Through the years, you have built your business. You’ve missed your kid’s school functions, soccer games and dance recitals. All of your time and effort has gone into building your business. You have a good website. Your mobile site works. People can find you online. You survived the recession by providing your customers with excellent service. Your existing customers love you. You have paid your dues. You should be able to relax and enjoy the benefits of business ownership.
You buy more offline ads but they don’t seem to bring in people like they used to. The number of new customers you get has slowed down. Your books show little or no growth over last year. What could be wrong?
The answer may be that the internet has changed how we do business.
Before we make a purchase most of us research the product or service and the company online. When a prospect sees your ad, they don’t stop what they are doing and go enter your website address into their phone or computer. More likely, they go to Google and search for you by your company name, or company name + city. What do they see? Probably your website and a few listings for you from places like Google Plus, Yelp, BBB, Yellow Pages, etc.
But…. here is the killer. If they don’t see 5 stars associated with your name they go back to Google and do another search. They make this decision in seconds. Usually, they enter an industry search. i.e. plumber Phoenix, where they get a list of your competitors on a “map” listing. Your advertising dollars are used to send the prospect to a list of your competitors where they will find several with a better or more trusted reputation than you have. Is this fair? Hell No. Is it true? Yes.
In the age of Yelp reviews and Google searches, your business’s reputation is FRONT and CENTER to ANYONE with an Internet connection. And today that’s EVERYONE.
The upshot? A good reputation is a small business’s most valuable asset. Or its biggest
liability. A Five Star reputation is like rocket fuel for your sales and marketing efforts. On the flip side, a bad online reputation can weigh you down like an anchor, hurting team morale and undercutting your overall profitability …
Online there are four types of reputations.
No reputation – You look at the companies listing in Google and what do you see? Are stars showing up? When you look at the Google listing for your business are there reviews showing up?
Bad Reputation – These companies have bad reviews – it doesn’t matter if they deserve them or not. The perception is that they are a bad company to deal with and no one wants that same bad experience.
Good Reputation – A company may have a few reviews that are good but not enough of them or current enough to get a five-star rating.
Five Star Reputation – This is the listing that shows you care about your customers and they love you. This is also what will make customers and prospects call or visit you.
So what do you do about it?
- Learn how to ask for reviews from your customers. This seems obvious but many times it’s hard for us business owners to ask in a way that is comfortable for both the customer and the person asking.
- Direct the customer to do exactly what you would like them to do and make it easy for them to do it.
- Get reviews that matter online. There are companies that gather reviews for you but they never show up in the Google searches. You are better off having the good reviews directed to Yelp and Google Plus. Get the not-so-good reviews to communicate directly so you can learn and correct the issues.
If you would like to learn more about how to build your own 5-star reputation I am offering the first in a series of free, no sales pressure, no B.S. Webinars. This one is titled Are Negative Online Reviews Costing You Sales? on Wednesday, June 18th at 1:00 pm (America/Phoenix timezone)