As salespeople, we work hard to win new customers. That’s just fine. After all, hard work is part of being a sales professional. Looking for new prospects is also part of the “gig.” At times it’s easy to feel unsure of the new prospecting stone to turn over, the new pond to fish in, the next target to cold call. One of the best places to look for new customers may be one of the last you think about actively building upon – your existing customer base! Here are a few ideas that have helped us attract new prospects because of our highly valued clients while simultaneously validating our “why.”
The Power of 5 Star Customer Reviews
A few weeks ago, we highlighted the importance of your personal brand, especially in today’s fast-paced, largely virtual sales world. One area we discussed was building your profile and solidifying your professional reputation on LinkedIn and other social media outlets. Testimonials of your professionalism, knowledge, skill sets, and commitment to customer service help promote your best personal brand. Those online comments, validations, and star ratings can be a deciding factor for prospects who are debating whether or not to reach out.
The same concepts apply to your company and its reputation. Customer reviews of your company, the level of service provided, responsiveness, and successful resolution to problems, weigh heavily as prospects conduct searches for partners to fit their needs. Positive reviews represent easy referrals for those in the market searching for providers like you.
If you’re not quite sure about this, let’s try a quick experiment. Imagine you’re a potential buyer. Online search is a cinch these days – it’s one of the top two ways people find what they are looking for (the other being direct referrals from friends, colleagues, and peers). Think about the way you look at reviews before purchasing. If you’re like me, typically, I look at the 5-Star review bar first. Is the bar long, indicating there are many in the top category? If so, how many relative to the rest? If not, you’ve moved on without even reading a review!
Are reviews recent? Again, if none are more current than the past 1-2 years, forget it. It’s time to move one. If recent, what do they say? Variety in comments makes a difference, as much as similarity in recognizing satisfaction. For the most part, we probably skip the “in-betweeners” and focus on the 1’s and 5’s. What do the 1-Star reviewers say was so bad? Your best customers are the 5-Star review folks – their 5-Star Reviews will attract fresh, new prospects, who likely are similar to them!
Take action: ask your best customers to leave a raving review of what they liked best about your team on Google, Yelp, Angie’s List, or other places you know prospects are searching. Some may not follow through, but all you need are a few to help out. Be sure to set this activity “Request Rave Reviews” in your CRM to occur at least 1X per month. Track your success, noting the leads that came in because of a great review.
Thank the customers who took action on your behalf with a personal thank you note and fun, branded company swag! Think Yeti coffee mug, sleek puffer vest – useful (and coveted) items they will love and that further promote your awesomeness.