Why Word of Mouth Matters
When you need to make a significant purchase, what’s your first step? Do you consult Google, ask for advice from family and friends, or rely on your own experiences? Before the Internet, the primary source for purchasing advice was the people you trusted. Now, with its ability to collect people’s experiences and make them easily accessible, the Internet is sometimes the only source people use. What does this mean for you as a metal roofing contractor? Well, focusing on obtaining and maintaining a stellar online and in-person reputation gives you a head start in the eyes of your customers. They will mention you first when asked for recommendations, giving you a huge advantage over your competitors.
According to a Nielsen report from 2015, over 80% of people trust the recommendations of someone they know, while two-thirds of people trust the recommendations of someone online. This report is from 2015, so things have changed since then, with more people turning to the Internet for product and service recommendations. These recommendations can take the form of a referral, which gives you a strong chance at getting someone’s business.
The key to referrals is to develop a reputation for excellent work that shines through in every job. If you impress people with your skill, your attitude, your treatment of them and their property, and a stunning roof, then you set yourself up to be recommended. Once you enter that circle of trust and maintain your position there, referrals start to happen organically. When customers are referred to your business, you get the opportunity to convert them into future referrals, keeping the loop going. With any luck, referrals like this can grow to become a major source of work. While referrals will do some of the work to find new customers, reviews and testimonials can passively generate business for you too.
Besides getting recommendations for your work, getting honest, detailed reviews and testimonials can be very effective. Reviews are shorter, to the point, and condense the best (or worst) parts of doing business with someone. Reviews are an easy way for people to either disqualify your business quickly or give you a chance. Good reviews can make your inbound leads nearly as effective as referral leads because the prospects come to you with trust and a sense of already knowing you. Many contractors use services like www.guildquality.com to collect and manage their online reviews.
Online reviews are critical nowadays, with many people checking them as an early or even first step when researching a company. Many companies deal with negative reviews, and how you deal with negative reviews on any platform is crucial to your image with potential customers. If you get angry or accusatory, you run the risk of making yourself look bad and turning away potential customers. If you address the person respectfully and take steps to address their problem, then you show your maturity and commitment to customer satisfaction even in the face of irate customers.
Testimonials are often longer and include more information, like before and after pictures of the job. They might feature the project’s background, more details, and be a more robust form of persuasion than a review. However, word of mouth is still one of the most effective and convincing forms of marketing. If someone you trust tells you to pick one company or product over another, you will probably at least give it a chance, depending on your relationship with the person. Word of mouth needs to be organic, though, and it can’t be forced to be successful. You can push for it a little, but the best recommendations come naturally. Overall, referrals are one of the most powerful ways to generate business. By creating and maintaining trust with your past customers, they send new ones your way, which allows you to continue the cycle.
Todd Miller has spent his entire career in the metal building products manufacturing industry. He is president of Isaiah Industries, an organization recognized as one of the world’s leading metal roofing manufacturers. Todd is currently Vice President of the MRA (Metal Roofing Association) and a Past Chair of MCA (Metal Construction Association). Through his website, he strives to raise the bar on standards and practices to provide property owners with the best possible products for successful roofing projects.
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