Odds are, the reason you clicked on our website today is because you saw our painting business listed on google maps, with many 5 star reviews. And recently we were added to the “Three Best Rated” webpage for Painters in Kitchener-Waterloo, so that may have brought you here as well. You may be asking yourself though, “How do they have so many reviews?”... Allow me to explain how we got them, and why we think if you run a business yourself, you better jump on the review wagon before its too late.
We started our company just over a year ago. We had a lot of experience in painting, but quite frankly zero leads to get customers ourselves. Which led me down a deep pit of googling how to generate leads. There are a number of websites that try to fill this need, but the problem is that they are just out there to make money themselves. One in particular wants you to sign up for a minimum of $250 per month to be advertised on their site. They will direct customers to you, enhance your reviews, and allow your profile to outshine the people who have a free account. Sounds shady right? Absolutely, because you’re being directed, not to the best companies, but to the ones that are willing to pay the most. Accounts on this site can cost up to $500 per month with those ones out performing the $250 account holders. If you are interested in hiring out a trades-person, I’d stay away from sites like these. They aren’t here to help you find the best contractor, they’re here to give work to their clients.
As you can most likely tell from my drift, we did not decide to use any of these lead generating sites. That is not our style, and the whole thing felt dishonest. So what was our next option? I decided to talk to some other trades people who’ve run their own businesses for a long time to see what they recommended. They had good advice, such as running ads in the yellow pages, local newspapers, and putting out some door hangers. But one thing that everyone said was that “word of mouth” is your best advertiser. Price things out fairly, be punctual, do a good job, and before you know it you will be getting calls left and right. Very old school approach to business, but obviously it works.
The thing was that it takes a lot of time, and that was not something we had due to the monthly bills adding up fast. We had to figure out a way to bring that old school approach to the age of the internet. That’s when I really started to take a look at Google Reviews.
Google reviews are great for many reasons. For one thing, you can’t pay anyone to give you a review, in fact google works hard to remove any suspicious reviews. Also, they don’t allow you to remove any bad ones. What’s done is done, and the only way to fix a bad review is to actually go back and make that customer happy again. I also like it because it’s usually the first opportunity to grab the attention of a potential client. If google is showing you first because of your high rating, then you can get a lead before they even click on any websites. So, we immediately registered our business with Google and started requesting reviews.
We requested reviews from every person we ever painted for. Everyone from side jobs we did years ago, to painting a friends/families house when they moved in, to our most recent customers. And here’s the thing... If people like how you worked for them, they are more than happy to give you a review. They want to support and reward companies with good customer service, and hopefully help people weed out the businesses with terrible service. Fortunately for us, we had past clients that wanted to do just that. We are so thankful for those first few reviews, because they really helped us generate some good leads.
“But wait, you’re trying to tell me that only a few good reviews helped you generate leads over your painting competition?”
Yes, absolutely. Because only 2 other companies in the city had any reviews linked to their business. And they had 1-3 reviews each. People searching for painters immediately saw us listed right next to these companies that have been around for years. It all comes down to the fact that people hiring businesses need more information about who they are hiring. With our reviews posted, they could get that old school “word of mouth” feel from people who used us in the past and that’s when we started getting calls.
Here’s the other thing though. We had to live up to the reviews. And that is when we started winning job bids. If at the quote people see that you are on time, clean, trust worthy, and take good notes, they realize that the reviews were correct and they want to hire you instead of your competition. And the cycle repeats itself.
Over a year later from starting our own painting business, after every single job we do, I send our customer a link to our Google Business page and ask them to write a review if they have the time. It’s why we have so many reviews, and it’s why so many are positive.
If you have a business yourself, do not delay in getting reviews posted to Google Reviews. You can be sure that your competition has already started, and if you don’t have many reviews, the calls will start to dry up. In this new age of using the internet to look up businesses, your yellow pages ad will not cut it anymore. Let people see what your customers think of you, and if you find you need to change things to make customers happy, do it fast. This method really worked for us, and I’m sure it will work for you too.