How to Make Your Business “Highly Recommended”


A super handbook offering a detailed roadmap for those who want to attract more recommendations for their business.

business highly recommended

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Are recommendations replacing research?

I saw an interesting Facebook conversation today.  A friend of mine is a well-known video producer who has worked on some big brand commercials.  This morning, he asked his Facebook friends to recommend movies with extended flashback sequences – probably for a project he is working on.

As I read through the extensive list of recommendations, I was blown away by how much research time he saved and how he was able to engage his friends and community around a project he was working on.  In the end, everyone will win. He will save time and some of his friends will get to say that their recommendation made the final video.

Are You Part of the 92%?

Paul Rand (@paulmrand), CEO of Zocalo Group, a digital, social media and word of mouth marketing agency, has recently written a book exploring the power of recommendations as the key influencers in a purchase decision.  It’s called “Highly Recommended: Harnessing the Power of Word of Mouth and Social Media to Build Your Brand and Your Business.”  I recently received a review copy and wanted to share my thoughts about it with you.

According to a Nielsen research study, 92% of all consumers feel that a word of mouth recommendation is the primary reason that they buy a product or service.

We’ve known the power of referrals and recommendations for decades, but this new book sheds a new light on how to leverage the power of recommendations for your business.

Being Recommendable – In Three Parts

Rand says that being recommended is the “Holy Grail” of marketing and he is right.  And Highly Recommended takes this to a higher level.

He says to get recommended you have to BE recommendable.

This is an important distinction in today’s marketplace — and one that has taken many businesses a long time to embrace.  Not to get all “Big Brother” about it, but you, your company and your employees are on display 24/7 in a world of always-on social media.  And that means that you, too have to BE your very best so that your customers will refer you.

Once you get the importance of BEING recommendable into your head, you are ready to explore the three key parts of this book.

PART 1: Word of Mouth Recommendations: Marketing’s Holy Grail

In this section, Rand explores the ins and outs of what today’s recommendations look like. He features what a “Holy Grail” recommendation looks like via stories about Stew Leonard’s ”the most amazing, fun, delicious, and incredible grocery store in the whole world!” He also dissects why Angie’s List is so successful.

Once you’re done reading through this section, you’ll be chomping at the bit to get some of those recommendations for your own business.

PART 2: The Roadmap to Recommendations

This section takes advantage of your new found enthusiasm for getting and growing your list of recommendations by helping you map out exactly where you are and where you want to be.

This is the meatiest section of the book. It will require energy and work on your part (if you’re serious).  You’ll learn how to create and articulate your shareable story. The book also covers how to identify the people whose recommendations will most influence your brand. Finally, you discover how to put that knowledge to work in your content and marketing plan.

PART 3: Beyond Marketing: Operationalizing Recommendations

Like any good guide, Rand now takes you into the implementation stage of your quest for this “Holy Grail” of recommendations.

First on the list is delivering the customer service that will get you recommended.  From there’s it’s about attracting those ideal customers and creating the kinds of products and services that will get them raving about you.

Should You Recommend Highly Recommended?

What can I tell you?  After reading this book, I was a little hesitant about sharing it with you. WHY?  Because then YOU would know the secret!

You might feel the same way.  This is one of those books that is so useful, so powerful and potentially transforming to your business, you’ll either want to share it with everyone or you’ll want to hoard it and keep the goodies for yourself.

I opted to share it with you because ultimately, the world needs more recommendable businesses and I want to help you make your business highly recommended.

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Ivana Taylor Ivana Taylor is the Book Editor for Small Business Trends. She is responsible for directing the site’s book review program and manages the team of professional book reviewers. She also spearheads the annual Small Business Book Awards. Ivana publishes DIYMarketers, where she shares daily do-it-yourself marketing tips, and is co-author of "Excel for Marketing Managers."