Growing up in a construction family, there were numerous sales calls and meetings I attended. I may have just been a bright-eyed child, but one thing I remember is the old saying, “word of mouth is the best advertising.” This tried-and-true marketing style was not revolutionary but did offer insight into one of the basic principles of business development through customer service, and happy customers produce referrals.
As companies grow they become slightly less personal. They also begin to lose sight or ignore the need for this remarkable marketing staple. I have actually heard someone claim that people do not talk the way they used to, and therefore word of mouth is dead. WOW, that can be no further from the truth. In fact, people talk more now about our companies than they ever have. The way they communicate is what has changed.
This new revolution is so grossly underutilized by even the savviest of marketing departments, that many companies couldn’t even track the jobs they have lost. According to experts, 80% of people search the internet before hiring a contractor, and most of them are looking at your company’s reviews. Yes, online reviews are the new word of mouth advertising, and it is not even close.
Things you may not know about online reviews.
Google uses your reviews, quantity, and quality, to help determine which companies are highlighted in local search results.
It takes 5-7 positive reviews to balance out 1 negative, even if it is fake.
This critical trend of using the internet to find, screen, and hire is revolutionizing the construction industry. If you are a next level thinker and want to boost your company, focus on obtaining positive reviews. With so many review sites out there, Facebook, Angieslist, Homeadvisor, Google, Bing, and the plethora of copycats, where do we begin? As a rule and the most efficient use of time, I recommend focusing on google.
Let me tell you from experience, it is hard to get positive reviews. Some customers wouldn’t leave a review if you went to their homes, turned on the computer, and typed it in yourself. That is a sad fact to the online review revolution. On the other hand, the first person that has a bad day, or just doesn’t like you will blast negative comments all over the internet. The trick with online review generation is staying ahead of the curve.
The process for getting online reviews is not a tricky one. Our system focuses on just a few core elements. First, we follow up with every client multiple times. This constant contact from initial call through project completion makes the customers feel as if we care. Hint, hint, if you actually do care this step is easy.
Secondly, in every invoice, we send a customer satisfaction survey. Included in this survey is a subtle reminder to go online and review our company.
The final strategy we use for gaining online reviews is the easiest. We ask for it. Yes, we just ask our customers personally to go review our company.
Psychologists agree that the internal pressure of feeling indebted to someone can cause us to do things that we would not normally do. This works in our favor regarding online reviews. The trigger word for this psychological phenomenon is THANK YOU. When a client utters those two words, it is time to pop the question. “You’re welcome, and if you could find time to tell everyone about your experience by leaving us a review on google, we would greatly appreciate it.” It doesn’t work every time, but it works at a higher rate than any other review generation strategies that we have tried. As these reviews begin to come in, Google begins to look at our company more favorably, and we begin our assault on the coveted top of page ranking.
Online reviews are not just for residential contractors either. Every time we travel for work and need subcontractors, the first thing I do is search the internet. I guarantee that every project manager, GC, and estimator does the same. Let’s face it, the internet is the fastest way to find a top-rated concrete contractor in Muskogee, Oklahoma. Online reviews place your company where it belongs.
Obtaining, cataloging, and promoting your company’s online reviews is the fastest way to generate leads and close deals. We all choose the 5-star restaurant over the 1-star, and construction is no different. So, get out there and take advantage of this massively profitable resource, your competition may be reading this too.