February 13/20, 2017: Volume 31, Number 18
By Jim Augustus Armstrong
(First of two parts)
Positive online reviews are important for creating differentiation, building trust and turning online shoppers into in-store buyers. The importance of reviews continues to grow. Consider these statistics:
- 92% of consumers now read online reviews vs. 88% in 2014.
- 94% would use a business with a 4-star rating.
- 88% trust reviews as much as personal recommendations vs. 83% in 2014.
What others say about you is 100 times more effective than what you say about yourself, even if you’re 100 times more eloquent. For these and other reasons, having a review strategy is important. However, a great 5-star review strategy does not begin online. It starts in your store with the client experience. Remember, reviews are basically online testimonials, which are first achieved by creating a fantastic experience for your clients. Let’s look at some strategies for making that happen.
Use a beverage menu. After welcoming a prospect who is visiting your store, hand her a beverage menu listing coffee, tea, bottled water, etc., and ask her, “What can I get you to drink?” I can virtually guarantee your store will be the first to do this, even if the shopper previously visited three other flooring stores.
Diagnose, then prescribe. The last time you went to the doctor, did he burst into the exam room and say, “What kind of pills did you have in mind? We have a 2-for-1 special on Viagra, 50% off penicillin and 0% financing on anti-depressants!” I don’t know about you, but if my doctor did this I’d be out of there. No, doctors never do that. They sit down with you, ask questions, write down the answers and then prescribe a treatment plan. Do the same with your clients.
Create a testimonial brag wall. Hang a large corkboard on a wall that walk-ins will see. Ask for testimonials from every client when you complete the installation and hang them there.
Take pictures of your work. Be sure to photograph your best installations. Another idea: Create a slideshow that plays on monitors in your showroom and on your closing table.
Wear shoe covers. When you arrive for the in-home measure, stop at the entryway and put on shoe covers. Without saying a word you’ve instantly communicated to your client you are careful, professional and, more important, different.
Offer a free bottle of spotter. Give prospects a free bottle of all-purpose spotter and say, “Mrs. Jones, this comes with free lifetime refills. Just stop by our store when you run out and we’ll fill it at no charge.” This is also a great way to get clients into your store multiple times between purchases.
Inspect the customer’s vacuum. During the measure say, “Dry particulate soil acts like sandpaper and wears out your carpet. That’s why it’s important to make sure your vacuum cleaner is working properly. Would you mind if I inspect your vacuum?” Plug it in, run it, make sure the brush rollers aren’t worn down and that it’s not spewing dust everywhere. This is also a great upsell opportunity if you sell vacuums.
Offer a surprise gift. After the installation, surprise your client with a gift basket.
These strategies will not only inspire online reviews, but they will also help you close a lot more sales, command premium prices and get referrals.