Most builders are already aware of how important references are, and you likely are already contacting satisfied clients and asking for them. But customer reviews are equally as important, if not more so.
Just like references, reviews can give a potential new client a different angle from which to view your work, and to decide if you’re the builder for them. But unlike references, which you give after you’ve already met the client and had a chance to make a first impression, reviews can give potential clients their first look at you, before you have a chance to woo them in other ways.
Positive reviews can have a significant impact on your business, and if you aren’t already doing all you can to get them, it may be time to start.
The Benefits of Reviews
With references, by the time you get around to showing them to a new client, you’ve already had a chance to meet them. You’ve shown them your portfolio, maybe given them a quote. Your references are just the final piece of the puzzle that most clients need to completely make up their mind about you.
But reviews are a kind of advertising that you may not be taking advantage of. Unlike references, a person looking your reviews is doing so before they meet you, usually to determine if they want to take that next step and do so. Without good reviews, you may never make it to the point of giving out those references you’ve painstakingly gathered.
In this day and age, most consumers are used to comparing things online before they begin to make a decision about something. And a large part of that comparison process has to do with reviews. Consumers are more likely to take what others have to say into consideration when making their choices. Just like a positive reference can tip someone toward you instead of another builder they’ve spoken to, a positive review can tip someone toward calling you in the first place.
A good review tells potential clients several things. Because most people don’t tend to post reviews unless they feel strongly about something, a positive review usually means a more than positive experience. A positive review will have another client’s perspective. That perspective can be invaluable in telling a potential client what to expect from working with you. If that potential client wants someone with a certain specialty, personality, or work schedule, they’ll likely check reviews to see if anyone fits those needs. If you have a lot of positive reviews, they’ll learn what your attributes are, including some of those things they may not have thought of or have taken the time to research yet.
In all, a positive review can help a potential client see you from a more helpful perspective. It can also set you apart from other builders who may not have reviews themselves. Think of these reviews as a form of advertising. They’re putting your name out there in places that people will see it.
Keep in mind that even a negative or lukewarm review is still a chance for you to build your business. By replying to the negative review and addressing the issue head on, or clearing up a potential misunderstanding, you help potential clients see your business ethics and integrity. Many clients may be more likely to call you when they see that you’re likely to be a problem solver that won’t leave them hanging than they might otherwise.
3 Ways to Get Reviews
You likely have the process of getting references down at this point. And getting reviews is very similar. Keep in mind that many people will write reviews on their own if they feel significantly impacted by an experience. The key is to push more people to do so, generating reviews in a variety of areas, increasing the amount of potential clients who will see your name.
1. Open Profiles
The more places that people can easily find you to leave reviews, the better, because this increases your traffic with potential new clients as well. You want to make it as easy as possible for your customers leave you reviews. This means having a profile in as many online avenues as you can muster.
This includes Yelp, Google Business, the Better Business Bureau, and Facebook, as well as having a place for reviews right on your website. The more visible you are, the easier it is for your clients to leave reviews, and therefore the more likely they are to do so.
Keep in mind that once you have these profiles open, you can more easily direct people to them, and keep an eye on them. When you see people leaving you reviews, take the time to thank them and address them, in order to increase your integrity online.
2. Pick Your Timing
As a builder, you get a lot of face to face time with your clients on a regular basis. This helps build a relationship with them over a long period of time. Once you feel that this relationship is positive, start looking for your chance to ask for that review.
The best times are shortly after a positive interaction. This could be upon the successful completion of the project or even a major milestone of a larger project. Strike while the iron is hot, and be sure to ask in person. Clients are more likely to follow up if you ask in person and if you catch them on a positive note.
3. Automate Your Follow Up
You’ve completed the project, made the most of your in person time to ask, now you need to follow up. To ensure that this process goes smoothly and you don’t sound like you’re harassing the client, make that follow up automated.
Send out an email with a survey of satisfaction, or ask for the review as part of the final payment process. You can include links to the places you want the review to be posted, or simply encourage them to like you on Facebook. By keeping the follow up impersonal, you both ensure that it gets done and that the person will be reminded of your previous request.
Build Your Business Better with Reviews
Reviews are crucial to every business. Whether you provide a service or a material, reviews can make or break a business. Take the time to start generating more, and watch your business begin to grow.