Reviews? I Don't Need Any Stinkin' Reviews

Posted by David Chism | Fri, Nov 1, 2013

 Reviews? I Don't Need Any Stinkin' Reviews
Thanks to my dad, I am one of the lucky guys who has watched The Trea­sure of the Sier­ra Madre at least once. The famous badges line inspired today’s post,
Dobbs: If you’re the police where are your badges?” Gold Hat Guy: Badges? We ain’t got no badges. We don’t need no badges! I don’t have to show you any stinkin’ badges!”

Reviews Are The New Report Cards

5starreview Whether you like it or not, online reviews are here to stay. 10+ years ago, cus­tomer report cards, tes­ti­mo­ni­als and sur­veys were still hip. Today con­sumers go online and read reviews. Ama­zon was one of the mav­er­icks behind online reviews. Peo­ple pur­chased or walked away from prod­ucts based on the rat­ings of oth­er buy­ers. Now with ser­vices like Yelp, Ang­ie’s List, Home­Ad­vi­sors, Google+, Super​pages​.com etc. online reviews for the small busi­ness con­trac­tor is a vital part of one’s busi­ness mov­ing for­ward.

My Busi­ness Runs Fine With­out Online Reviews

Ok. That might work now, but what about in a few years? Will you be able to keep your com­peti­tors out of your key areas? I am amazed at the increase of reviews from new con­tract­ing com­pa­nies. 5 – 6 years ago they did not exist. Today these star­tups have fig­ured out a way to increase their online vis­i­bil­i­ty by hav­ing their cus­tomers write reviews at a far bet­ter rate than many old­er, more estab­lished com­pa­nies. The prob­lem for you might be this: many home­own­ers do their research online before mak­ing deci­sions. So they might go out and get 3 – 5 bids for a paint job. You, the old­er more estab­lished com­pa­ny, shows the cus­tomer a port­fo­lio of nice­ly typed up tes­ti­mo­ni­als from past clients. The con­sumer might raise an eye­brow or two and is some­what impressed. (note to self: they know you hand­picked the best tes­ti­mo­ni­als). Then the guy with the spiked hair & cool gad­gets comes in cel­e­brat­ing his 3rd year in busi­ness. You roll your eye­balls think­ing, my com­pa­ny is way more pro­fes­sion­al and just over­all bet­ter. To your amaze­ment, the home­own­er hires the new com­pa­ny even though you have been the main con­trac­tor work­ing in and around his/​her neigh­bor­hood. When you ask why? The home­own­er will respond with some­thing like this, Well, I read a bunch of their reviews on Ang­ie’s List and Yelp…which were all very pos­i­tive. Also their pric­ing was 20% cheap­er than you! So I’ll give them a shot!” 

Yes. You Need Those Stinkin’ Reviews

How do these com­pa­nies that don’t have the same long­time rep­u­ta­tion you have do it? How do they get so many reviews when you are strug­gling to get 1 a month? By doing it. These guys buck­le down, make it a part of their check­list and do it! To them, it is vital to the suc­cess of their busi­ness. To many of the con­trac­tors I know, get­ting reviews is worse than going to the den­tist for a root canal. It is painful and slow going. The key is chang­ing the way one thinks about reviews. My sug­ges­tion is: 
  • Start by set­ting real­is­tic goals.
  • Get your entire team involved: sales and production.
  • Make it a part of your busi­ness mov­ing forward
  • Don’t pres­sure peo­ple for reviews. Just polite­ly ask them at the end of a job and tell them why. (Tell them it is the new tes­ti­mo­ni­al” and the way your cus­tomers find you).
  • Make it easy if they need help. Writ­ing a review online is easy for some, hard for oth­ers. The down­side is one has to sign up for an account. So if they write a review on Google, they have to have a Google+ account. The same is true with Houzz, Yelp etc. If the cus­tomer is not sure where to post and is not sure how, send them a few ideas/​links. Just be care­ful about YELP. That is the site that fil­ters most reviews. Let that hap­pen nat­u­ral­ly (or by advertising).
I am curi­ous to see how you all ask for reviews now. Do you do it at the end of a job, the begin­ning? What has been your expe­ri­ence with get­ting reviews? Easy? Any chal­lenges and hur­dles? Let me know in the com­ments below or by email. Let’s change the title of this blog, shall we? Cus­tomer: Show me your Reviews!” Busi­ness: Reviews? Oh I’ve got plen­ty of reviews!” 

About David Chism

David Chism started his business out of a passion for helping small contracting businesses grow, be more profitable and become better known to their target clients. One lifelong hobby of David is using techie gadgets. So this blog is a place where he writes about technology, marketing ideas, just for fun (humor), personal thoughts on small business and more.

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