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word-of-mouth-homespun(MCT)—Word of mouth is a powerful force for generating business for your company, but how can you capture this lighting in a bottle?

While nothing guarantees water-cooler chatter (other than, perhaps, a celebrity wardrobe malfunction), there are several factors that can increase your chances of coming up in conversation.

1. Be remarkable

Jonah Berger is the author of “Contagious: Why Things Catch On,” and reminds us that the word “remarkable” literally means “worthy of remark.” This means you have to do more than simply be great at what you do. Being great at what you do is merely the ante in the game of word of mouth.

To generate positive buzz, you need to go beyond a foundation of excellence to make your business truly uncommon. For example, let’s say you’re a plumber … a really, really good plumber. If you routinely arrive on time, fix the leak, charge a fair price, and leave no mess behind you, what are the chances you will be remarked upon by your customers to their friends and family? Unless your customer is asked directly for a plumber referral, odds are not good that your Monday service call will come up over beer that weekend.

Alternatively, imagine that you arrive on time, fix the leak, charge a fair price, leave no mess behind you, and you give your customer a rubber chicken wearing a bow tie as your parting gift. Now what are the chances your customer will mention this incident to someone else?

So ask yourself, what original twist can you put on your goods or services? What pleasant or offbeat surprise can you offer to make you stand out in your customer’s mind? What’s your rubber chicken?

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