Aug 14 , 2015

The Subtle Art of Soliciting Reviews

5 Star online reviews

Since starting my handyman business I’ve made it a habit to pay attention to service providers that I hire. What do I like? What do I hate? What do I love?

Then, I take what I like and apply it to my business.

Outside of reading several books a month, this has proved to be the the best strategy for improving my business. Like what I learned from eating mexican food one day.

Recently, I had an awesome customer experience that gave me some insight into the art of soliciting reviews.

I don’t know about you, but I often find it awkward to ask my customers to do something like leave a review. However, this experience changed that for me and I think it will help you as well.

Here’s what happened.

After spending nearly two weeks struggling with a technical issue while making some upgrades to my online marketing, I finally decided to hire some help. I found a guy online and within a matter of an hour of working with him, my problem was solved. He literally saved me days of fruitless labor.  He also went above and beyond with the service he provided. It was a great experience.

Yet, even after this experience, I wasn’t rushing to give him a review. In fact, it wouldn’t have even crossed my mind if he hadn’t mentioned it. Which, leads to the first obvious rule of getting reviews – you have to ask for them!

But, just asking for a review isn’t always effective. Equally important is HOW you ask, which this guy did very well.

Here’s how it went down.

Right after I thanked him for saving me days of frustration and explained how helpful he was, he replied with something like this:

“Thanks, and if you really feel that way and you have a chance, I’d appreciate it if you’d head over to the marketplace and share that in a review. As a developer, we pretty much rely on those reviews. It’s crazy how much they impact whether people buy or not.”

…or, something like that.

As simple as this might sound, there are some very powerful elements within what he said. Here’s what I gleaned from the experience.

Critical Component #1 – Timing

The first thing he did right was present the opportunity to me at the right time – immediately after I had told him how much helped me. He didn’t have to bring up the subject because his high quality service got me to bring it up.

As a handyman, you’ll find this happen frequently. Assuming you provide a good service, people are stoked to get their home projects done. In many cases, you are saving them hours or days of frustration as well. When they thank you for this (and you can tell they are genuine), that’s when you strike!

Critical Component #2 – No Pressure

It wasn’t just what he said that got me to take action, but how he said it. He didn’t say it in a way that made me feel like I had to review his service and feel bad if I didn’t. He just made a genuine request. I walked away feeling as if I had a choice in the matter. Nobody likes being told what they “should” do. At least I know I don’t.

Critical Component #3 – Impact

By saying how much customers use reviews to determine whether to buy his software, he essentially let me know that my review would actually impact his business. Basically, I didn’t feel like I’d be wasting my time.

This accomplished two things. It gave me more motivation to leave a review and encouraged me to spend more time to leave a thoughtful review (which I did).

Critical Component #4 – Specificity

This guy told me exactly where to leave a review which is a must.

A big mistake many new service providers make is to dilute their online reviews by getting them all over the place. Sure, you want reviews on as many platforms as possible, but it’s much more effective to focus on one at a time with the goal of having the most reviews on that platform in your niche.

Critical Component #5 – Follow Up

Although he had me convinced on the phone, I immediately forgot after hanging up. Fortunately he sent a followup e-mail and although he didn’t mention the review in that e-mail, it was enough to remind me to take action.

No matter how well you ask the question, it’s not going to matter if the customer doesn’t remember to actually leave the review, and most won’t.

Final Thoughts

Reviews can have a tremendous impact on your success as a handyman. They build instant trust, gain you credibility, separate you from the competition, and lead to more, quality customers. They are an essential part of your online marketing plan.

Yet, so many handyman aren’t leveraging them very powerfully and I can see why. It can often feel like just another thing to add to the to-do list. But, take it from me, they can seriously impact your success.

Have any tips or success stories about generating online reviews? Share the knowledge and leave a comment below!

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