little eye communication goes a long way for WOMM

  1. Right on Jon. I wish the the world of business, and actually the world of anyone, could see your and Lisa’s comments. We live – we present.

    Thanks for your insight.

    Bert

  2. I think Lisa makes a great point. We should always be practicing “presenting”. Whether leaving a voicemail, dealing with a waiter, or telling a story to some friends, there are always presentation skills that we can focus on. Anyone who thinks they can just “wing it” is fooling themselves.

    To comment on the post, I sometimes feel like I might care too much about the “presentation” when I’m the customer, until I read a post like this. When a waitress is engaging, funny, helpful, and goes the extra mile with no guarantee that she’ll get paid for it, I appreciate it and show my appreciation appropriately, whether that be a large tip and/or giving a glowing review to the manager. On the flip side, I don’t care how much experience or how many awards a vendor may have. If they don’t present with passion, treating me like a valued customer (even when I’m still just a prospect), they’re not getting my business.

  3. Doesn’t it amaze you Lisa that ‘presenting’ is something we do all the time, yet most people it’s only done from the stage or at meetings.

    Thanks for your comment.

    Bert

  4. Great examples from “real life,” Bert. If we’re not practicing good communication skills when we’re not onstage, they’re not magically going to appear once we’re in front of an audience.