Online reviews influence purchasing behavior in a variety of ways, especially when it comes to establishing trust with potential future customers. Despite this, salespeople still don’t bother to ask for reviews, let alone use any testimonials that happen to still come their way. “Reviews are a form of social proof that increase brand credibility and strengthen customer relationships based on trust,” writes Chris Christoff for Business 2 Community. Reviews show that not only are people buying what you’re selling, but that they are also satisfied with their purchases and the experience they had working with you.
Showcasing online reviews to influence purchasing behavior
Using their various social media accounts, sales reps can leverage online reviews to influence purchasing behavior. Christoff reports that 74% of consumers rely on social platforms to finalize their purchasing decisions. If you aren’t already on social media, you need to be. And once you're active on social media platforms, you need to post all the customer reviews you have available. Not only will you be boosting your credibility, but you'll also be creating an opportunity to engage. If someone interacts with a post you've made, don’t be afraid to strike up a conversation with them. Also, keep an eye on timing to unleash new reviews. If you’re a landscaper, make sure to ask for and tout testimonials before the busy spring season hits. That way, when spring does come, you'll already have an army of fantastic reviews backing up your credibility and good name.
There are also other ways to showcase customer reviews, including your own webpage and even email signatures. Here are some things to consider:
- Keep reviews varied. Don’t post multiple reviews from just one source. You want all the five-star reviews you can get, but if they're all from one customer, that will raise suspicions among potential new customers as to how in-demand your products or services really are or why only one customer believes you're good enough to endorse. So, try to mix up your sources to show variety.
- Consider visuals. When asking for and showing customer reviews, think outside the usual text. Video messages, or even a picture of the source, can add another dynamic and personalize the review. (We're also a visually-driven species; pictures and videos will attract and maintain attention more than walls of words.)
- Be specific. “If your clients can name specific ways your brand helped them succeed or made them happy, that adds value to your review,” Christoff notes. Try to get reviews that highlight certain aspects of what you’re selling or specifically how the customer was helped by you.
By leveraging customer reviews, you accomplish a lot. You establish credibility, generate interest and create opportunities to engage. Make sure that you are doing something with those glowing testimonials you receive (and don’t be afraid to ask!). “Over time, your business will accumulate both positive and negative customer feedback,” he explains. “What matters is how you use that feedback to drive sales, help customers, and grow your business.”