How Online Reviews Can Help Drive Sales
There is a cheap, effective and powerful way to market your business that is like having the world’s most persuasive salesperson sending you unlimited customers for free.
This tactic is something many businesses either overlook or don’t understand just how critical it is. Sometimes when I explain it to businesses, the initial reaction is an eye roll. Yet when I check their use of this tactic, I see a gaping hole in their sales.
I’m talking about online reviews. Many businesses see this as another pain-in-the-neck thing they have to do that Google forced upon them. It’s actually a gift, a very valuable gift. Thank you Google! Smart business owners see it as one of their best marketing tools. After all, if you have ever looked at online reviews when deciding to buy from a business, then you already know its power because it convinced you to do business with them or buy from someone else.
Think about that! All those reviews persuaded you one way or another. The business may be a simple, mediocre merchant yet with lots of positive reviews and a 5-star or nearly 5-star rating, I promise you they are bringing in the sales. What do your online reviews look like?
I used to sluff off the idea of online reviews thinking people don’t pay attention to them until I noticed I used them often in making buying decisions. Although not a panacea, it’s such a valuable tactic and resource that it must be exploited to the fullest and managed.
Here are the things you must do to make this gift work for you. First, remember that for every negative review you get, it takes twenty 5-star reviews to offset it. You will get negative reviews because competitors will do it to hurt you, some bad-apple customers will love to be negative and occasionally you will make good customers mad. That’s the reality. Fortunately, there are proven ways to fix even the most despicable reviews. Even if they tried to give you negative stars (which they can’t), you can still come out smelling like a rose. That’s a later discussion.
First and foremost, your goal is a 5-star review every time - no exceptions. Every time you don’t get a 5-star review, I want you to get mad because you didn’t meet your customer’s expectation which is YOUR expectation. Set up a process in your business to get reviews when the customer is there. Set up a computer where you can immediately lead customers to leave a review after the sale. Some will refuse and do it from their phone. If so, ask them to do it now! Don’t let them leave without doing it. If you have to, offer them a little gift of some sort to guilt them into doing it now. Yes, I said “guilt.” This powerful psychological tip is known as reciprocation. Do something for someone and now they feel obligated to do something for you. It’s a win-win.
Before you ask them to leave you a review, do a mental assessment of how the transaction is going between you and the customer. If you’re sure it’s going well then toward the end of the interaction ask them if they use Gmail because they must have a Gmail account to leave a review on Google. If not, they can leave a review on other review sites like Yelp but they must have an account for that too. If all is well and they have the ability to leave a review, then move in for the kill! If you have the nerve, ask them how they would rate you? 5-stars? If they say anything less then ask them what you need to do to earn their 5-star review and do it NOW to get the 5 stars. You want be known as THE place to go as the skin care or spa business.
Having a great online reputation with numerous 5-star reviews has a secondary benefit few people know about. You see, when Google first started in the 90’s they were fanatical about providing users “good” information or they would abandon Google and use another search engine. That would mean Google loses advertising revenue. That’s why they are obsessive about providing “good” information. Thus, if you have loads of 5-star reviews, that’s “good” information. Remember, Google is fanatical about “good” information. This means you will be more visible on Google than competitors if your good reviews (good information). That, my friend, is free advertising.
If you’re getting lots of reviews but they’re not 5-stars, I urge you to quickly find out who is causing the problem. Is it you? An employee? A competitor trying to hurt you? Whatever it is, get it fixed immediately because this tactic is the new Gold!