A meager 3% of customers find sales staff trustworthy. However, there is a group of people they tend to trust way more: fellow customers. Their objective opinions are seen as less biased. Sellers can use that fact to their advantage. In fact, sales teams can use customer reviews to improve prospecting strategies.
Salespeople begin their journey with consumers on the back foot. They face an uphill battle every day at work. Trust is in short supply, yet they’re expected to attract and convert potential clients. But there are methods that can be implemented to remedy that situation and accelerate their career in sales.
We’ve put together five useful techniques to use customer reviews. These methods are easy to apply and can help you generate more sales.
Highlight positive reviews
In November 2019, there was a survey of US online customers. It found 91% of respondents said positive reviews increased the likelihood of them using a business.
Utilize that statistic. Build trust by pointing out productive things people have said about your company and its products. Happy customers often rave about your company.
For example, let’s say you sell business VoIP systems to small businesses. There are tons of encouraging testimonials on the company website. So, steer potential customers to that section, or to other platforms such as Trustpilot, Google, TripAdvisor, and Facebook.
Ask for reviews, too. That will help build a portfolio of positive feedback.
Utilize complementary reviews
We’ve established that prospective customers read reviews to make purchasing decisions. A secondary way to make the most of that is via complementary sources.
That means a business whose customer base is the same as yours, but in a different way.
For example, you’re a seller of applicant tracking software. A complementary source could be a recruitment company or a CV-writing service. Find those organizations, ask them for reviews, and request that they post them on third-party websites. At a relevant moment in the sales process, point prospects to the reviews.
But remember, there are things to be mindful of. Be sure you’re upfront with the complementary sources, and get real reviews. Offer them the same in return, plus an introduction with the customer. Achieve that through affiliate products, joint ventures, or emails.
Oh, and don’t be afraid if some feedback isn’t 100% positive. More on that next.
Turn negative reviews to your advantage
It’s likely your business will get bad things said about it at some point. It’s how you deal with such a situation that matters.
Turn negative comments into an opportunity.
Let’s say you’re selling auto dialer software. A potential customer voices a low opinion of your company. They’ve read something unfavorable, or a friend had a poor experience. How do you respond? Get angry, be too apologetic, act deflated, whine? A massive “no” to all of these.
Don’t lose confidence. A sale may still be possible.
Take a moment, don’t react too swiftly, and be grateful you know about the negativity. Because now, you can do something.
Dig a little into where the review originated. For example, let’s say it came from Yelp. You take a look and find your company has a handful of negative things said about it on that site. File the knowledge away and spend time later addressing the issue.
Back to the customer: be truthful with them and choose a response depending on the situation. For instance, the info the prospect read was correct but is now outdated. Tell them that the issue has since been addressed. Give supporting evidence to back that up.
Or, the feedback may be factual. If so, own up to it. You may be shocked by the respect you receive. People appreciate honesty. If possible, put a spin on things. Perhaps you are knowingly compromising in one area of the business to concentrate more on another.
Despite your admittance, you can still highlight your company’s strengths.
Promote reviews on social media
A fourth way sales teams can use customer reviews to improve prospecting strategies is via social media. Positive comments can be excellent content to share, and help build a first-rate reputation.
If a customer has a positive experience, let other people know about it by posting on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
For example, let’s say you sell IT for coworking spaces. A client is impressed by the services you’ve provided and leaves a top review on Feefo. Copy and paste a snippet to your social channels.
Work with influencers as well. For instance, let’s say you own a home appliance brand and want to promote your products. Approach a popular cake designer who has a lot of followers and ask if they would mind reviewing a mixer.
That person can post comments on their own feed and send followers back to your company. Use competitions and giveaways as incentives, too. Coverage like that encourages engagement and sales.
Once you build a solid client base, make sure you do all you can to hold on to it. A customer engagement plan is key. And a social media strategy is a vital part of that.
Respond to reviews
It’s important to take time to reply to comments—good and bad. Let’s take an example. You sell software-defined networking (SDN) technologies and your company receives a negative review. Responding in a timely manner is a must. If you can give a resolution, do that. Or perhaps an explanation would be more appropriate. Gauge each situation individually.
Never be rude, even if the reviewer is.
Reacting promptly shows the customer—and prospects too—that you care and are willing to take action.
And if the comment is positive, simply thank the person.
Whether you’re a small enterprise, scaling your business, or a global operation, use customer reviews as part of your sales game plan. Utilize both positive and negative comments as well as social media and complementary sources.
Gain the trust of the potential customer and be part of raising that 3% statistic.
About the Author
John Allen, Director, Global SEO at RingCentral, a global UCaaS, and Voip Provider. He has over 14 years of experience and an extensive background in building and optimizing digital marketing programs. He has written for websites such as Recruitee and Usertesting.