How to Achieve a Word-of-Mouth Epidemic

Tipping PointMalcolm Gladwell in his best selling book, “The Tipping Point,” identified 3 archetypes that are necessary to achieve a word-of-mouth epidemic: connectors, mavens, and salespeople.

Connectors act as the social glue that hold everyone together. They are very connected to other people. They act as a bridge between you and others in their very expansive social circles. Connectors have a special gift to be able to bring people together. Connectors may not always know the answers to your questions, but they always seem to know someone who does. They have hundreds or thousands of people in their contact database and on their social media platforms.

My neighbor, Dave Csintyan, is currently the CEO of See the Change USA and he use to be the CEO for our Chamber of Commerce. He is a great example of a connector. Whenever I have an issue with an initiative gaining traction, I reach out to Dave, share my issues, and he provides me with a list of contacts that can get me unstuck. Dave is a connector.

Connectors are not only recognizable by their network size, but can be spotted by the things they say such as:

“Let me introduce you to…”

“Oh, you should talk to…”

“Have you heard about…”

Mavens act as data banks where knowledge resides. Mavens have in-depth personal knowledge in a specific area. They love to initiate discussions in their areas of expertise and often go out of their way to share their knowledge with others. They are generally motivated to help others with their knowledge and readily respond to requests for assistance.

My brother-in-law, Chuck Thompson, is a great example of a car maven. If anyone in his circle ever has a question about buying a new or used car, they reach out to him for advice. When it comes to cars, he is a fount of knowledge. Ask him about any make, model, or production year and he will tell you more than you ever wanted to know about your potential car choice.

Mavens are not only recognizable by their depth and breath of knowledge, but can be spotted by the things they say such as:

“I was researching that last month…”
“Are you familiar with the research performed by…”
“You should read…”

Salesmen act as persuaders and have a knack of convincing others to their way of thinking. Salespeople have the ability to create trusting relationships with people and are great negotiators. They are charismatic and have the innate ability to make others just want to agree with them.

My late friend, Dan Knowles, was the best salesman I ever knew. He had the ability to actually make you ask for the sale, which I wrote about in a past blog titled, “What is the Balance of Your Network Deposits Account?

Salesmen are not only recognizable by their likability, but can be spotted by the things they say such as:

“If you do that, you won’t make any money…”
“…here is the up-sell idea…”
“Traction means nothing if it does not lead to a sale.”.”

Read my article on sales leads

sales funnelHow Many Sales Leads Do You Need?

You think this would be a simple question. Read this example to understand how to better develop credible sales lead numbers.  » Read More

Within your organization, who is acting as the connector, the maven, and the salesman? Are you missing one of these archetypes?

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Note: this post originally appeared March 29, 2016 at


Steve Imke

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