I had a chance to hear my good friend Tony Scelzo make a presentation  at the Rainmaker Summit.  While he had a number of great points in his presentation to Rainmakers on how to effectively use WOM (Word of Mouth) to grow their business, the most compelling element for me was his comments on creating a triple win!

Simply put Tony believes WOM works best when two companies collaborate to bring value to the consumer.  His primary example is the comparison of the Google approach to the Microsoft approach.   Google provides free tools which business use to improve productivity.  As a result individuals and companies make Google their default browser. When they log in, they see the ads placed by companies hoping to attract their attention.  When Google upgrades their platforms and applications,  the upgrades are free, and integrated seamlessly.  When you work with Google, everyone wins. Consumers win because they have access to free software, and advertisements for products for which they are searching.  Companies win because their ads have lots of visibility with the right audience. And Google wins, as they have become the leading search engine, so they can charge more for their ads, which in turn funds more product development.  In this triangle everyone wins.

In contrast consider the Microsoft approach.   They hold consumers and computer manufacturers hostage.  Only recently after multiple lawsuits can you buy computers easily without Microsoft preloaded.   Updates are expensive,  incompatible, and often not different enough to warrant the upgrade. And often the upgrades require so much more memory and RAM you have to upgrade your computer to run the new programs.  In this scenario Microsoft wins, but the consumer loses, the manufacturer may win if you buy the new computer, or they may lose, if  because of multiple recalls or service issues because of the software.While Microsoft has had a good run, they are losing ground as more and more consumers switch to free, reliable web based programs.

As you compare the two approaches, think about how you do business.  Do you look to always come out on top of every transaction or do you have a win, win, win approach?   To build your WOM consider partnerships where the end user benefits because they do business with both partners.  For example if they work with both a lawyer and accountant who partner together, each firm discounts their fee.   Everyone wins, as both firms get more clients, and clients get services at a reduced rate.