The way people buy products and services has changed forever. The days of first going to a store, browsing the aisles, and speaking to a sales representative are a thing of the past. Thanks to the internet, smartphones, and social media, prospects are doing their research online well before they are ready to buy.
70% of the buying decision happens online
According to Forbes Magazine, customers today progress more than 70% of the way through the decision making process before they ever speak to a sales representative.
That means that they have basically made their decision before they every call you. No longer can you wait on your sales pitch to convince them to buy from you. The decision is already made. So when do you get your chance to pitch them? Well, you don’t, at least not in person. Now your sales pitch happens online on your website, blog, social media, videos, and through your online advertising.
How can you be sure they call you?
If you want to be sure that a prospect is choosing your business to solve their problem, you need to build trust. Remember, people buy from people they know, like and trust. They have to believe that you are the right one for the service or product they are looking to purchase. And the one person they are going to trust more than you is your customers. That is why most businesses are built on referrals. The prospect already trust you!
One way businesses are building trust online is with customer reviews. You want to make sure you have customer reviews wherever your prospects go online. Most importantly you want them on your website, your social media platforms and on the most relevant online review platforms. Depending on your business there are different platforms but here are a few.
Google reviews is probably one of the most important for most businesses because the #1 search engine in the world is Google. So if people are searching there, you want to make sure you have plenty of Google reviews.
Yelp reviews are equally if not more important if you are a restaurant. There are over 7 million businesses listed and over 142 million reviews. When someone is looking for a restaurant they will typically go onto the Yelp app on their smartphone and see which restaurant gets the highest rating.
TripAdvisor is another great review site. There over 5 million restaurants worldwide and over 760 million reviews on their platform. It is also an excellent tool when planning vacations and looking for accommodations and activities. I planned a recent family trip to Costa Rica based on the research I did on TripAdvisor.
Facebook continues to be the most popular social media platform in the world. A prospect will most likely visit your Facebook page looking for reviews from past customers as part of their research. No matter what your business, getting Facebook reviews is important.
If who you are is a factor in someone’s buying decision, most likely they will turn to LinkedIn, the #1 professional networking platform with over 750 million members. Here they can read recommendations from past clients that have worked with you to get a better sense of what it is like to work with you. You can also learn how long they have been in business, what other jobs you have had, their educational experience, and get a better sense of you as a person.
If you are searching for a doctor online, Zocdoc provides the largest directory of in-person and virtual visit providers in the nation. And of course, you can find reviews from past patients here.
There are many more review sites online but these are certainly the most popular today. The one thing in common with all of these platforms is they are all FREE platforms so anyone with an email address can create a user account in a couple of minutes and start posting reviews.
Online reviews can be a blessing and a curse
As much as it is great when you get positive reviews, you can also get negative reviews. Get enough negative reviews and it could significantly impact your bottom line. Some businesses realize how impactful reviews can be and are gaming the system, creating their own fake reviews to help their business and in some cases to hurt their competitors.
Which online reviews are the best?
So what can you do? Well, there is one online review that can’t be faked, that is more persuasive, more engaging, and more effective at building trust than any of these and that is the customer video testimonial.
Why customer video testimonials?
As much as written testimonials are helpful there is something very different about being able to see them, hear what they have to say in their voice with their personally and emotions. It is the closest thing to speaking to the person yourself. In fact, people trust a video testimonial the same as a personal recommendation from someone they know.
They say that a picture is worth a thousand words. Well, a 1-minute video is worth 1.8 million words. What this means is that you can communicate so much more information in just one minute than the information in a written testimonial. Another reason why video testimonials work so well is it is a passive experience. You click a play button and just watch. With a written testimonial, reading is active and takes much more energy. It is the same reason why people prefer to watch a movie than read a book.
Are video testimonials really better?
Yes, they are. People prefer watching video over reading long text, so if you have testimonial in video form, people are more likely to watch it. Let me share a story that illustrates this point. One of our clients was struggling to close a deal. No matter what he said, the prospect felt his fee was too high. When price is perceived as being greater than value, a prospect will never buy.
A video turns a dead deal into a $13,000 sale
Knowing that he was about to lose the sale, he did the only thing he could, he emailed the prospect a customer video testimonial. That 2-minute video was all the prospect needed to understand that his value was significantly greater than his fee. Less than 48 hours later, the prospect sent a check for $13,000, the full price he had quoted.
When a customer video testimonial is done properly, it can be very persuasive. Let’s not forget that your happy customers are you best salespeople. So if you want to have the best chance of being the business that a prospect calls after they go online to do their research, be sure you have customer video testimonials.