If you read this blog regularly, you know we believe in the power of referrals. Leveraging your relationships with happy clients is a smart way to generate new business.
But what if your clients don’t know anyone who has a need for your services in the near future? There’s another way those clients can immediately help you generate new business.
While referrals are an endorsement made to a specific person (or people), reviews are an endorsement available to everyone who reads it. Although they don’t have the immediate benefit of referrals, a good review will deliver value over a long period of time. And the reach is much greater.
Put the power of reviews to work for you.
Social proof is important for converting leads into sales. People want to know that others have had a positive experience before they commit to anything. And a review is one of the best forms of social proof. Here’s why:
It’s specific. Readers don’t just learn if the reviewer liked your service, but why. They can get into the details they might otherwise skip over.
It’s personal. This isn’t some nameless, faceless claim. It’s the personal experience of an individual, which makes it authentic.
It’s accessible. Reviews often show up in website searches whether people are specifically seeking reviews or not (they often do seek out reviews, by the way).
It’s more believable. Reviews are inherently more believable because they come from someone who has no interest in whether you buy or not.
So what’s the best way to get reviews? Ask for them.
If you know your client is happy with the service you provide, he or she should be happy to share those sentiments with others. It’s best to ask when their satisfaction and excitement are high. This could be right after a transaction, the moment they start realizing the benefits of your service, or after you solve a problem for them.
Another good strategy is to use the review as a secondary request. For example, you ask first for a referral, but your client doesn’t have any to pass on. Follow that up by requesting a review instead.
Here are a few tips when asking for reviews
- Make your request specific. Don’t just ask for a random review. Let them know where you want them to post it: Yelp, Angie’s List, Google+ Local, Yahoo Local Listings, Facebook, Insider Pages, City Search, your own website, etc.
- Request a specific date for them to do it. Having a deadline helps keep people focused on the task. Make sure it’s not so quick that they don’t have time to do it or so long that they procrastinate.
- Don’t edit reviews except for glaring typos. Honest, unfiltered reviews are more authentic. And people are smart enough to tell the difference.
- Make it easy. Provide links and instructions for the site you would like them to use.
- Ask before sharing. Be respectful, and ask to use the review in any other space than where it was originally published.
- Be gracious. When clients provide a review, make sure to always thank them for their time and effort. Let them know how much you appreciate their feedback. And if the review includes anything less than positive, never (ever) argue with reviewer or post a comment disputing the review. It’s best to take it in stride, and thank the reviewer for providing constructive feedback.
Reviews can be very effective in persuading prospects to choose you over a competitor. Be proactive in building a repertoire of reviews. Your business will thank you for it.