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Customer Reviews: How To Sell Without Selling

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Sales is the most vital artery in the body of any business. It delivers revenue that pretty much finances everything else. Despite its critical role, the art of selling is still a big challenge among many businesses, big and small. The reasons are varied depending on the operating environment. But from a general standpoint, consumer literacy levels have improved markedly. They are now more demanding. Persuasion and deal closing is now much harder. Since it’s a gruelling career that requires utmost persistence, dedication, and diligence, most college graduates are now giving the profession a wide berth. As a result, businesses are finding it difficult to find and retain top-rated sales representatives.

Even though you may be short-handed when it comes to the sales force, you can still sell without selling. That’s right! To do this, you need to capitalize on customer reviews. However, getting authentic written customer reviews is no mean feat. Successful word of mouth (WoM) marketing strategy, which includes customer reviews, depends on maintaining exceptionally high standards in customer experience. Every touchpoint must be carefully curated to ensure that your customers get nothing but the best.

When customers are delighted, they will voluntarily write you a review or share the good experience with friends, family. It is through these reviews that you will be able to attract and retain additional customers. One review will certainly generate many more. Slowly but surely, it will snowball to a strong legion of loyal customers who, apart from glowing reviews, will spread the word to other people within their respective spheres of influence whenever an opportunity presents itself.

Remember, we live in a world of uncertainties, despite experiencing information overload. Thus, before buying a given product or service, many customers have made it a habit to refer online or ask friends/family members for reviews to minimize purchase risks. Additionally, given the fast-paced lifestyle, most customers also prefer making quick purchase decisions with loss aversion. This, in turn, makes business reviews critical building blocks of a contemporary organic marketing strategy. So, at this point, you may be wondering how do I get started? Well, there are several review channels that you can leverage to catapult your business performance.

Some review channels you can use include Yelp, Google My Business profile, Facebook, and the company website. Google My Business stands out for the most part. It is designed to prompt for reviews once the GPS determines that you’ve visited an office or store. Otherwise, you’ll leave everything to chance and hope that the clients will voluntarily write one for you at a time of their choosing. However, the best way is to request explicitly. This way, they will write when the experience is still fresh and probably give you a positive rating while at it. Most of the online review channels use a five-star rating scale where 1 is very poor while 5 is excellent, including a text box where one can provide details of their specific encounter. Indeed, customer reviews can benefit your business in myriad ways that you couldn’t have imagined before. Below are some reasons why you should consider collecting reviews for your company.

1. Credibility & Social Proof
When you are a business owner, you neither have the time nor the resources to demonstrate capabilities or unique selling proposition to every prospective customer. As such, you need someone or, better yet, a group of people who can vouch for you even in your absence. The customer reviews will provide credibility. And if they are several, the resulting social proof will go a long way in persuading as well as influencing the purchase decisions of your soon-to-be customers.

2. Boosting search engine ranking
Search engines, particularly Google, have incorporated customer reviews as a factor in local search results. If your business garners a lot of reviews fused with the keywords sprinkled here and there, your company’s website will rank higher. Consequently, you’ll probably get more customers visiting your physical store/office or checking out your website which could translate in revenues, sooner or later.

3. Customer insights
By analyzing the reviews, you can learn a lot about your customers, products/service, and the business in general from a third-party perspective. The insights gathered can then be used to refine and improve levels of quality. If, for example, there are gaps in customer satisfaction, you can address the repulsive factors thereby, sustaining a positive experience for future customers.

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